Djuric-Tardio Architectes or DTA for short is an architectural firm based in France which believes in first thoroughly analysing the interaction between the users and their house. Thanks to the variety in their clients in terms of social origins, the firm is always given a chance to improvise with each project. However a suggestion for the need of energy management in the project is always very assertively put forth.
Starting from family houses and housing the firm imagines an urban landscape of the future, DTA does not aim at building emblematic projects, but instead believes at finding solutions to change city controls and regulations to create smart cities based on intelligent energy management.
In 2012, feedback from several eco-sustainable family house projects started to nourish their theory of an innovative urban-suburban development, based on densification and the respect of the historical scale of districts. Importance to the quality of life of the inhabitants is held before the excuse to merely create an urban sprawl, which the firm partly considers as an excuse for a schizophrenic optimisation of the land.
For the firm it is definitively not about selling a catalogue of green technologies to people, but about liaising between the authorities and the client to create something valuable for both the environment and the future generation.
DTA has participated in various international competitions in architecture and design and has also collaborated with different architectural offices on different programs. DTA’s creation ‘The Helsinki Library’ is exhibited at the MOMA in New York, and the temporary, modular and urban nursery concept ‘Sticks’ is being shown at the MAXXI museum in Rome. DTA won the prize for wood constructions “Lauriers Bois 2012” in Grenoble, and the 2012 Prize for Emerging Architects, Wallpaper London.
DTA recently shared with Home Review the firm’s ethos and its views on several issues regarding the environment and the imminent need for energy management.
What made you want to be an architect?
I wanted to create, through my profession, places and spaces where people would feel this soothing state of being in wonder, almost like in their childhood memories.
What’s the best lesson you have learnt in your career?
To be receptive to all sensations and intuitions and to not give too much importance to what you feel at first. In a way, to remain aware of the surroundings and to constantly question oneself.
Could you throw some light on your approach?
We always believe in fully analysing the site and its environment at first, to catch and capitalise upon the un-spoilt “nature” around it which we feel is really its wealth, and its particularities. Therefore, the project is really an amplification of our perception of the site, our respect for its direct environment, and the sincere commitment to sustainability through the entire building.
Do you think building green is really easy; one should just want to build sustainably?
To build green, as you say, is impossible. We should do everything to make our buildings impact the environment as less as possible though building has become “polluting by definition”. Nevertheless, we are able to conceive long-lasting constructions, intelligent and modular buildings that people will use better and longer. It’s not an easy task, especially if you want the inhabitants to learn from architecture (about energy consumption, grey energy, sustainability etc).
We believe that architecture is a vector of consciousness of the fact that resources are a precious gift. If your architecture is good, and if it respects these resources, it will naturally educate the people in this way.
What do you think is the best thing you have ever designed?
My grandfather’s grave, made of stone and natural wood, both materials coming from his beloved mountain. A mountain that he used to work on himself, and which he respected immensely.
What are sustainable design’s key issues and common misconceptions?
According to me, there is a misunderstanding about the fact that one could consider a building truly “ecologically friendly”. One might be more ecologically friendly than another, but it will always produce some carbon.
Talking about urban planning; to think that the Hyper Centres are the solutions to urban sprawl, is totally wrong. It is not good for people’s perception of their city and it literally erases the place’s /city’s /area’s history.
The key concept for a sustainable design is which integrates the environment and a local, renewable energy production. Free (passive) elements such as the sun, the wind or the rain, are able to optimise a building’s energy consumption as long as it is conceived with a certain amount of intelligence.
Sustainability has to do with long term experience and a visionary commitment to the environment.
Compiled By Mala Bajaj
Photographs Courtesy Clément Guillaume Djuric-Tardio Architectes