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Renée Gailhoustet
Renée Gailhoustet

Social housing pioneer Renée Gailhoustet wins Royal Academy Architecture Prize

London's Royal Academy has announced that French architect Renée Gailhoustet has won its 2022 Architecture Prize.

Gailhoustet is the fourth winner of the Royal Academy (RA)'s Architecture Prize, which "celebrates under-recognised contributions" to architecture.

The French architect is an advocate of social architecture who is best known for the 10-storey Le Liégat apartment complex in Ivry-sur-Seine and the terraced La Maladrerie apartment block in Aubervilliers.

She currently lives and works from a studio within Le Liégat.

Le Liegat apartment building exterior
Top: Renée Gailhoustet. Photo by Valerie Sadoun. Above: Le Liégat is one of her key projects. Photo by Valerie Sadoun

"Renée Gailhoustet's achievements reach far beyond what is produced as social or affordable housing anywhere today," said Farshid Moussavi, chair of the 2022 Royal Academy Architecture Awards jury.

"Her work has a strong social commitment that brings together generosity, beauty, ecology and inclusivity," she continued.

Alongside Moussavi, the jury included director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture Farrokh Derakhshani, artist Cornelia Parker and British curator and writer Zoë Ryan. Pulitzer Prize author Hisham Matar and British architect Peter St John were also on the jury.

The exterior of La Maladrerie by Renee Gailhoustet
She designed the La Maladrerie apartment block in Aubervilliers. Photo by Marc Patout

The jury recognised Gailhoustet's work for its ability to foster social connection in urban environments along with the architect's lifelong commitment to developing social housing in the Paris suburbs.

"Renée Gailhoustet's impressive body of work consistently reflects her interest in realising architecture as a social and cultural practice," the jury said.

"Her buildings demonstrate a belief in social connections and an aspiration for structures and urban environments that are cohesive but underpinned by diversity."

Since 2018, the Royal Academy Architecture Prize has been awarded to an individual whose work inspires and instructs the discussion, collection or production of architecture.

Previous winners include Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias, Diller Scofidio + Renfro founders Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, and Japanese architect Itsuko Hasegawa.

Ivry-sur-Seine exterior
The French architect participated in the study for the urban renewal of Ivry-sur-Seine. Photo by Marc Patout

The four finalists for the Royal Academy Dorfman Award, which recognises emerging architects, studios and architecture collectives from around the world, was also announced.

British studio Apparata, Japanese studio Dot Architects, Peruvian not-for-profit organisation Semillas, and Indian studio Wallmakers were chosen for their contribution to the future of architecture. Last year, Chinese architecture studio BCKJ Architects won the award.

Last year Royal Academy appointed Vicky Richardson head of architecture and a dedicated architecture room was created at the institution as part of the David Chipperfield renovation in 2018.

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