AA Rétro Thinkers: Bernard Lassus on Subversive Thinking and Soft Architecture

In 1975, the issue 179 of L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui is dedicated  to “soft architecture”, giving the floor to Bernard Lassus, landscape architect and visual artist. Interested in do-it-yourself practices by improvised landscapers, in a piece he names “Measurable and Immeasurable among Landscape-dwellers”.

“The poetry of the do-it-yourself also comes to him, and above all, from what he does not limit himself in accomplishing or performing; he “speaks” not only with things but also with the medium of things: recounting the character and life of its maker through the choices made between limited possibilities. Without ever completing his project, the handyman always puts something of himself.”– Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind.

Paraphrasing Lévi-Strauss, Bernard Lassus evokes “wild architecture”, a spontaneous practice that implies a search for autonomy, refuses the waste of energy and materials and responds to a greater respect of ecosystems.

If this practice can be found in all cultures, it takes on a new meaning within the framework of industrial societies. By breaking with the dynamics of habitat standardization, it becomes a real challenge to order and to the dominant culture. Today, the shelters built in the ZAD (Zone to Defend) in Bure or Notre-Dame-des-Landes could be described as “wild architecture” as they represent “a subversive engagement through the tinkering of signs and the diversion of objects.”


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©L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui
©L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui

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