As with every year, the ARVHA awards the Prix Femmes Architectes in Paris. The purpose of these prizes is to celebrate female architects in France. CAVIAR, under the FEMICITY programme, went to meet the winners of the 2018 awards. How important is it for them to win these awards, and, quite simply, for the existence of these awards in recognition of female architects around the world? This video resonates with the documentary “Women in Architecture”, which we produced in Turin, Italy, in 2018.

Technical sheet of this architecture video clip
Journalist : Emma C. Dessouroux
Cameramen : Didier Minne / Kinoflight

Editing : Emma C. Dessouroux / Cristina Dias
Direction : Emma C. Dessouroux
Production : Les Délires Productions

Translation : Strakermedia – Comtrans
Rereading : Serge Ryckoort / Emelire
Subtitles : Les Délires Productions

Speakers : Catherine Guyot, Architect, Director ARVHA, President Woment in Architecture France – Sandra De Giorgio, Architect, NZI Architectes (Prize young woman architect 2018) – Amanda Levete, Architect, AL_A. (International Prize 2018) – Bathilde Millet, Architect (Prize original work 2018) – Marie Zawitowski, on site architecture (Mention special prize woman architect 2018)

English Subtitles

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My name is Catherine Guyot.
I’m an architect and town planner.

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I’m the director of the association ARVHA,

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the Town and Habitat Research Association,

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and also the president
of Women in Architecture France.

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I did a study for Europe
and the Île-de-France region

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about the role of women
in architectural practices,

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after it was noticed

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that women were highly undervalued,

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very little celebrated,

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and also earned far less than men.

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Now, when it comes to wages,
I can’t really apply much pressure,

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but when it comes to celebrating women,

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with there already being
two prizes abroad,

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notably in the UK and also in Italy,

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with the backing
of the Ministry of Culture,

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I launched the Prize of Women Architects,

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to give them recognition and value.

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I think it’s important and necessary.
I hope one day, it won’t be necessary,

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I hope one day,
we won’t need this kind of prize

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and it will just be like that.

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It’s not something I suffer from
in my daily work, not at all,

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but as long as it’s still useful
for many other people,

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we have to continue it.

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If we look at the
Pritzker Architecture Prize, since 1975,

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three women have won the prize.

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Looking at the Équerre d’Argent, it’s 13%.

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Now, that means for women generally,

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if they’re not in a man-woman team,

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they have about a 2% chance
of winning the Pritzker.

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Two percent is almost no chance at all.

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Nowadays, women are far more numerous

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in the schools,
far more are joining the Order,

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representing 39% of those joining
the Order among young people,

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so they can’t be forgotten.

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It’s a profession
which is becoming very feminised.

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I have been in practice now for 30 years,

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and I’ve seen huge change for the better.

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So, in one sense, there’s never been
a better time to be a woman,

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and yet, we’re still defined
by our gender, which is a problem.

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And so, I think, for me,
the message that I want to convey

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is that there are no barriers,

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and if there are barriers,
we have to take responsibility

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for breaking them down

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and be strong about that.

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I never had a problem.
Honestly, in my working life,

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it’s always gone really, really well,

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so I’m not a militant.

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It’s a great honour for me
to get this prize

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and it’s particularly poignant
to receive a French award

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at a time when there’s such turmoil
in the UK.

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And whatever happens,

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I remain European.

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And it’s important this prize, because…

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it shines a spotlight on the achievements
of women in architecture,

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and I think that’s going to help us
shift the conversation

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so that we can all be just architects,

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and not just recognised
because of our gender.

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I’m delighted to have
the Prize for Original Work,

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because it’s a shared prize,

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and the project which was awarded tonight

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was a project which grew
from a real human adventure,

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with an amazing collaboration

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between different participants, companies,

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as we have
a conception-construction grouping,

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contractors, concept managers,

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and a complex project management team.

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All of these have managed
to work together for five years,

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because projects take a long time,

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designing this project, which in fact,

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is an original project for us.

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I didn’t nominate myself
to promote myself,

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they came to find me.

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How can I put it? It’s not…

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I’m pleased my work has been recognised,

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but for me,

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in architecture,
it’s not the individual who matters.

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It’s a team effort,

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so I would never say: « My architecture. »

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For me, architecture
is not an individual thing,

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it really transcends individuals,

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and which, in any case…

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To start with, the architect’s aim
is to serve the greater good,

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and not themselves.

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Being a twin partnership,
it seemed slightly odd to be accepting it

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on behalf of my practice,
which consists of two people,

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but at the same time, I wanted to promote

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the position of women,
especially young women,

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so the individual aspect
was very touching.

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We have to highlight what we do
to have greater influence today.

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And the Prize of Women Architects
was one such occasion.

French Subtitles

1
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Je m’appelle Catherine Guyot,
je suis architecte et urbaniste.

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Je suis la directrice
de l’association ARVHA,

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Association pour la Recherche
sur la Ville et l’Habitat,

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et en même temps la présidente
de Women in Architecture France.

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J’ai fait une étude pour l’Europe
et la région Île-de-France

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sur la place des femmes
dans les agences d’architecture.

