FRES architectes: Laurent Gravier + Sara Martin Camara

FRES architectes: Laurent Gravier + Sara Martin Camara

Comes from:
France + Spain

Studied at:
E.N.S. Arts et Industries Strasbourg + E.T.S.A. Sevilla

Work in:
FRES architectes > Laurent Gravier + Sara Martin Camara

FRES architectes

What style in architecture do you love the most?

We are very inspired by Modernism, since it has been a complex and unprecedented revolution in the history of architecture. Its pioneers have progressively shifted from a traditional way of thinking, based on the repetition of what had already been done, towards a new conception based on what could be done, with the use of new materials and construction techniques. This adequation and constant update between architecture and the world it evolves in is very important to us.

What is your favorite brick building?

One of our favorite brick buildings would be the Piraeus housing in Amsterdam, by Hans Kolhoff and Christian Rapp. Despite its strong density, it is focused on giving the maximum qualities to the units, and embodies in a precise way the aspirations of Modern times : light, air and sun. The large windows and the very specific hard-fired bricks give a familiar and domestic tone to this unusual project, fully integrated in the former Amsterdam Harbour.

Which of your brick projects is your favorite?

For now, our only building made of bricks is the 23 social housing dwellings in Béthune. It is very special to us since it is our first completed building, and it has been since nominated for several awards. Recently, it has received a special mention at the 2017 Fritz-Höger Preis for brick architecture. We had no doubt for the use of brick in that region of the North of France as it is the traditional material there. But we reinterpreted it in a contemporary way through color and implementation.

Why do you like (working with) brick?

We love working with brick since its possibilities are virtually endless. The modularity and flexibility it offers works on different architectural levels : the possible colors, reliefs, proportions, sizes or layout patterns can be infinite and suit most of our desires.

Who/What inspires you?

We can say that we are inspired by the Amsterdam School, in the sense that the brick is used there not only for its practical qualities but also for its poetic potentials. The complicated masonry works, associated with other elements such as wooden frame windows, allowed facades to be perceived as a whole, where each element is connected to the others through composition and detailing.

FRES architectes

I like my job because...

...each day is different. Even with the experience gained through many years, architects are everyday confronted with new challenges, construction techniques, possibilites... Architecture is made of so many evolving parameters that each project is the playground for experimentation and adventurousness.

I can't work without...

...people. As in life, and maybe very particularly in architecture, no one achieves anything alone.