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Guy Rottier
  • Architect (1922 - 2013)
guy.rottier.free.fr

Guy Rottier has been reinventing the city and the house with the same joyful energy since the 1950s, with audacious, poetic and optimistic projects, carefully thought out in terms of human needs and designed to be environmentally friendly. He has opened new avenues for the architectural creation of today with his experimental ideas about earthen architecture, solar town planning and ecological architecture, whether they involve camouflage, adaptable dwellings or ecologically responsible development. Early on, Rottier began developing a free-wheeling, do-it-yourself type of architecture and quickly ran into the obstacle of laws and regulations. In the 1960s context of budding mass tourism he began thinking about vacation architecture: flying houses, houses in cardboard that are genuine manifestos with which he lambasted seasonal dwellings in fake regional styles clustered together in the same place. The architect’s sources of inspiration were many and he had no preconceived notions about them. His buried houses, developed based on his analysis of traditional earthen architecture, offered real, inexpensive solutions to the housing shortages of the 1960s: industrially produced materials, recycling and space savings. Still concerned with adapting the dwelling to the actual needs of the occupants, Rottier began thinking about an adaptable, evolving dwelling, this time looking to nature for ideas. He designed an adaptable “snail” house whose spiral structure made it possible to add rooms as the family grew. He also drew inspiration from space capsules to rethink the way to occupy a cylindrical space. Rottier’s projects always blend the ingenuity of the technical solutions imagined, with the earthy character of his proposals. Guy Rottier was also very concerned about issues of pollution and congestion in cities. After the Nice-Futur (1967) experiment, he developed the idea of solar town planning (Ecopolis) where he elaborated his “lumiducs” concept; and finally, his Houses of Light (maisons de lumière) with mobile, computerized façades.

Born on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, Guy Rottier is both an engineer and architect. He studied in The Hague, Netherlands, then at the École des Beaux-Arts (Paris). From 1947 to 1949, he worked in Le Corbusier’s studio. In 1958, he founded his own firm in Nice. A friend of the historian Michel Ragon, the cartoon artist Reiser, whose humor runs through many of his projects, member of the École de Nice, close to Ben, Arman and Yves Klein, he also joined very active research groups such as GIAP in 1965, COMPLES in 1970 and the international association “Habitat évolutif”. He founded the Conspiratifs group in 1996 with, among other members, Antti Lovag and Jacques Rougerie. While some of his projects were built (Villa J. Laude, 1963 and Villa B. Cardi, 1967 in Villefranche-sur-Mer; Arman House in Vence, 1968...), Guy Rottier dedicated a major part of his career to teaching, first in Syria (1970-78) and then in Rabat, Morocco (1979-87).

Nadine Labedade