Off the record: DTACC

Christian Sbeih, Fabrice Mathy, Jérôme Liberman © DTACC

In the way of the Proust Questionnaire, AA asks today’s architects about their profession, their projects, their vision of the future. Today, we meet Jérôme Liberman, Christian Sbeih, et Fabrice Mathy, partner architects at DTACC in Paris. Founded by Jacques Cholet and Georges Carvunis 21 years ago, the firm notably leads renovations of buildings listed or classified “Monuments historiques”, the French designation for national heritage sites. In 2016, they were laureates of the Grand Prix Maître d’Oeuvre du Geste d’Or, rewarding 10 projects on 10 years,including the Radisson Blu hotel in Nantes, a 2012 rehabilitation of the 1851 Nantes Courthouse.

Dior Showroom, Paris, 2015 © DTACC

Being an architect is …
Jérôme Liberman : Adapting the world to the world as I would like it to be.
Christian Sbeih : Make sure that this “violent act of constructing” gives birth to the feeling of wonder for the people inhabiting this world.
Fabrice Mathy : Being curious of the « things » that surround us, mastering the language which allows man to translate his wishes, and putting together one’s ideal living environment.

My ideal commission
JL : An unlikely project in an unlikely place for an unlikely person.
CS : The imaginary architecture of film noir, but also the house where I will see my future children grow up.
FM : The one which transforms both our dreams and those of our clients, in reality.

My job in 20 years
JL : Architecture is a science approached by intuition and an art approached by calculation. My intuition will have evolved and the calculation methods will be totally changed. It will therefore have evolved in a completely different job.
CS : The same passion and more time, the « SLOW ARCHITECTURE » to do things even better.
FM : Architecture is an Art which has this peculiarity of regenerating and evolving constantly. The Architect reciprocates, reinforces his expertise, his convictions, his mastery, he is even the principal actor of this change … the tools which are specific to the expression of his language will follow him.


OCDE, Boulogne-Billancourt, 2014 © DTACC


The advice I would give a young architect
JL : To follow one’s responsibilities to the end.
CS : To stay “young”, demanding and curious.
FM : For him to get passionate about what he is doing and to defend his vision of the world against all odds.

What I wish to pass on to our collaborators
JL : To open up to all the areas of human knowledge in order to know how to reinvent oneself without limits.
CS : To stay “young”, demanding and curious.
FM : The passion of Architecture, the requirement of “beauty”, the rigor of technique.

The rising architect we should follow
JL : Studio Velocity, japanese firm in Okazaki, with Miho Iwatsuki and Kentaro Kurihara
CS : Ourselves !
FM : Ourselves.

Factory, Paris, 2017 © DTACC

The project I’d like to have done myself
JL : The Georges Pompidou Centre.
CS : The following project of the firm.
FM : Apart from the projects which are entrusted to us and that we have the privilege of carrying out, the ultimate reward is the “sublime” project.

Another career I’d have liked to pursue
JL : Physicist-mathematician
CS : Being an architect is “another” profession every day. This being said, I don’t ask myself the question, architecture grabbed me at the age of 7.
FM : Passionate about automobile since always, Gentleman Driver and Biker in my soul, Racing driver will stay a “childhood dream”.

IBOX Tower, Paris, in progress © DTACC

A book, an object, a piece of art I particularly like
JL : The collection of short stories « Fictions » by Borges, and more particularly The Library of Babel, this infinite place where all possibilities are living.
CS : The work of François Delarozière, inventor of the extraordinary machines of the “île de Nantes”. Watching his drawings brings me back to childhood and gives me a furious desire to be even more creative.
FM : From Giovanni Battista Piranesi to François Schuiten, from the art of transcending antiquity to monumental architecture, from the tool to the machine…

A place that inspires me
JL : The Salar de Uyuni, the salt desert in Bolivia.
CS : Beirut. A city where the schizophrenia, the urban amnesia, the creative genius, the construction, the destruction, the beautiful, the ugly, the moving, the infuriating, the spectacular, and the infinitely trivial stand next to each other in a unique way.
FM : My own house is the privileged place for my thinking, I find there my resources, it is to my own image.

Reconversion of the maison d’arrêt, Nantes, in progress © DTACC


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