Over a period of more than thirty years, arc en rêve in Bordeaux has organized events and lectures, inviting guest architects and theorists, specialists and non specialists to share their ideas and discuss issues relating to urban design, architecture and communal living. It has thus contributed to the emergence of specific expertise and the dissemination of contemporary architectural and urban culture, stepping well beyond local boundaries.

arc en rêve la revue is a publication and republication medium designed to provide gradual access to selected archives, most of them previously unpublished. The idea is to mine the various strata of arc en rêve’s thirty-year history, so that the data can be activated and used to address relevant topical issues.

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Projet conduit par Marie Bruneau et Bertrand Genier dans le cadre d’un partenariat avec le ppLab

Design, développement : Julien Bidoret

© arc en rêve centre d’architecture, et les auteurs / tous droits réservés


à la mairie de Bordeaux,
qui soutient arc en rêve depuis sa création

au ministère de la Culture et de la Communication / Direction générale des patrimoines / DRAC Aquitaine,
et aussi
à la communauté urbaine de Bordeaux
à la région Aquitaine

à nos partenaires privés :

Fondation d’Entreprise Bouygues Immobilier

et aussi
Château Chasse-Spleen
Tollens Materis Peintures


Christophe Hutin, architect, Bordeaux

Christophe Hutin’s career began – politically and poetically speaking – in Johannesburg in 1994, just after Nelson Mandela was elected : he spent a year in Soweto, where he worked with the ANC (African National Congress). When he returned to France he decided to become an architect.
In 2003, shortly after graduating, he set up Christophe Hutin architecture with Nicolas Hubrecht and Vincent Puyoô. In 2004 he received a research grant from the AFAA (Association Française d’Action Artistique) that enabled him to return to Soweto to investigate housing initiatives ten years after the advent of democracy and the implementation of policies by Mandela and the ANC.

Arc en rêve centre d’architecture has presented Christophe Hutin’s work on a number of occasions : an exhibition entitled rétrospective perspectives, le grand parc, with Anne Lacaton, Jean-Philippe Vassal and Frédéric Druot, 2013 / in the framework of the 50 000 logements, with Anne Lacaton, Jean-Philippe Vassal and Frédéric Druot, 2012 / as part of the call for ideas entitled Création architecturale et innovation urbaine dans le centre historique de Bordeaux, 2007 / as part of the exhibition [36] Histoire de maisons, 2006 / and a video/photo installation entitled Township Today, as part of the exhibition entitled Est/Ouest-Nord/Sud #3, 2005. A carte blanche exhibition was presented in 2009 entitled : Construire librement, l’enseignement de Soweto.
In November 2013, while we were preparing this dossier on Africa, we asked Christophe Hutin to talk about his unique relationship with South Africa, and the impact it has had on his work as an architect and teacher. This conversation (in printed and audio format) was recorded in his studio on Rue Turenne in Bordeaux.
Christophe Hutin architecture official website

Construire librement,

l’enseignement de Soweto

Christophe Hutin, architect, Bordeaux
Exhibition, arc en rêve centre d’architecture, 24 juin-18 octobre 2009

Christophe Hutin’s experience of South African townships in 1994 gave him an understanding of the way architecture can play an integral role in a life project, and made him decide to become an architect. He studied architecture in France in parallel with a university degree course, graduating simultaneously in architecture and physiology. In 2003 he returned to South Africa thanks to a scholarship called l’Envers des villes. This study trip gave him an insight into the townships around Johannesburg thanks partly to testimonials from residents, and was to have a profound influence on his understanding of architecture. When he returned to France, Christophe Hutin designed his first house with a budget of 100,000 euros. His projects reflect a free-spirited and sensitive approach to architecture.
The exhibition shows Hutin’s ongoing and completed projects, mostly houses in and around Bordeaux, as well as two competition tenders by his firm in Dubai and Cape Town and also including a ‘concert hall’ under completion in Uzeste for the artist and musician Bernard Lubat. Hutin’s work constantly challenges the relationship between architecture and monumentality, and the need for ordinary living space to set itself apart from its surroundings.
The exhibition also presents the work Hutin is doing on residential space in Johannesburg. The title of the exhibition is based on the title of Hutin’s book L’enseignement de Soweto, Construire librement (preface by architecture critic Patrice Goulet) published by Actes Sud in June 2009.
Patrice Goulet, who works tirelessly to discover new talents, writes: ‘It’s incredible – and sad – that the walls that imprison architecture are higher and thicker here than over there [in South Africa]. It’s incredible – and stimulating – that reasons to hope and reasons to fight to change the world we live in are to found in slums.’
Francine Fort, directrice générale d’arc en rêve centre d’architecture, 2009