a/LTA
Provoking luck and seizing opportunities
Rennes, FR

Maxime Le Trionnaire and Gwenaël Le Chapelain combine contradictory properties to form the studio, a/LTA. Starting out by winning the Amazonie Tower Competition, the firm is currently based in Rennes and Paris, operating between freedom, diversity and mastery. The “smooth” and the “rough”, is perhaps what could characterise the architecture of a/LTA, recalling the “striated spaces” that were dear to Gilles Deleuze, traversed by speed and slowness.

Winning the Euronantes Amazonie Tower Competition

Gwénaël and I had just left Paris to go to Rennes (Brittany). We applied and submitted a proposal to a very exciting competition in Nantes, the city where we studied, where some of our friends were working as architects and a city that is around 100km away from where we live, booming with architectural and urban development at that moment. Before that competition, we were designing small-scale projects like a 5.2m high “basketball tree”. When we learnt that we had won the new competition we were immediately made to develop a 55m high residential building! We were chosen to compete against some of the biggest names because apparently, we designed the “right” project. This ended up opening a lot of doors!

 

Accommodating constantly evolving spatial needs

We don’t have any hierarchy at the office, but rather maintain a horizontal way of working. We have an open space so that there are no filters between us. There is no intermediate person between the rest of the team and us. Everybody is in charge of their own project, and all the projects belong to the practice. Gwénaël and I don’t give any specific directions, nor do we force our ideas onto the projects. We try to build on the ideas and bounce back by questioning our team’s ideas. We compose hand-in-hand with our team’s creativity. Our office space also reflects this philosophy. It is open, quite informal and friendly (It might be too small!) The space and the positions of furniture fluctuates along with the changing needs of our practice. For instance, our model room is also where our team has lunch.

 

A practice with expectations close to its reality

Our practice is where it belongs. We hadn’t dreamt or planned for any specific work. We were always inspired by small scale architecture as well as urban projects. Our way of working is transversal; we give as much care to a birdhouse as to a basketball net, a residential tower or an urban masterplan. We try to create opportunities for ourselves on subjects that we care about. We are architects and our ambition is only to take a project to the end with a smile and the desire of doing well. The size of the project doesn’t matter as long as we have the thrill!

 

On the lookout for new opportunities

a/LTA’s team is lucky to have access to projects. Our only goal, apart from providing enough work for our team, is to keep the thrill, the listening and trust that our partners and clients give to us. Projects’ stories are beautiful when everybody works as a single team (even with constrained budgets). The stars don’t always align, but we try to anticipate things to avoid being in difficult positions or becoming frustrated with a project. Our motto is to provoke luck and seize opportunities!

01Photography © A. Loubry

02Photography courtesy of a/LTA

03Photography © S. Chalmeau

04Photography © S. Chalmeau






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