Graeme Mann & Patricia Capua Mann
Thomas Jantscher and Yves André
Graeme Mann & Patricia Capua Mann

Graeme Mann & Patricia Capua Mann

Architects from Chemin de Monribeau 2, Lausanne , Switzerland
Today's techniques and technologies are subject to rapid change. Fortunately, advances in architecture occur at a much slower pace, primarily when it comes to the use of new construction techniques and technologies but also in terms of the relationship between the art of constructing and materials. The greatest architectural inventions essentially focus on a new definition of the "art de vivre", on the interpretation of a theme or a program me, on the quest for new spatiality. There is a history of the evolution of techniques but there is also a history of the method in which space is appropriated.

The construction of school buildings is a matter of regular debate and constitutes a series of reference point which mark our work. The "art de vivre", the issues of education in a changing society, have left their marks in the spacial definition of recreational sites and schoolyards expressed today more freely than before. Inside, corridors integrate meeting space, encourage exchange and nurture interaction among the students. Outside, school playgrounds accommodate public parks of multiple usage and thus integrate the lives of students within the social fabric of the community. Sometimes abandoned in the 1970s and 1980s, the notion of "institution" is reintroduced today, in terms of the expression of facade as well as in the definition of recreational and common areas. The duality born of the "institutional" framework and the flexibility of leisure space becomes an integral part of our vision as it pertains to the construction of schools.

Our role as architects is to understand that creativity must be part of an architectural continuity if it is to make sense. Architecture must understand the very essence of the sources and links between social realities, then translate them to arrive at a coherence in architectural form and language. In the climate of evolving tradition and form, we feel the need to give meaning to the processes of change in which we inevitably participate. Our responsibility derives from the encouragement to change, from the integration of innovating elements and the recognition of their quality.

When it comes to sports halls as well, architectural "inventions" are part of the "art de vivre". They incorporate the new requirements of sports practices, in particular the creation of large volumes, and take on a social dimension when designed for multiple purposes. The space no longer seeks to address the requirements of sports competitions alone but also offers a new recreational and theatrical dimension. Sports halls becomes places of "better living" in terms of body and awareness of the body, two aspects which concern the health of everyone and which are understood as complementary to the mere practice of sports.

In this process we cannot isolate ourselves from history. Progress follows a historical and social continuity through scenarios of resistance as well as the pursuit of its slow evolution. We should not live with the idea of an exceptional future disconnected from the past but must assume the ambivalence of this reality.