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Launch of the European residence for architects/Comics - Nantes & Walcourt

Launch of the European residence for architects/Comics - Nantes & Walcourt
Launch of the European residence for architects/Comics - Nantes & Walcourt


The architects’ residency is a cultural project which creates the conditions for an encounter between an architect, accompanied by one or several other professionals, and communities, elected officials, residents, and local stakeholders within a given region and context. A chosen architect and their partner are hosted for six weeks in a region in which they are completely immersed. They live and work there. The architects’ residency aims to contribute to introducing local residents and stakeholders to contemporary issues linked to the identity of cities and regions. It should also facilitate a debate around architectural production, uses and ways of life, as well as the connection between habitat and local environment, whether this is urban, natural, or farmland. With the backing of the Maison de l’Architecture, which has enlisted its own network in support of the project, recipients of the residency will involve local communities, elected officials, stakeholders and, more generally, the local population. The aim of the project is to create connections, or synergies. Throughout the residency, the architect and their partner are invited to make visible what is already there, to reveal potentials and opportunities. This is not about designing a project, but starting a conversation, telling a story, and sharing it with those who live in the host region.


The European architects’ and comic book authors’ residency is structured around a collaboration between two countries, two towns and two resident teams - one French and one francophone Belgian - who share different cultures and approaches to town planning. The residency explores questions around the everyday experience of architecture in the 21st century. It provides the opportunity to work together on how we represent and tell visual stories about the contemporary built environment through the medium of comics. Recipients of the residency will explore the region, its uses and features (real and imagined), environmental challenges, contemporary architecture, the relationship between town and country, and the phenomenon of ‘metropolisation’.

Participants will be hosted in Walcourt, a Belgian town of 18,000 inhabitants, located in Wallonia in the Namur Province, right by Charleroi, and in the process of ‘metropolisation’. The town centre is characterised by medieval heritage buildings. Not far from the station, at the meeting between the two rivers and in a liminal space between the historic high town and the formerly industrial low town, a new neighbourhood is being developed. This represents both an opportunity and a challenge for the town. In Saint-Jean-de-Boiseau, which is one of the 24 local authorities which make up the city of Nantes, urban regeneration has taken the form, over the years, of an extension of the built environment into rural areas. However, the contemporary architectural designs recently initiated by the municipal team on certain flagship projects define a new living environment which seeks to reveal a shared landscape identity. They will be completely immersed, living and working locally.


They will offer a delicate, collaborative reading, attentive to built and non-built elements, the dissemination of identities, the use of spaces, desires and imagined possibilities... The river, a powerful and universal experience, will serve as their backdrop. The river represents ‘elsewhere’, it evokes dreams, journeys, and danger too. The waterway is a connection which unites the two villages chosen for this programme. Walcourt, in Belgium, is at the confluence of two rivers. Over time, the team will use walks, maps and drawings to produce an idea of the place and highlight its most sensitive elements.


They met in Metz in 2012 and immediately connected over a quick collaboration on a number of small audio-visual projects. They were eager to work together on a larger-scale project. Etienne is an architect. He lives and works in Luxembourg. He founded the YO Studio in 2018. With an equal interest in architecture and communication, his main point of focus is interaction with other people - or between people. Jean is a comic book author. Born in Donjeux in Haute-Marne, he lives and works in Paris. Despite the monastic nature of his profession, he is a highly social animal, and shares Etienne’s obsession with people. In these reclusive vocations, there are few opportunities to connect with people. That is why they are overjoyed to meet people in their homes - to meet them and tell their stories.



12 to 18 May

24 June to 6 July

2 to 22 September


24 June to 14 July