Arba- is an architecture studio established in Paris by two architects: Jean Baptiste Barache and Sihem Lamine. Jean Baptiste was born in Paris in 1970 and graduated from UP1 Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris in 1998. And Sihem was born in Tunis in 1977 and graduated from L’Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture, Paris, in 2002.
In 2007, Arba- was born from the two architects’ first partnership for the construction of a small family weekend house in Burgundy. This project kicked off a series of fruitful experimentations around the theme of housing, and launched a driven dedication to develop an architecture that is humble, affordable, sustainable and poetic.
Today, Arba- has built more around twenty architectural projects, mainly scattered in the French countryside and city-suburbs. These houses won several prizes and scored media success. But most importantly, they were an opportunity for the team to establish strong and long-lasting connections with wood manufacturers and craftsmen; and to strengthening and clarify a vision on architecture, housing solutions and sustainability.
Arba- designs houses as functional, smooth and optimal pieces. Their main purpose, ‘to serve as a dwelling’, is not separable from a second purpose: ‘allow to see through’. They relate more to instruments than to buildings. As with musical instruments, lines and shapes are pure and minimal while allowing for a broad range of potential uses. The dweller is naturally involved in a game of interactions with the garden, the landscape, the sun, the light...
Arba’s projects are formed and fine-tuned by a steady dialogue between the two architects. The budget and urban restrictions are not considered as constraints; but part of the design process. And a constant endeavor is put to banish any voluntary or unnecessary architectural intention. Instead, the primacy is accorded to the landscape, the site, the inhabitant, the material, and the craftsman’s hand.
Arba’s houses have been awarded several prizes in design competitions such as: Sustainability Award in the Archinovo - Architecture de Collection sustainable housing prize, 2015; second prize in the Prix National de la Construction Bois, 2015; first winner of the Palmarès 24 heures d’architecture, Archicontemporaine.org, 2012; special honours in Salon d’Angers, 2010; first prize in Salon d’Angers, 2009 and 2008; and first prize in the Lauriers de l’Architecture Bois, 2009..