Architecture competition Amber Road Trekking Cabin Honorable mention - Jean-François Madec

We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the winner of the Honorable mention of our “Amber Road Trekking Cabin” competition - Jean-François Madec from France!

Jean-François Madec from France

I studied in Rennes, Birmingham and Paris La Villette, where I graduated. I continued my apprenticeship in Paris, joining the studio of Chochon & Pierre, and then with Zündel & Cristea. I then joined Françoise Mauffret and Jean Guervilly, for whom I have been project-managing the Couvent des Jacobins project in Rennes since 2009. These demanding mentorships gave me a taste for restraint, and for the necessary balance between a commitment to form, and to practical know-how. From the planning phases to the achievement of the building's final form, the architectural profession has slowly been revealed to me, in all of its many tasks.

At the same time, I have taken part, on my own or with fellow architects, in various national or international design competitions, as well as undertaking the design and execution of a few small buildings (houses, mountain cabins, installations).

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

In contrast with the formal temptations of the kind of architecture that exhausts itself trying to remain fashionable, this work takes a long time to show its worth. These projects are simply executed, and made of raw materials (concrete, stone and timber); their simplicity preempts any conjecture on the search for formal flourishes, or the aesthetic value of an applied skin.

Our landscapes are the outcomes of tensions and necessities that, in many cases, no longer apply. From the fragmentation of our pastures, cut through with embankments, to the immense uniformity of a patchwork field, from the dull sameness of commercial zones, to the sickening, egotistical sprawl of housing tracts - all buildings are the result of human will, and often we outlive this.

While their locations, programme and scales differ, every project that is drawn and carried out proceeds with the same economy of means; the same willingness to produce a culturally representative architecture, the same respect for the uniqueness of place, the same attention to the built vernacular and the symbolic connotations it bears.

This practice is artisanal in its necessary interrogation of the basis of each project, and in so doing it returns architecture to its humblest and yet noblest role: the simple art of building. 

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

Design competitions are great opportunities for young architects to offer answers to building programmes they would not otherwise have access to. This is a unique opportunity to question programmatic and contextual issues that are often complex. The variety of proposals put forward by the various candidates also allows them to see their own approach to the project in perspective, and learn from it.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture vision competitions?

Simply choose a theme that inspires you, and take pleasure in developing a solution that is relevant and that will make this world a little better. 

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