French architect Renée Gailhoustet receives the 2022 Royal Academy Architecture Prize


French architect Renée Gailhoustet receives the 2022 Royal Academy Architecture Prize

French architect Renée Gailhoustet has been awarded the 2022 Royal Academy Architecture Prize for her pioneering work in the design of social housing and neighborhoods in and around Paris. The prize is awarded annually by Royal Academy of London to individuals or practices whose idea or whole work has contributed positively to the public.

Aubervilliers by Renée Gailhoustet.  Image © Marc PatautIvry sur Seine by Renée Gailhoustet.  Image © Marc PatautLe Liegat Ivry sur Seine by Renée Gailhoustet.  Image © Valerie SadounAubervilliers by Renée Gailhoustet.  Image © Marc Pataut+ 14

Renée Gailhoustet is one of the few female architects of her generation to obtain national and international recognition. Born in Oran in French Algeria in 1929, she enrolled at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris and graduated in 1961, beginning her forty-year career. After founding her own company in 1964, she carried out a succession of various projects, mainly social housing projects integrating a wide range of equipment into the same macrostructures.

Aubervilliers by Renée Gailhoustet.  Image © Marc Pataut
Aubervilliers by Renée Gailhoustet. Image © Marc Pataut

The work of the architect reflects his interest in the creation of architecture as a social and cultural practice. The jury appreciated Gailhoustet’s buildings because they testify to an aspiration for coherent urban structures and environments that are underpinned by diversity. They integrate habitat and nature in the heart of the city and promote collaboration in the process of design and urban planning.


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In 1962, while working at the Roland Dubrulle firm, she began to work on the urban renewal of Ivry-sur-Seine, becoming the chief architect of the project in 1969. As indicated on Frac Centre-Val de Loire website, it included duplex apartments with double-height spaces, vast openings and privatized green terraces in an attempt to transform architecture into a political and social tool at the service of the well-being of its inhabitants. In addition to its numerous projects in the Parisian suburbs, such as Aubervilliers, Saint-Denis and Villejuif, it has also developed two urban renewal plans for the island of La Réunion.

Aubervilliers by Renée Gailhoustet.  Image © Marc Pataut
Aubervilliers by Renée Gailhoustet. Image © Marc Pataut

Renée Gailhoustet’s achievements go far beyond what is produced as social or affordable housing anywhere today. Her work has a strong social commitment that combines generosity, beauty, ecology and inclusivity. This award shines a light on housing design as one of the most pressing and complex issues of our time by inviting the public to rediscover the work of one of the most committed and prolific practitioners of the 20e Century – an architect who pioneered a new approach to housing design and was one of the first to adopt important principles such as generous public space and nature in the city. – Farshid Moussavi RA, President of the Royal Academy Architecture Awards Jury 2022.

Ivry sur Seine by Renée Gailhoustet.  Image © Marc Pataut
Ivry sur Seine by Renée Gailhoustet. Image © Marc Pataut

The Royal Academy has also announced the four architectural practices nominated for the Royal Academy Dorfman Award, which celebrates new ideas that highlight the future potential of architecture. British mint Devicejapanese practice point architectsnon-profit organization based in Peru Semillasand Indian architecture firm Mulberries have been selected. The winner will receive a £10,000 prize to support the development of their practice.

Device.  Image courtesy of Apparata
Device. Image courtesy of Apparata

The jury for this year’s Royal Academy Architecture Award is chaired by Farshid Moussavi. Other members of the jury are Aga Khan Award for Architecture director Farrokh Derakhshani, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hisham Matar, artist Cornelia Parker, director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania Zoë Ryan and Peter St John, architect and co-founder of Caruso St John Architects.

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