Edouard François, a former student of the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Paris and the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, created his own architecture, town planning, and design agency in 1998. His work was immediately recognised, through operations such as The Building that Grows (Montpellier, 2000), Flower Tower (Paris, 2004) and Fouquet’s Barrière Hotel (Paris, 2006). His work is regularly shown internationally, notably at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and the Venice Architecture Biennale, among other prestigious venues and events, the Centre Pompidou and the FRAC Centre.
In 2011, he was named Designer of the Year and the Royal Institute of British Architects elected him an honorary international member for his contribution to architecture (RIBA Intl. Fellow). In 2012, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication awarded him the grade of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. His work on sustainable architecture led The Financial Times to dub him “The Hero of Green Architecture” in 2011.
In 2012, Edouard François gave new impetus to his agency, which became the Maison Edouard François. Comprising an international team of architects to whom he has passed on his philosophy and expertise, Maison Edouard François develops sustainable, unique, and innovative projects, all specifically established in relation to their geographic, economic, social, historical, and environmental context.
The agency has thus developed new forms of environmental habitats falling within the tradition of projects such as La Closeraie (Louviers, 2006), Eden Bio, Rue des Vignoles in Paris (nominated for the Prix de l’Equerre d’Argent and the Mies van der Rohe award in 2009), Coming Out in Grenoble (Prix Habitat Durable 2008) and others. Delivered in 2016, M6B2 Tower of Biodiversity in Paris allows the wind to spread wild seeds from the first row, encouraging the regeneration of plant life in the greater Paris area. In Grenoble, with Panache in the future Presqu’île eco-precinct, Edouard François invented a completely new typology in his tour project for the precinct (delivery 2017) : he took environmental and social experimentation to the point of dissociating the balcony façades, to remove thermal bridges. This was the new “green cloud” concept. Maison Edouard François has pursued this work on the desire for nature in the city, integrating urban agriculture into numerous projects, in Paris (Paris Didot Urban Farm), Bordeaux (5 000 SqM dedicated to urban agriculture in Bordeaux Brazza), and elsewhere.
In its thoughts on context, Maison Edouard François explores new approaches to heritage : from Fouquet’s Barrière (2006), which reinterprets the Haussmannian façade, to the rehabilitation of La Samaritaine as a Cheval Blanc LVMH palace (delivery 2018), the agency’s proposals represent forms as contemporary and radical as they are respectful of the exceptional sites in which they are developed. In this same spirit, Maison Edouard François works on the memory of industrial sites, for instance with the reconversion of the former Neyrpic factories in Saint-Martin-d’Heres, in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. The Hills of Honfleur is the fruit of comparative analyses concerning the insertion of a mall into a protected landscape near an official heritage site and is currently under construction. Maison Edouard François’s experience in these innovative and complex fields has led to its development abroad, where its expertise has been called on for large-scale projects in Senegal (Club Med, Aldiana), India (Gurgaon 66, Gurgaon 71), Sri Lanka (Krrish Square, Colombo), Qatar (Qatar Chamber of Commerce, Doha), Brazil (Green Cloud Tower, Sao Paolo), and elsewhere. Currently under construction in Casablanca, The Gardens of Anfa will be the first four plant towers built in Morocco.
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Dr. José María de Lapuerta and Andrea Deplazes
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Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid
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