Renée Gailhoustet awarded for social housing | 2022 RA Architecture Prize

Portrait of Renée Gailhoustet, winner of the 2022 Royal Academy of Arts Architecture Prize. Photo by Valerie Sadoun

French architect Renée Gailhoustet has been awarded this year’s Royal Academy of Arts Architecture Prize, honouring her pioneering work surrounding urbanism and social housing. 

Throughout her 40-year career, Renée Gailhoustet has led significant public housing projects, such as La Maladrerie in Aubervilliers and Le Liégat in Ivry-sur-Seine, and is renowned for her innovative approach. As the fourth winner of the prestigious Architecture Prize, Gailhoustet has been recognised by the jury for her “strong social commitment that brings together generosity, beauty, ecology, and inclusivity.” 

Completed in 1984, the development of the La Maladrerie district at Aubervilliers features a mix of flats, old people’s homes, artist’s studios, and shops. Photo by Marc Pataut

“This award highlights 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 20th Century – an architect who pioneered a new approach to housing design, and was an early adopter of important principles such as generous public space and nature in the city,” said Farshid Moussavi, Chair of the 2022 Royal Academy Architecture Awards Jury. 

The architect, born in Oran in French Algeria in 1929, is an advocate of social architecture and she set up her own studio in 1964 in Paris in order to be able to pursue her passion. Over the years, she has produced a succession of visionary public housing projects such as the 10-storey Le Liégat apartment complex, from which she now lives and works. It was here where she designed the master plan of the city centre and invited Jean Renaudie to develop the first built expression of his Étoiles apartment buildings. 

In their statement, the jury added: “Gailhoustet’s buildings demonstrate a belief in social connections and an aspiration for structures and urban environments that are cohesive but underpinned by diversity. They integrate dwelling and nature at the heart of the city and champion collaboration in the design and urban development process.”

Since 2018, the Royal Academy Architecture Prize has been awarded to an individual whose work inspires and has made a positive contribution to the public, and had a significant impact on society.

The interiors of one of the many social housing projects by Renée Gailhoustet. Photo by Laurent Kruszyk

The 2022 Royal Academy Architecture Prize will be presented at a ceremony during Royal Academy Architecture Awards Week, 12th-16th September 2022. 

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