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