Communities at Work, a project by Christophe Hutin for the French Pavilion
The “Communities at Work” project aims to reflect on the meeting between architectural know-how and the inhabitants’ own experiences of their living spaces. This transversal approach to the profession is an attempt to shed light on the implications of architecture in a contemporary world subject to massive changes.
The exhibition presents a journey of the spirit through architecture, by means of five specific case studies on different continents: in Europe, Asia, America and Africa. The aim is to offer an optimistic vision of a world where communities act directly on their living spaces and daily lives.
The scenography of the exhibition provides an immersive experience, made up of images in motion, whose immaterial dimension transcends the neo-classical architecture of the French Pavilion.
The exhibited films are triptychs, in reference to painting, but also to the film “Napoleon” by Abel Gance, from 1927. Visually and aurally immersed, spectators visit the different case studies that make up the exhibition. The central image of each triptych is a tracking shot that travels through the lived environments. On either side, there are images of daily life, as well as images of the processes of transformation carried out in the spaces by the architects and residents.
This exhibition is a journey of the spirit through architecture: to Johannesburg, Bordeaux, Detroit, Hanoi. Thanks to this decentring, it becomes a matter of summoning the world, receiving the information and knowledge that it holds, and understanding its constant mutations. Thanks to different points of view, these video triptychs offer a new vision of spaces and places. Beyond a perspective, this form of narrative and representation of architecture provides a perception of movement, of the performative aspect of architecture, its uses, and the life that it accommodates.
Christophe Hutin set up his architecture studio in 2003 in Bordeaux. He is an architect, a researcher at the École d’architecture in Toulouse, and a senior lecturer at the École d’architecture in Bordeaux.
He studied and documented the townships of Soweto near Johannesburg and developed a renowned expertise about housing and habitats. As the founder and coordinator of the Eunic Studio in Johannesburg (2008-2010), he co-founded the “Learning From” workshop, editions of which have taken place in Detroit, Soweto and Uzeste. He is the author of “L’enseignement de Soweto”, published by Actes Sud in 2009.
Specialised in sustainable architecture based on the economy of construction, he has carried out a number of projects in the housing field, but also in the field of cultural facilities. Together with the architects Anne Lacaton, Jean-Phillippe Vassal and Frédéric Druot, he won the Mies van der Rohe Award 2019, for the transformation of 530 social housing apartments in the Cité du Grand Parc in Bordeaux.
Christophe Hutin is also a director of short films, a scenographer, and an exhibition curator. His photographic work was exhibited at the Recontres d’Arles in 2010.
The reflection developed by Christophe Hutin for the French Pavilion will be extended online by means of a digital platform for the duration of the Biennale.
This platform will allow visitors to delve deeper into the understanding of the issues surrounding “Communities at Work”. It will feature complementary videos on the topic of conviviality, extracts from the film montages presented at the Pavilion, and finally, short videos on highlights from the Pavilion.
As an educational tool, it will leave a trace of this 17th French Pavilion online, but it also aims to be a platform offering various resources for people interested in the topic of conviviality.