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Les Albums des Jeunes Architectes et Paysagistes

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An "album" is an architect's portfolio. Fifteen albums have been selected by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication as la crème de la crème of a new generation of French architecture and landscape architecture firm. The exhibition showing the laureates' winning projects was held at the Alliance Francaise de Chicago. This audio program features speakers from firms that were included in the exhibition—FREAKS Freearchitects (architecture) and A + R Salles (landscape). Eric Keune from Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) moderates.

FREAKS Freearchitects is a Paris-based architecture firm led by three architects interested in research and experimentation. Their projects include everything from small-scale art installations to large scale architecture competitions. Although most of their built projects are located in France, FREAKS's partners have lived abroad, working in places such as San Francisco, Tokyo, Beijing, Berlin, Mumbai, Singapore, and Istanbul. Those sometimes chaotic urban surroundings drove them to integrate into their practice a rich and confident vocabulary of urban scenarios and architectural aesthetics. Their projects include a house in the back of a garden, a house on a roof, and an on-going study of the ecological footprint of Route 66 in the U.S. For more information, visit

A+ R Salles is Amélie and Rémi Salles, both graduates from the École Supérieure d’Architecture des Jardins et du Paysage de Paris. They founded their studio in 2006 after spending time in Dublin where they taught at the Landscape School at the University of Dublin. The use economical methods of planting, such as creating a landscape from backfill to reuse the land vacated by the construction of car park and installing active streams to support urban uses close by. Amélie and Rémi Salles find contemporary solutions to the challenges put to them while affirming the intrinsic character of the sites.

Both an architect and a historian of architecture, Eric Keune brings a deeply rooted understanding of the relationship of a building to both the physical and temporal environments in support of the notion that poetry resides in even the most pragmatic of buildings. Since joining SOM in 1998, Eric Keune’s work has included: the Jinling Tower, which was exhibited in the Venice Biennale; two projects for Kia Motors in Irvine, CA, which were Kia's North American headquarters and a new design center, which received a 2008 design award from the AIA; and the award-winning Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland. Eric Keune was the senior designer of the recently completed U.S. Embassy in Beijing, the second-largest embassy constructed by the United States, and has continued this work for the State Department for both a new U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou as well as a new addition to the Embassy in Beijing.

This program is made possible by the Institut Français with the support of Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York and the Consulate General of France in Chicago.

Recorded Thursday, September 27, 2012 at Alliance Française de Chicago.

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