Water Buffalo-Pulled Pavilion


R&Sie, pronounced “Air and Sea” or “Air y see” ( sounds like Heresy), is one of our favorite architecture firms and this week’s feature presentation. R&Sie is directed by a team of french thinkers, architects and railleurs — they are Francoise Roche, Stephanie Lavaux and Jean Navarro. Together they’ve been reworking, provoking and disturbing architectural /  animal boundaries around the globe.

Briefly, R&sie has been active as an experimental architectural practice for the better part of 20 years. Over the course of that career they’ve produced roughly 40 projects of all shapes, sizes, scales and materials. It’s difficult to directly pin any one label or category to R&Sie’s work, but they do appear to be interested in architecture’s particularly temporal nature as well as its place in a larger biotic or zootic context. Much of their work, (and indeed most of it is unbuilt proposals), fits the mission of this website as well as our personal palette’s. Sure there are some problems with the work but we love it and not because it looks organic, or is directly related to a biological process but because of its overt animalistic qualities: hairy, smelly, and slimy;  moving, growing or in a state of decay. R&Sie truly occupies a unique place in the animal / architecture discussion — one that we find, both strangely disgusting, and also some how irresistible despite our best intentions otherwise. We’ve never been able to figure out what Francoise and the gang are up to and we don’t entirely trust it. But we keep coming back to them, time and time again. So, perhaps better than talking about the work of R&Sie we’ll post a few of our favorite projects from their website (dude! they need a new website!) and let you see for yourself.

Hybrid Muscle:

Water-buffalo pulled shelter in the Philippines. This one of our favorite and we think most successful projects to come out of R&Sie. The short story is that it’s an animal pulled farming shed and transportation devise. The longer story is that it’s an amazing dialog between animals, both human and non, farming, architecture and spectacle.


“Hybrid Muscle,” R&Sie…, 2003, the shelter that produced a movie

“Boys from Mars,” Philippe Parreno, 2003, the movie that produced a shelter

After being invited by his friend and colleague Tiravanija in 2001 to build a common space in the Land in Chang Mai – Thailand, Philippe Parreno signed up François Roche and his studio R&Sie(n) to co-sign the scenario. They both developed a story titled “the Game”, about a  Siamese twins production, ”Hybrid Muscle’ as a shelter that produced a movie, and “Boys from Mars,”  as a movie that produced a shelter. The movie by Philippe Parreno and the building by R&Sie(n) are contingent and simultaneous, and they need to be considered as the two artifacts of the Game

In a sort of ‘’Game’’ between the artist and architect, the project was realised with the intention that it initially be used as the set for Parreno’s film Boy from Mars (2003-2005), and that the film would leave behind a permanent structure that could be used for social purposes and common life, contrary to almost all normal movie sets, which are typically destroyed.


Spider in the Woods:

A quasi-architectural exploration in Nimes, France — Half tent, half house.

This is one of the first R&Sie projects that we discovered. What we enjoy most about Spider in the Woods is its reluctance to develop a traditional sense of permanence. Screen walls move through both the house and the french woods outdoors. Over time these screen-walls will develop  a very clear dialog with the surrounding landscape. It’s a tree house of a different kind and utterly fascinating. But despite the initial intrigue the screen/netting dialog is exactly that, too dialogic for us. It’s a good first step towards animal/architecture but perhaps more than anything highlights a dichotomy rather than illicting a multiplicity.


Nîmes, France 2007
Architect: R&Sie(n)- Paris
Creative team: François Roche, Stéphanie Lavaux, Jean Navarro avec Nicolas Green
Creative contractor; Christian Hubert-Delisle

Key dimensions: indoor 350 m², outdoor labyrinth 2000 m²
Client: Urbain and Elisabeth Souriau
Cost: 0.8 millions € (including tax and fees)
Individual housing as a spider net creating clearing of a forest
1) Over density of existing forest plantation (trees will be at the right level in 5 years)
3) Netting and Wrapping the forecast size of adult trees with a polypropylene mesh to develop a labyrinth in the branches
4) Including an Stealth indoor 400 m² summer building, on two floor, plugged and over connected to this labyrinth by huge sliding glass door (7×3.5 meters)
5) Blurring the boundaries inside/outside for a porosity sensation and windy refreshing
6) Living behind the indoor extension of the labyrinth / behind the plastic strip curtain, in an ”under-construction step’’, with no-design from the nearest corner shop mall.
7) LOST GAME in the neighborhood (in five years) for an architecture without any façade




Green Gorgon:

A proposal for a new museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, this is one of the hairier and slimier of R&Sie’s work. Think Chia-Museum. Briefly, the Museum is a series bars bending and twisting to house a complex program and create dynamic views. The skin of the building is an exhaustive array of concrete planter-spikes that over time will grow to cover the building in a cloak of grass. We’re not sure exactly why one would do this but we find it strangely compelling. Moreover, where the spider in the woods traced that dualism of nature/culture a little too closely for our tastes the Green Gorgon, by overtly designing for its vegetative elements blurs that line a bit more successfully.


Lausanne, Switzerland, 2005
Architect: R&Sie (n) – Paris
Creative team: François Roche, Stephanie Lavaux, Jean Navarro with Philippe Parreno &
Mathieu Lehanneur, Guscetti and Tournier, VP & Green, Klaus Daniels, Michel Boulcourt

Key dimensions: 7,000 m2.
Customer: City of Lausanne
Cost: 40 € million

Museum of the town of Lausanne. Particularly heterogeneous collection (various dating and source), whose nature hesitates between a “cabinet of curiosity” and a freak museum. The scale of this collection in fact thus one of the “strange” museums more, out of time, or the contemporary art infiltrates as by error of casting.

1) Recognition of the “natural” fake of the place (polder developed on the lake)

2) Development of a strategy heterotopic, tentacular, uncertain, organic.

3) Scenarios of confusion between various natures – built natures (facade in hydro-aeroponiques, biodynamic green hairs) and urban, spontaneous, haunted natures, in order to generate a hybrid landscape, non-identifiable.

4) Using the photosynthesis of all green façades to recycle and clean waste water.

5) Introduction of this knotty geometry into indoor morphology of the exhibition rooms. A place where perdition, looseness is plausible, where the tangled up ambulation becomes the support of a collection which is not it less. Complexity is a tool of reprogramming and deprogramming, folding and unfolding.

6) Individual positioning by portable GPS, coupled to an informational PAD. The visitor use this i-compass to move and get more details (sound and video) on each art piece.






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