Since 2001, SOA Architectes have been practising and asserting diversity by drawing upon Pierre Sartoux and Augustin Rosenstiehl's distinctive backgrounds in architecture, design, ethnology, urbanism and conceptual art. This collaborative approach marks each engagement by incorporating a rigorous theoretical, aesthetic and sociological assessment, itself the result of the analysis of relevant geographical and social factors.
Beyond these initial considerations, the practice also seeks to assert an architecture of poetry, dreams, and joie de vivre.
The practice attempts through its work to reveal the qualities of the site in which it intervenes whilst developing the symbolic and narrative aspects of each brief. An environmental prospective is also formulated with proposals combining both advanced technologies and time-honoured savoir-faire.
Our production is defined by three guiding intentions: • to develop a strong theoretical approach based on an architectural and sociological analysis; • to further an architectural and urban aesthetic which is both innovative and respectful of context; • to proceed with a fair and environmental approach from inception.
Recently winners of several competitions, the practice demonstrates this contextually sensitive approach, specific to site and brief.
Augustin Rosenstiehl and Pierre Sartoux are EUROPE 40 UNDER 40 2011 Award winners (Europe's emerging young architects and designers) and visiting professors at Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture Paris-Malaquais.
Since 2005 and in particular after having won the Cimbéton competition with the Living Tower project, the practice runs a research workshop on the topic of Urban Farms. These prospective works that question the issue of urban agricultural density and production are conducted as case studies which lead to in depth scenarios and worrying implications.
In 2012, SOA founded the Agricultural Urbanism Lab (LUA), association working in the field of urban agriculture in terms of research and development.
This work is carried out in cooperation with several professionals and researchers.
We regularly attend lectures and symposiums such as “Green Cities” ENSCI (National Institute for Industrial Design) City of Paris 2010, “Green?Up” la Sapienza di Roma Italy 2010, “Babel3” St Sebastian Spain 2008, “Perspectives for the Sustainable City” Paris 2008. We also take part in television programmes and documentaries such as 8 pm News TF1, one o'clock News France 2, web tv, and contribute to a number of newspaper and web articles and publications.
In 2009, in response to a request by the Franco?Lebanese company HAR, the practice initiated research on the concept of a residential tower destined for the Arab World. Based on traditional architectural codes of the Maghreb, the Mashreq and the Fertile Crescent, the aim is to develop a model for a contemporary tower which can adapt to requirements of the world’s various Arab regions.
A number of dominant features characterise the AYA tower, such as the open air roof terrace, the inertia of a tower built entirely of thick walls and apartment plans associating traditional spaces (dorqa, iwan, majillis) with contemporary spaces.
In 2003, the practice undertook a study of French prisons with the intention of abolishing the traditional prison model which has existed for the past 200 years. Through a number of proposals associating inside and out, the purpose of the study was to inspire future penitentiary centre designers. The plan was to place the individual back at the heart of the system, to introduce a currently inexistant sense of urbanism and to reintroduce ordinary codes of living spaces, working environments, sports facilities, etc. This research, carried out under Gabriel Mouesca's exceptional supervision, led to a publication with Urbs publishers (Xavier Gonzalez).
We are often asked to participate in debates such as International Prison Observatory, Prison Justice, radio broadcasts (France Inter, Radio Libertaire), delinquency prevention campaigns, and contribute to multiple articles, newspaper and web publications. The practice is committed to continuing this research.
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To purchase the book (in French), please contact the publisher Editions Picard
In 2007, as part of a large team, the practice participated in and won the competition of national interest for the Saclay Plateau. Following the “Nature Active” concept developed by the Babylone team, the office put into practice the Living Tower and Urban Farm schemes.
Reinvention of shopping, from stores to museum
Essay by Pierre Sartoux Retail space and museum. Are these activities still contradictory? Are they not mutually dependent today? […] The “Boutique Rouge” example ? whist deliberately making reference in its ostentatious presentation methods to art and museum exhibition spaces ? aims to promote a collection’s various garments. The references to art installations and art galleries are obvious. [...] Secondly, the author notes the introduction of new spaces which do not seem to fit in with the role of a museum. A correlation between these two activities emerges […] and an extension of a museum’s functions are defined when studying examples such as the Pompidou Centre or the Louvre. Their primary Public Service role is to collect, conserve and exhibit art collections or objects of historical, technical or scientific interest. Yet new visitor facilities have been added which tie in more or less directly with their primary role. The introduction of libraries, museum shops, post cards, cafeterias, conference rooms, cinemas, concert halls, as well as bookable spaces for events, seminars or fashion shows... can lead one to question these relatively recent mutations of museum space. […]
These facilities bear no obvious relation to the museum’s primary role. […] They are, according to the author, an intrusion into the original educational and cultural functions of the institution. Is the progressive infiltration of these profit seeking services the practical outcome of the prevailing thinking that museums must pay their way? […] The author is interested in how these new services can be implemented. There is a need to facilitate the re?evaluation of intentional or unintentional interaction between the exhibition space and retail/reception space. Any attempt to define this problem should consider its typology, required signage, the correlation between the various architectures, design parallels between the themes of the exhibitions and the new services, and the inclusion of and proximity to items from the collection. […]
Experimentations with Lipsky+Rollet on Ouarchipo.