I invite every French speaker to listen to the recent interview of French architect Patrick Bouchain by Philippe Simay on Metropolitiques.
Bouchain is not so internationally famous but he is one of the most interesting architect I know. He worked for two decades in the shadow of other artists such as Daniel Buren, Claes Oldenburg or Bartabas (a famous horse trainer in France), worked with film directors and even the Minister of Culture, Jack Lang during Francois Mitterand’s second mandate as President. He has been designing and building architecture for more than twenty years now, without being registered to the Architects Order and claims for a status of architect/developer (which is forbidden in France).
His main thesis is to involve as many people in the process of building architecture. One could associate this ideal with the 60’s experiments of people choosing on a little model where the walls of their apartment would stand, but Bouchain’s creative process is much more interesting than that. With him, architects, clients, workers and citizens are all involved in the building process (His office’s name is Construire which is the French verb for Building). Two very simple applications of such a will is the visit of construction sites by primary schools and the set up of a restaurant on site for both workers and neighbors to exchange.
In the third video (see below), Bouchain questions in a quasi-philosophical (he is also a very good friend of the Philosopher Michel Onfray) way the Civil Code about how is defined property. Using a deep knowledge of the Law in order to create a more democratic architecture makes me instantly recall Santiago Cirugeda in Seville (see previous article).
I feel sorry that neither this interview nor the book Construire Autrement (Building Differently) has been translated in English as many readers would probably appreciate a lot Bouchain’s propositions for a more immanental and hedonist architecture.
Videos of the interview after the break.