A loose collaboration between four architects. With the name of the firm they consciously try to avoid their own identity. This anonymous approach allows them to adopt a bold research attitude and to experiment lustfully with the different potential of each project. The individuality of each partner or employee in the agency is erased in favour of collective work. This approach seems to be working. Despite the deliberate lack of authorship, each project has its own character. The firm does not pursue a formal set of given principles and does not have a defined design methodology in place. But their clear-cut attitude ensures a clear line in the projects.
One thing that comes to the fore is the way in which BAST handles materials. It is the fascination for building itself, for the construction site, that generates a love of materials. Their oeuvre is full of ingenious solutions. They graft light structures onto stone houses, invent details on the spot, and are not afraid of unconventional or cheap materials. They assemble a project from a large catalogue of building elements, as it were. The spirit of Lacaton and Vasal is never far away and Jean Prouvé is apparently also wandering around in Toulouse.
The first assignment that is being completed by BAST is the co-working space where they themselves work. The B in BAST stands for this place, which centralises the work of the four partners. The agency has, as it were, created itself. The building blocks of their architecture are budding here. What looks like an old garage box is converted into a workspace by means of a bucket of white paint, a simple table and an acoustic ceiling in the blink of an eye. As a pièce de résistence, the fluorescent lighting is screwed onto the side of the cable ducts to illuminate the room indirectly, while the cable ducts also serve as curtain rails.
The pragmatism is at times so strong that it sometimes seems as if a contractor or engineer has been at work. But the pure aesthetics that emanate from the projects is of such a nature that the architect's hand is exposed.
BAST is a Toulouse-based architectural firm founded by Laurent Didier and Mathieu Le Ny in 2013. They were joined by Jean-Babtiste Froit and Louis Army in 2016.
MATTER OF ARCHITECTURE
The matter of architecture not only refers to the pragmatic idea of architecture, but also to the added value that is created and felt within what is built. The AUDITORIUM 18/19 lecture series represents a spectrum of architecture and matter as such: what is ‘built’ as a physical materiality, what is ‘not built’ as space, light and time, and ‘the poetic’, ‘the metaphysical’ in search of the essence of architecture. Seven selected speakers bring a comprehensive story.
CURATORS: Lukas Versteele, Miep Linssen, Ruben Hoet / PARTNERS: STUK Kunstencentrum, KU Leuven dep. architectuur, Existenz / SUPPORT: City of Leuven, the Government of Flanders / SPONSORING: Febelcem, ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems, Vandersanden Group, A+ Architecture in Belgium