Odile Decq. (Markus Deutschmann)
MACRO, Contemporary Museum. (L. Filetici)
Past recipients of the award, administered by Architects’ Journal, include Grafton Architects‘ Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara (joint awardees, 2015), Kathryn Findlay (2014), Eva Jiřičná (2013), and Zaha Hadid (2012).
Decq’s recent work includes the Fangshan Tangshan National Geopark Museum in Nanjing, China (2015), the form of which was inspired by the slope of the site; and the Saint-Ange Residency in Seyssins, France (2015), winner of the Blueprint Award for best non-public project.
Fangshan Tangshan National Geopark Museum. (Roland Halbe)
Saint-Ange Residency. (Roland Halbe)
Decq, whose multidisciplinary office boasts a portfolio ranging from plans for social housing to high-tech lighting fixtures, will deliver the opening keynote address at April’s Facades+ NYC conference.
Decq’s interest in the field of high performance building envelopes dates back over 25 years, she explained. “Before the 1990s, facades were composed by architects as holes in a wall,” said Decq. “Thanks to [developments in] glass technology and, specifically, the screwed and suspension systems developed by [Irish structural engineer] Peter Rice—who did the first suspended facade in Paris at the end of the 1980s—facades have become surfaces.”
Decq’s first large commission, the Banque Popular de l’Ouest in Rennes (1990, in collaboration with with Peter Rice), features the first facade built using double-glazed suspended glass with external sun shades. Since then, she said, “I have been interested in the facade considered as a transparent surface to which layers outside and inside can be added.”
Some such additions occur inside the glazing itself, as at the MACRO, Contemporary Museum in Rome (2010); others consist of attached components, such as louvres, that create a sense of depth. “As [in] Alice in Wonderland, the way through the looking glass transforms our vision,” concluded Decq.