Atelier 703
A balancing act
Lausanne, CH; Lisbon, PT

Atelier 703 is an architectural firm founded by Eliana Barreto, Maria João Cunha and Bastien Guy. It aims for an architecture defined by its critical vocation, its concern for the context and its attachment to cultural, social and environmental aspects. The atelier is established between Lausanne and Lisbon with a particularity that leads it to constantly reassess the priorities of design and architectural production. The office is not based on certainties, but always favours dialogue over confrontation and seeks timelessness.

 

Setting foot

The beginnings of the studio were rather laborious as we were all employed in different offices in the German and French speaking parts of Switzerland. (Blättler Dafflon Architekten, Lin Robbe Seiler, Jaccaud Spicher, MAK architecture, among others)

The basic idea was to set up a flexible structure with variable geometry structured around four people with common sensibilities. The collaborations at the start were therefore varied. This flexibility in the organisation allowed us to join forces at strategic moments and to participate in a series of open competitions over a period of five years, two of which won awards (housing in Geneva and Lausanne). However, it is really the competition that we won for the new town hall of Meyrin in 2019 that allowed us to found our company and to commit ourselves full time.

A project by chance

The particularity of the Meyrin competition lied in its process, with a first open round and a second round with 4 selected teams and a series of dialogues with the jury. The first round consisted simply of the elaboration of a single board and, quite honestly, it was a bit of a gamble for us. We had very little time to devote to the competition due to an overloaded schedule and Bastien and Eliana did the competition in three weeks. So we had to start with a strong idea and that's when the solution of a volume articulated in two parts with a longitudinal section appeared. It was a winning choice since we were selected alongside 4 teams including renowned architects whom we admire greatly (Karamuk Kuo and Dürig architects in particular). It also turns out that going to a bar can pay off: the client of our villa project currently under construction in Kenya turned out to be the barman of the bar in Zurich where we used to go every Friday. The barman is also a swiss boxing champion!

A balancing act

In parallel to her activity within the office, Maria has an intense associative activity as she is president of the Forum d'architectures Lausanne which is an association that promotes the influence of building culture in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Between the office's projects and the organisation of exhibitions, the days are well-paced. A beneficial porosity is established between these two universes and the associative activity feeds the reflections that we can have in the office. As for Bastien and Eliana, they have recently become young parents who sleep little, trying to reconcile family and professional life, which is far from obvious. Building an office, a town hall and a family at the same time is a balancing act!

In addition, the atelier would like to engage in teaching to enrich its daily practice. 

An urban hum

The office is an apartment flat located in the centre of Lausanne. The typology is very classical; a hall that distributes a series of rooms of equal size, fairly high ceilings, beautiful openings overlooking the street and the trees. We like the domesticity of this place. We feel at home here. We hear the rustle of the city and we feel good.

 

A703 picture 3 Bastien Guy

A703 picture 2 Bastien Guy

A703 picture 1 Bastien Guy

Photography Courtesy of Atelier 703






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