French architect Renée Gailhoustet has been awarded the prestigious 2022 Royal Academy Architecture Prize. Given to an individual or practice ‘whose idea or body of work has made a positive contribution to the public and had a significant impact on society’, this accolade has in the past been bestowed to Cristina Iglesias (2020), Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio (2019), and Itsuko Hasegawa (2018), who marked the inaugural year for this honour.

In that spirit, Gailhoustet’s work seems a fitting winner. The architect, who was born in Oran in French Algeria in 1929, set up her own studio in 1964 in Paris. Public housing projects, such as La Maladrerie in Aubervilliers and Le Liégat in Ivry-sur-Seine, make her stand out in her field for her innovative approach and striking form-making.

portrait of Renee Gailhoustet shot by Valerie Sadoun
Renee Gailhoustet. Photography: Valerie Sadoun

‘Renée Gailhoustet’s achievements reach far beyond what is produced as social or affordable housing anywhere today. Her work has a strong social commitment that brings together generosity, beauty, ecology, and inclusivity,’ says chair of the 2022 Royal Academy Architecture Awards’ jury, Farshid Moussavi. ‘This award highlights housing design as one of the most pressing and complex issues of our time by inviting the public to rediscover the work of one of the most committed and prolific practitioners of the 20th century – an architect who pioneered a new approach to housing design, and was an early adopter of important principles, such as generous public space and nature in the city.’

The big prize announcement has been followed by the highly anticipated reveal of the shortlisted practices that will compete for the 2022 Royal Academy Dorfman Award. This year, the emerging architecture studios that form the shortlist are Apparata (UK), Dot Architects (Japan), Semillas (Peru), and Wallmakers (India). The final winner will be presented at a dedicated ceremony during the Royal Academy Architecture Awards Week, 12 – 16 September 2022, and they will win £10,000. The same event will also see Gailhoustet receive her honour too. 

Ivry sur Seine. Photography: Valerie Sadoun

‘The Royal Academy’s architecture awards programme draws on a global network of experts and enthusiasts to consider how architecture impacts the public, and to seek out exciting new talent. It is an opportunity for international dialogue and research, as much as a chance to celebrate excellence,’ says head of architecture and Heinz Curator at the Royal Academy, Vicky Richardson. ‘Renée Gailhoustet and the four Dorfman nominees are all worthy recipients that fulfil this mission. On behalf of the Royal Academy and the Academicians, I’d like to offer thanks for the efforts of our nominators and jury, and the support and benevolence of The Dorfman Foundation.’ § 

 Marc Patout
Aubervilliers. Photography: Marc Pataut 
Ivry sur Seine - Marc Patout
Ivry sur Seine. Photography: Marc Pataut
Renee Gailhoustet Interiors_CREDIT Laurent Kruszyk (4)

Photography: Laurent Kruszyk 

 Laurent Kruszyk

Photography: Laurent Kruszyk