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à la suite de quoi, on a constaté

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que les femmes étaient
très, très peu valorisées,

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très, très peu célébrées

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et en plus, gagnaient
beaucoup moins que les hommes.

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Alors, pour ce qui est de la rémunération,

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je n’ai pas
de moyen de pression véritable,

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mais pour ce qui est
de la célébration des femmes,

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en raison du fait qu’il y avait déjà
deux autres prix à l’étranger,

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notamment en Angleterre
et puis aussi en Italie,

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j’ai décidé, avec le soutien
du ministère de la Culture,

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de lancer ce prix
des Femmes Architectes, justement,

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pour les faire connaître
et les mettre en valeur.

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Je trouve que c’est important
tant que c’est nécessaire.

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J’espère qu’un jour,
ce ne sera plus nécessaire.

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J’espère qu’un jour, on n’aura
plus besoin de ce genre de prix

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et que ce sera de fait, comme ça.

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C’est pas quelque chose
dont je souffre, moi,

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au quotidien dans mon métier, pas du tout.

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Mais tant que pour plusieurs personnes,
c’est encore utile,

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il faut continuer à le faire, oui.

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Si on regarde le Pritzker, depuis 1975,

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il y a eu trois femmes qui ont eu le prix.

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Si vous regardez l’Équerre d’Argent,
c’est 13 %.

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Donc ça veut dire que les femmes,
généralement,

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si elles ne sont pas
en couple homme-femme,

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elles ont pratiquement 2 % de chances
d’avoir le prix, le Pritzker.

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Deux pour cent de chances,
c’est rien du tout.

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Alors maintenant, les femmes
sont de plus en plus nombreuses

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dans les écoles, sont de plus en plus
nombreuses à s’inscrire à l’Ordre,

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elles sont 39 % à s’inscrire à l’Ordre
dans les jeunes générations,

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donc on ne peut pas les oublier.

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C’est quand même une profession
qui se féminise énormément.

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Ça fait maintenant 30 ans
que je suis dans le métier

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et j’ai vu de nettes améliorations.

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Donc, en un certain sens, l’époque
n’a jamais été aussi favorable aux femmes,

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et pourtant, nous restons définies
par notre genre, ce qui est problématique.

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Et donc, je pense que le message
que je veux faire passer

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est qu’il n’y a pas de barrières,

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et que s’il y a des barrières,
nous devons prendre nos responsabilités

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pour les briser

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en nous montrant déterminées.

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Moi, j’ai jamais eu de problème.
Honnêtement, dans ma vie professionnelle,

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ça s’est toujours très,
très bien passé, donc…

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voilà, je ne suis pas une militante.

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C’est un grand honneur
pour moi de recevoir ce prix,

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et c’est particulièrement émouvant
de recevoir une récompense française

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à un moment où le Royaume-Uni
traverse une telle crise.

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Et quoi qu’il advienne,

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je reste Européenne.

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Et ce prix est important, parce que…

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c’est un coup de projecteur
sur ce que font les femmes en architecture

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et je pense que ça va nous aider
à faire avancer le débat

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pour que nous soyons simplement
reconnues comme architectes,

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et pas seulement
pour notre appartenance à un genre.

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Moi, je suis ravie d’avoir
le prix de l’Œuvre originale,

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parce que c’est un prix qui se partage,

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et que le projet qui a été,
donc, lauréat ce soir,

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est un projet qui est né
d’une véritable aventure humaine,

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avec une collaboration extraordinaire

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de différents intervenants, entreprises

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parce qu’on a un groupement
conception-construction,

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une maîtrise d’ouvrage,
une maîtrise d’usage,

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et une équipe de maîtrise
d’œuvre complexe,

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et tout ce petit monde a réussi
à cohabiter pendant cinq ans,

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parce que le temps
d’un projet c’est long,

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pour concevoir ce projet qui, de ce fait,

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est pour nous un projet original.

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Je n’ai pas candidaté
pour être mentionnée,

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on est plutôt venu me chercher.

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Comment dire ? Ce n’est pas…

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J’apprécie qu’on reconnaisse mon parcours,

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mais pour moi,

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l’individu n’est pas la priorité
dans l’architecture.

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C’est vraiment un travail d’équipe,

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donc je ne dirais jamais :
« Mon architecture ».

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Pour moi, l’architecture,
ce n’est pas quelque chose d’individuel,

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c’est quelque chose
qui transcende l’individu,

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et qui, de toute façon…

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Au départ, la vocation de l’architecte
est de servir le plus grand nombre,

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et non soi-même.

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Étant associées à deux,

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c’était un peu particulier
pour moi de l’accepter

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au nom de mon agence,
d’une agence qui s’est construite à deux,

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mais qui, en même temps,
voulait promouvoir

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la position de femme,
et jeune, qui plus est,

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et du coup, le côté individuel
était extrêmement touchant.

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Il faut montrer au maximum ce qu’on fait

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pour, aujourd’hui,
avoir accès à la commande

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et le prix Femmes Architectes
faisait partie de ces occasions-là.