Jean-René Manon, Aurore Crouzet and Aurélien Ferry are the second-prize winners of the BIM Contest 2018.
In this interview, they take us behind the scenes of their participation to the contest and their projects for “l’Atelier Initial” they founded this year.
Goodmorning Jean-René. Aurore Crouzet, Aurélien Ferry and you won the second prize of the 2018 BIM Contest. Could you please introduce yourself?
Aurore and I are architects and Aurélien is an urbanist-architect. We all graduated from the city and territorites of Marne-la-Vallée School of Architecture where we first met.
You have recently created your agency, haven’t you?
For several years, we have been taking part in competitions of ideas as a collective of urbanists-architects. We have won several prizes, at, for instance, the “European” Contest in 2015 and we enjoy working as a team. Therefore, it was obvious for us to create our own agency “l’Atelier Initial” in 2018.
How does winning the 2nd prize feel? Were you surprised? Did you expect it?
We are delighted to have won the second prize eventhough we secretly hoped to win the first. We can’t say we expected it but we strongly believed in our proposal, our project.
Could you please tell us about your project for the contest?
We proposed a “terraced style” building implanted on the west side of the plot in order to emphasize the school of Plein Air located on the East side. This middle school building blends in well with the vegetation and has three floors in order to respect the size of the buildings and the homes around. We suggested to rehabilitate one part of the school of Plein Air in EHPA and the nearness with the school tends to encourage the intergenerational link. The middle school is thought so it can be a living space all week and year long. Letting the spaces dedicated for the theatre and the catering is for the city of Suresnes a way to raise money in order to renovate, preserve the school of Plein Air and mutualize the equipment so that it reduces public expenditure.
What have you thought about the competition level?
We are impressed by the amount of work provided by each team. A middle school project moreover with a strong expectation in terms of BIM requires a consequent investment in time, thoughts and techniques….it requires dozen of working hours. It’s always impressive to notice the diversity of the projects when there is a shared program and a shared website.
What were your assets in that contest? And what were the sides that made you worry about?
The program didn’t merely require to think about the plot but offered a reflection upon some issues on a larger-scale. We particularly like challenging sites with severe constraints. In this case, we had to design a building dealing with a steep slope, the proximity with The School of Plein Air, and the fact that it takes place in a changing urban context.
What has the competition brought to you?
This contest has enabled us to focus on a middle school program therefore it is a valuable reference for the future. We also appreciate the site proposed by the city of Suresnes as well as the proximity with the school of Plein Air and the architects Beaudouin and Lods. We also had the opportunity to meet inspiring partners and to discover new products. Participating to a contest as well as discovering new projects from other teams is always rewarding.
What would you advise to the next editions candidates?
Taking part in a contest is always rewarding and exciting. It is a genuine period of reflection, research, intellectual emulation and at the end, a real satisfaction to deliver an achieved project.
What are your short and long-term career plans?
We’ll keep participating to competitions and working on current projects in order to develop “l’Atelier Initial”.