Public Housing, “Reverence For Pre-Existing Structures” Captures Architecture’s Top Prize

refurbished apartment building with street sign reading Rue Andrée Putman
Rue Andrée Putman Paris et Tour Bois Le Pretre photo by is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
Housing on Rue Andrée Putman in Paris, refurbished by award winning architectural team of Lacaton & Vassals

World-wide, it might seem that there are few opportunities to bring meaningful architectural design to the budget constraints of public housing construction. Certainly this lament can often be found in architectural journals, even when celebrating a recent and fulfilling design opportunity.1

However, life is what you make of it, and far from being oppressed by the scarcity of architecture opportunities, the French duo of Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal have triumphed in the field, winning this year’s Pritzker Prize — regarded widely as the “Nobel Prize” of architecture.

Read more about a pair who strongly believe that an existing building should never be demolished, in Jacobin: Workers Deserve Beautiful, Renovated, Even Luxurious Public Housing

Lacaton and Vassal are prize winners, but they aren’t the only ones dedicated to preserving existing social housing. Try: Your Affordable Home Is Falling Down. Sorry, It Can’t Be Fixed. You Have To Move. Not.


  1. Here’s a recent example from ArchitectureAU: Civic presence: Housing Choices Australia Dandenong

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