Edouard François. Student of the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Edouard François has been an architect and urban planner since 1986. He established his own architectural, urban planning, and design studio in 1998. His career was launched with various projects, including “The Building that Grows” in Montpellier (2000) and the “Flower Tower” in Paris (2004).
Edouard François has taught in schools around the world, including the Architectural Association in London, the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris and the Design Academy in Eindhoven. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Pompidou Centre and the FRAC Centre, and has been regularly exhibited internationally, including the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and the Venice Architecture Biennale. His work has also been exhibited in Germany, Belgium, Lebanon, India, Brazil, and China. In 2011, Edouard François was elected Creator of the Year and the Royal Institute of British Architects also named him an honorary member for his contribution to international architecture (Int. Fellow RIBA). In 2012, he was named Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture.
The architecture of Edouard François reflects the tendencies of contemporary society. Sustainable development, the utilization of local materials and services, and the preservation and enhancement of existing buildings are all recurrent themes in his work. They are expressed through strong and unexpected proposals that still remain rooted in their context. Housing projects like La Closeraie in Louviers, Eden Bio in Paris, Coming Out in Grenoble (which won the Sustainable Habitat Award in 2008), and Urban Collage in Champigny-sur-Marne all investigate new forms of sustainable, “ecological” habitats.
The M6B2 Tower in Paris (to be completed in 2014) and the Planted Tower in Nantes explore more closely the idea of biodiversity. The former includes the use of wind to spread first-generation seeds and promote the regeneration of plants throughout the Paris metropolitan area. The Nantes tower studied the creation of a unique vertical exhibition of plants from the Botanical Garden of Nantes, compiled by explorers of the entire world. His latest high-rise project in Grenoble radicalizes ecological and social experimentation by detaching the correlation between facades and balconies.
In addition, Edouard François questions the nature of historical architecture through projects such as the hotel Fouquet's Barrière, the hotel Cheval Blanc at the Samaritaine, and the Metropole Hotel in Beaulieu-sur-Mer. These projects are original proposals with forms that are as contemporary and radical as they are respectful to their historic or exceptional surroundings.