Launch of the Prix W 2023: A roof for all

“Roofs draw the landscape of cities and countryside, they draw the horizon. A roof is a protection, it is a shelter to rebuild oneself. It is a promise of a rediscovered family and social life.” How to achieve a roof for all? How to fight against poor housing? For the architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, why not use the spaces under the roof of buildings at the entrance or exit of the city, commercial or industrial areas, such as those of agricultural or logistics hangars, or even railway wastelands? This is the new challenge he poses to students and young architects within the framework of the tenth edition of the Prix W (of which Batiactu has been a member of the jury for several editions), organized by the Wilmotte Foundation.

This international architectural competition, focused on enhancing heritage through contemporary architectural grafting, thus finds a new, more social impetus: it is no longer a question here of reviving a particular building, like the Tour d’Aigues in the previous editionbut to push the candidates to appropriate these unexploited spaces to bring as many new answers to the challenge of housing for all.

“Faced with the current poor housing crisis, we invite you to imagine original solutions in order to design habitable modules that would slip under these existing and unexploited roofs (roofs: of agricultural sheds, industrial wastelands, railway heritage or buildings and roofs of abandoned commercial medium-sized surfaces, etc.) You will rethink these sheltered spaces and their immediate environment by developing a typology of quality housing, worthy and thought out with common sense, which will make it possible to alleviate the crisis of poor housing. Program of the W Prize 2023.

“How to revitalize dormant sites and develop in the long term a new way of living under what already exists to give back a dignified living space to the people who need it the most?”
It is to this problem that the candidates will therefore have to respond: no longer destroy to rebuild, but use the existing, the framework and the roofs of these buildings and come “creep into it.” The buildings proposed by the candidates must necessarily be located in “urban fringe” and their reflections should lead to simple, economically affordable and ecological solutions. “The building must be flexible in order to be able to adapt to uses that evolve over the life of the building. In the short and medium term, this allows a number of programs to revitalize dormant sites, and to develop in the long term a new way of inhabiting the existing,” is specified in the program.

Innovate responsibly

“Modular, adaptable, responsible and universal”, architecture must thus show its capacity for innovation and have an immediate impact on the most vulnerable populations. The use of local and biosourced materials is specifically requested.

Imagining a new life for these buildings, inventing new uses, revitalizing wasteland while responding to the social emergency of housing: there is no doubt that this program will find many candidates whose proposals will all be new answers to explore to meet this essential challenge.

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