Stories

Mathieu Nicol, consider the impact of today for tomorrow 25/09/2020

Architecture is reflected in the desire not to create limits for oneself, to abolish one's own borders. Mathieu Nicol, associate architect and programmatic analyst at the prestigious architecture and town planning studio Jim Clemes Associates, is proof of this. Meet.

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs from father to son, he quickly came into contact with the world of construction. He was barely 12 years old when he visited for the first time the achievements of architectural projects. School holidays and internships allow him to regularly attend architects with whom he invests himself and initially participates in the design before embarking on the realization of projects. "My first internships in an agency date back to the last century; we had almost no computer equipment. Our only tools were the Rotrings, the tee and the drawing board" he said with a smile, adding: "we still had ammonia copiers to duplicate plans and a typewriter to type mail, then some agencies embarked on the IT adventure and today it is a fantastic tool that allows us great anticipation, especially of the phases of production". A decisive period for his future, however, since at the end of his initial school career, he began studying architecture where he met a panel of "interesting, remarkable and incredible teachers".

After obtaining a scientific baccalaureate, he naturally moved to Paris to study architecture at the National School of Architecture of Val-de-Seine. "Throughout my career, I have had the chance to meet interesting personalities, who have enabled me to understand that there is no single answer in architecture and that research must be structured in order to be able to offer a fair and elegant response ".

Jim Clemes, the materialization of ideas workshop
Breton of origin, it is in the geometry of the horizontality that he bathed before succumbing to the verticality of Paris. "There is a poetry of the horizon in Brittany which is anchored in me, but Paris to me. reminded that the finesse can also be vertical "he says before taking us to Athens. While a student, an opportunity presented itself to him: that of doing a year at the Polytechnic of Athens in Greece. He discovers a country which, for him, is at the genesis of contemporary architecture. It was also on Greek soil that he met a young architect from Luxembourg who then invited him to discover Luxembourg. Curious and navigator at heart, it was alongside Beiler and François Architects that he made his first steps into the world of architecture in Luxembourg before joining Jim Clemes two years later.
His training was rooted in a period marked by the development of an image communication company on the internet. "We are fortunate to be able to share our experiences quickly and easily today. It allows us to follow the work of many big names in architecture." And if the publications of Zaha Hadid, the couple De Portzamparc, Jean Nouvel, Richard Meier, Santiago Calatrava, are part of his library, it is with Jim Clemes and his collaborators that he will find "the Workshop where ideas materialize ".

Consider the impact of today's architecture for tomorrow
To the question in which era would he have liked to practice, the answer is clear: his. Of course, Mathieu has always been captivated by the architectural beauty of the acropolis. "Today, we would hardly be able to reconstruct it because the technicality of the design, the proportions and the rebalancing of the perspectives are extraordinary," he says. However, he prefers the complexity of the twentieth century and all that it imposes, especially environmental issues. "This prompts us to rethink ourselves, to enter into a real research process by considering the impact of our architecture today on our immediate future". And to these questions about climate change, the partner of Jim Clemes Associates promotes the renovation. "We can no longer live in a society of systematic reconstruction. We live in cities whose architectural heritage deserves to be highlighted but this requires, at the base of the architecture, taking into account the adaptability of spaces for present and future uses. "

The importance of combining functionality with aesthetics.
"You know in the word 'architecture' there is the word 'art' to which you have to associate the fact of living and bringing it to life", this would be the architect's way of working. Moreover, if for him each project is a unique favorite, he keeps in mind the renovation of Villa Lamort on Boulevard Royal in Luxembourg to whom he wishes "eternity". A priceless chance to enhance the villa while respecting the aesthetic codes. Also, he likes to mention the water tower of Gasperich for which he collaborated alongside Jim Clemes himself, Ingbert Schilz and the artist Nico Thurm and of which he had the "pride of `be responsible for site monitoring". Marrying the function of a technical work with aesthetics in order to be a marker of the city but at the same time bringing the public's attention to the unique value of the drinking water it contains was for them an experience perfectly in line with the philosophy of Jim Clemes Associates for responsible architecture.
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