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BEYOND BELIEF: THE ARCHITECTURE OF LACATON & VASSAL

ANNE LACATON AND JEAN-PHILIPPE VASSAL may be architects, but their real métier is doubt. Unstinting skeptics, low-key mavericks, the Paris-based duo—born in 1955 in Saint-Pardoux, France, and in 1954 in Casablanca, Morocco, respectively—have relentlessly questioned the orthodoxies of architecture, disrupting force-fed assumptions about the economies and practices that drive the design, construction, and inhabitation of space. Lacaton and Vassal often make insides that are like outsides, airy structures that host everything from homes and schools to museums and offices in open-ended environs that shirk strict climatological and behavioral control—environments that leave room to linger and live in. At other times, defying a global culture that seems to value iconic architecture at any cost, they deem building itself to be altogether unnecessary.

Take, for example, Lacaton and

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