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Graal is a Paris-based architecture and urban design practice created in 2011 by Carlo Grispello and Nadine Lebeau. Graal considers architecture to be a catalyst for the interaction between public space and the built environment and favors the exploration of an architecture that is constantly attentive to the emergence of new functions in their precise context. Guided by a spirit of creative pragmatism, the agency uses negotiation as an architectural and urban design tool in order to optimize constructive exchange throughout each stage of the project. In pursuit of this quest, Graal dissects problematic encountered on site by interrogating program and revealing intrinsic potentialities in order to offer each project an approach that privileges the logic of a particular urban context rather than seeking to follow a rigid design process. The development of an aesthetic coherent with local specificity and the investigation of social space during the design process allow each project to make a positive social and environmental impact. Graal Architecture is committed to expanding its practice, working at all scales from interior organization up to urban projects. The agency’s projects in France and abroad are developed in close collaboration with a range of multidisciplinary professionals in order to guarantee their intelligence and feasibility.
Located in a protected area of forty hectares, the educational farm Gillevoisin reflects a clear position on how to transform a simple building into a powerful educational tool for the treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders. The principle adopted is to work on the basis of the farm archetype as a sensory motor. A contemporary architecture is deployed, drawing reference from its local context. The volume’s consistency and the treatment of its envelope give the building the identity of a mass of wood emerging from the ground. Without a clear pattern to its layout, the farm becomes by its nature a very powerful image inside the park. This long wooden mass is excavated to create a sensitive dialogue with the surrounding environment and to allow for its appropriation in diverse ways. Rather like over-stuffing a suitcase, the envelope is deformed and the surfaces become stressed. In order to establish a dialogue with the context while retaining the building’s independence, the envelope is composed of rough larch-wood vertical cladding, contrasting with the hollow spaces’, which are treated with moisture resistant birch plywood panels.