Architecture on Film: HLM, Habitations Légèrement Modifiées + Q&A

Thurs 13 March 2014, 7pm

  • Tower Bois-le-Prêtre by Lacaton & Vassal and Frédéric Druot in Paris, France. Courtesy Philippe Ruault
  • Still from HLM, Habitations Légèrement Modifiées (2013). Courtesy Guillaume Meigneux
  • Still from HLM, Habitations Légèrement Modifiées (2013). Courtesy Guillaume Meigneux
  • Still from HLM, Habitations Légèrement Modifiées (2013). Courtesy Guillaume Meigneux

Explore the refurbishment of the Bois le Prêtre tower in Paris by architects Lacaton and Vassal with Frédéric Druot, through the eyes of its inhabitants in this UK premiere of a new feature length documentary about the building process. The screening will be accompanied by a Q&A with the director Guillaume Meigneux and architecture author and teacher Andrew Ayers.

HLM, Habitations Légèrement Modifiées (2013) directed by Guillaume Meigneux tells the inspiring tale of the transformation of the Bois le Prêtre tower in the suburbs of Paris, France. Previously nicknamed 'alcatraz' this block of some 100 social houses was creatively brought back to life by architects, Anne Lacaton and Jean Philippe Vassal with Frédéric Druot whose competition-winning suggestion to regenerate the 1960's tower block was implemented in 2011.

Told through the voices of those who inhabit the building, this film demonstrates how rejecting the traditional approach of demolition and rebuild can lead to great results that not only produce improved social conditions but offer significant cost savings. As the present economic crisis continues to prevail across Europe and the necessity to create more sustainable environments persists, this story offers inspiration to remain innovative in our approach to existing buildings.

HLM, Habitations Légèrement Modifiées (UK premiere)
France 2013. Dir Guillaume Meigneux. 76 mins. In French with English subtitles.

Official film site:
Trailer (in French): 

Guillaume Meigneux is architect and film director. He is currently combining his practice as film maker with projects as HLM, Habitations Légèrement Modifiées with a research practice on architecture and urban planning through a PhD about the relation of film and the conception of urban projects. 

Andrew Ayers studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. For the last seventeen years he has been living in Paris, where he is an author, teacher and journalist specialized in architecture. He is Associate Editor of PIN–UP, and is a regular contributor to the Architectural Review.