Équerre d'argent 2020
Equerre d'argent 2020
Against the backdrop of lockdown measures, the 38th Équerre d'Argent ceremony took place on Monday, November 23rd, in an unprecedented all-digital format. This event provided the jury with an opportunity to unveil the successor to Charles-Henri Tachon in what remains the most prestigious architecture award. The question of whether the 2020 edition should proceed had lingered for quite some time. Indeed, envisioning the traditional ceremony with the usual gathering of architects seemed challenging. However, faced with a record number of entries, over 250, the award's organizers, managed by Le Moniteur du BTP and the AMC magazine, decided to rise to the occasion. "How can we ignore the numerous submissions?" questioned Fabien Renou, editor-in-chief of the online news site lemoniteur.fr, during the digital ceremony's opening. The challenge was thus set: to bring to life this grand professional event in a digital realm, featuring exceptional speakers and distinguished guests, as it does every year. A quick reminder – the 2019 edition, held at the Institut du Monde Arabe, showcased figures like Paul Chemetov and Jack Lang.
The stage was set: the 38th Équerre d'Argent ceremony was scheduled for November 23rd, 2020, in an innovative format.
Categories awarded at the 38th Equerre d'Argent Ceremony
Celebrating the Built Heritage of the Pink City
While the awards, organized by Le Moniteur and AMC, annually honor five winners across five distinct categories, the Équerre d'Argent commands the greatest attention. Securing this award means joining a roster of illustrious names such as Jean Nouvel, Christian de Portzamparc, Valode & Pistre, Zaha Hadid, and Herzog & de Meuron. Historically dominated by male architects (with only a handful of female laureates among over 60 honored architects), the award now welcomes not one but two women: Yvonne Farrell and Shelly McNamara.
Toulouse University Capitole, Architect : Grafton Architects/ Vigneu & Zilio Architects - © Frédérique Félix-Faure
The founders of the Irish firm Grafton Architects, along with the Vigneu Zilio firm, creators of the Toulouse School of Economics, were celebrated by the jury for their creation that establishes an interior atmosphere, offers a breath of fresh air, and embodies spatial virtuosity while showing sensitivity to the local context.
First work Category
This category acknowledges architects under 35 years old at the time of project completion, serving as a harbinger of rising talents. This year, the "Atelier de l'Ourcq" agency earned the distinction for their design of six participatory housing units in Romainville, Seine-Saint-Denis. The jury praised their approach that embraces various scales and inquiries into suburbia, landscape, architecture, geography, social aspects, and densification – a pertinent programmatic approach leading to a just, generous, and uncomplicated outcome.
Architect: Atelier de l’Ourcq - © CLEMENT GUILLAUME
In the housing category, the Belgian firm Bruther/Baukunst succeeded Sophie Delhay, the 2019 laureate, by delivering a student residence consisting of 192 affordable housing units and a reversible parking facility in Palaiseau (Essonne). The jury found in this project "rigorous and sensitive work, demonstrating complete coherence without any artifice."
Student residence with 192 social housing units and reversible parking lot in Palaiseau (Essonne), Bruther/Baukunst - © MAXIME DELVAUX POUR BRUTHER
Culture, Youth and Sports Category
The "Culture, Youth, and Sports" award was bestowed upon the Maillon Theater in Strasbourg, designed by the LAN agency. This structure, "neutral in its facades and asserting transparency towards the city," embodies an ambitious and cultural future.
Public spaces and landscapes Category
Michel Desvigne Paysagiste and Inessa Hansch Architecte were awarded the distinction in the "Public Spaces and Landscapes" category for their revitalization of the Southampton Quay in Le Havre. The jury recognized the "bold stance regarding the landscape's dimension, devoid of any trivial embellishments."
Requalification of the Southampton quay in Le Havre (Seine-Maritime), Michel Desvigne Paysagiste/IHA - © KAROLINA SAMBORSKA
Activity Spaces Category
In the "Activity Spaces" category, the team comprising architects from the Nantes-based Fouquet Architecture Urbanisme and LIN agency were rewarded for their creation of a Digital Culture Hub within a former industrial hall in Nantes. The jury commended this project for its "generous and unpretentious outcome."
Pôle de cultures numériques in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique), LIN architect urbanist/F.au - © David Boureau