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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