Buildings must be more than just functional, says Manuelle Gautrand

It’s important to me that when people spend time in my buildings, they don’t just experience comfort and functionality.
– Manuelle Gautrand

Manuelle Gautrand believes architecture should go beyond simply serving a purpose to provoke unexpected emotion.

"I always think about the emotions of the people who will use my buildings," she told CLAD in an interview. "The programme of a building is about functionality, but there’s also something which is not written in the programme. It’s about the emotion that you need to have when you’re living or using a building."

"It’s important to me that when people spend time in my buildings, they don’t just experience comfort and functionality. They have to be infused with beauty and they should be surprised. It’s sometimes better not to know too much in advance what you will discover in a building."

For Gautrand, though, it's not only important that people who encounter architecture should feel a response when they are there. "People who spend time in your architecture should experience an emotional reaction, and that emotion should stay with them after they leave," she said.

The French architect, who won the European Prize for Architecture in 2017, has made a name for herself by celebrating ordinary urban life with bold, striking buildings that often feature an element of the unexpected.

"This boldness is deliberate," she said. "It’s not always appropriate – sometimes I might do a housing project which is quite delicate – but when I’m designing a cultural or mixed-use project, it’s important for the project to be well known in the city. It should become a kind of signature that stays in the memory of the people who see it."

You can read the full interview with Gautrand in CLADmag 2020 issue 1.

Manuelle Gautrand 
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FEATURE: Interview – Manuelle Gautrand

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