Since it was founded in the year 2000, A2M has set itself the goal of making our world more liveable by championing quality contemporary architecture with high environmental value. This attitude, which has now become a methodology, enables us to explore new territories in search for a vision that addresses concurrently social, urban, functional and formal issues. The firm’s projects translate this universe through an elegant, correct and contemporary vocabulary.
The enthusiasm of the years of economic plenty and technological advancements that we wanted to believe would liberate us from all limits is a thing of the past, and we have had to face this reality: whereas the universe in which we live is infinite, our world is not. Thinking about the world no longer as a reserve of unlimited raw materials, but as a world with finite dimensions, must transform the entire construction sector, whose major impacts in terms of needs of resources and waste generation are well known to us.
We think that it is politically responsible to produce sustainable architecture, also with regard to a city, and are convinced that the best way to head for this sustainability is by focusing on the energy dimension of buildings.
The infrastructure and facilities we build must be of the finest quality so as to reduce the material and energy flows between them; they must function optimally with less (energy, maintenance, etc.). The roadmap is becoming clearer and clearer here: everything points to the need for energy criteria that are as efficient as those of the passive standard. This has proved the most relevant of all the design tools at our disposal so as to make headway in concrete, significant and pragmatic terms in this direction.
This initial choice to concentrate exclusively on sustainable projects (our first passive building was designed in 2002) is linked to the determination to tow an ethical and aesthetic line while endeavouring to articulate our approach in accordance with the expectations of users and the town planning realities in the field.
Sustainable construction however is geared not only to a more efficient, but also a more resilient construction, capable of maintaining its performance level in spite of climatic and technical vagaries. As the most efficient buildings owing to the most advanced technological systems are also the most fragile, our design work must combine two rationales: ensure optimal energy performance for the long term. Nowadays, the passive standard is no longer a question, but a necessary condition if we are to aspire to sustainable architecture.
For a building to be efficient, it must first be intelligent. To that end, we think that it must capitalise on the site in which it is situated. The common fixtures, the density of the block, the width of the streets that line it will determine the exposure to the sun, the views that will have to be given priority, and the degree of attainable compactness. These old elements of architectural design, forgotten at times before the promises of technology, are vital for the passive architecture that we practice.
Our method boils down to integrate from the outset all the parameters that have to be considered. The urban approach must include the ergonomic and energy-related considerations for the building right from the start. That is why we involve a broad range of competencies through this series of tests “in all directions.” These are the preconditions under which we define the relevance of a building in a specific site beyond its performances, with a certain programme for private users.
In the course of its projects, specialised training courses imparted worldwide by its members or its active participation in the periodical be.passive, A2M explores every direction to create the most efficient and most pertinent buildings simply and economically. The aim pursued is obviously neither energy nor the architectural form, but to make sure the conditions of what the economist Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen called, in 1973, « la joie de vivre » .