Architect Clément Blanchet in Chicago
Welcome Greetings by Consul Général of France Vincent Floreani to Clément Blanchet, French architect, teacher and critic, actively practicing in the fields of architectural theory, urbanism, and cultural investigations. Chicago, Illinois
(March 9, 2016)
Welcome to Chicago. You are in a world capital of architecture.
French architects study this city and dream of this city.
They have been making their way to Chicago for a very long time; both on their own initiative like Lucien Lagrange, and at the invitation of schools of architecture, the Graham Foundation, and the Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Four French studios were official program partners for the inaugural Biennial. The architect Xavier Wrona was also the first resident for our residency program “The Méthode Room” with the Rebuild Foundation founded by Theaster Gates.
The Cultural Services have facilitated productive dialogues with two Chicago architects in particular:
Monica Chadha teaches at the Illinois Institute of Technology and is the director of the design studio, CivicProjects. She was invited to France on a research travel grant to study urban politics in and around Paris in 2012. She hosted Christophe Hutin in Detroit in 2013 to develop a community garden with students from the University of Mercy;
Odile Compagnon teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is in the process of establishing an exchange program between architecture students in Chicago and Paris, as well as Saint-Etienne, with the help of Xavier Wrona.
What these two women have in common is their commitment to France and their contributions to the design school Archeworks, directed by Andrew Balster. It is Archeworks who has invited Clément Blanchet whose presence we are celebrating this evening. We are thrilled to further strengthen our partnership with Archeworks.
Along with Jeanne Gang, an iconic Chicago architect who received the Legion of Honor in Paris last October, Clément has had a fruitful mentorship with Rem Koolhaas. Koolhaas is responsible for forming so many profoundly original and responsible new talents.
I would also like to acknowledge Liz Osmond, President and CEO of the Chicago Architecture Foundation and Martin Klaeschen, Co-President of the Chicago Architecture Club, who are both with us this evening.
We all share the same passion for imagining what cities in the 21st century could be, and hoping that they will benefit from more human-based urban politics, environmentally-responsible and innovative practices, and better accessibility to education and culture. These questions are at the heart of your work. They form the core of the City/Cité Translatlantic Exchange, launched last November by the Cultural Services.
The next stages will take place in Paris in the fall, and in Detroit in the spring of 2017, without doubt in collaboration with Cité du design in Saint-Etienne, France.
Make yourselves at home this evening. Take this time to meet one another and to imagine the beautiful projects to come in the fields of architecture, urban science, and design between Chicago and Paris, the Midwest and France. You can count on our support.
I will now pass the floor to Monica who will be presenting Clément.
Clément Blanchet was appointed Director of OMA France in 2011. During his 10 years collaborating with Rem Koolhaas, he has contributed to the development of OMA in France and led several winning project for the firm, including the construction of Serpentine Gallery in London, the design and construction of Caen Library in France, the design and development of winning entries like the Convention and exhibition Centre in Toulouse, the Engineering school of Centrale, master plans in Saclay and in Bordeaux, and lately the bridge JJ Bosc over the Garonne in Bordeaux. In 2014, Blanchet founded Clement Blanchet Architecture in Paris as a laboratory, researching, informing and generating architecture/urbanism in all its forms. His firm was short listed for the Pershing Site for Réinventer Paris and his firm is short listed for the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and Harbor Square Park in Toronto.