Anne Démians

2017  Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters

2016  Finalist in the Grand Prix national de l’architecture

2016 Registered the IDI, Immeuble à Destination Indéterminée (Open Building) label

2015  Full member of the Académie d’Architecture

2013  Silver medal – Prix Le Soufaché

2013  Women architects award. Category “original work”

A member of the following work groups :

RBR 2020-2050 work group chaired by Christian Cléret and Alain Maugard under the aegis of the Philippe Pelletier Committee of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Energy and Regional development. Since 2012.

Scientific Orientation Council of the City of Architecture and Heritage. Council chaired by Marie-Christine Labourdette. The Scientific Advisory Board issues proposals and gives its opinion on the establishment’s cultural and scientific policy, and in particular on the scientific project and review.

Teaches for the Master’s in Real Estate Management at Université Paris Dauphine

“The work of Anne Démians, is central to a new vision of architecture. She conducts work giving a basic overall picture and that is in keeping with the times, with a Dolan-style guidelines and a Banksy-style energy that only a few rare observers (journalists, critics, academics or commissioner) have already deciphered.”

Anne Démians has built her career with the single obsession of opening up spheres of application of her buildings and contributions as much as possible, with the direct result of ultra-fast changes in society.

The “Consonance et Dissonance” that she published in 2006, already spoke of mixing styles and languages, the real lies and false truths of architecture. She spoke of consonant creations, built voluntarily on dissonant values and suggests that we accept “hybridization and circumstance” as possible frameworks for the architect’s work. However, it is her true nature, forged from art, history and techniques, that has enabled her to work so energetically in this profession, with a new way of building, using reflexes that stem from a society deeply impacted by digital technology and the instantaneous nature of modern life. For all that, she still takes time to go back to basics, wherever she intervenes, whatever the contingencies may be.

She writes, takes a stance, builds, teaches and contributes to several workgroups on the mutable city, the environment and energy, rejecting images that are too fast and empty of meaning, and of a caricatured over-standardized environment. She has focussed on these subjects for many years. Her “Embarquement immédiat” (Immediate Boarding) paper, which she wrote on the request of Philippe Pelletier, chairman of the Sustainable Building Plan Steering Committee, in 2016, to be presented to the Minister of Ecology, speaks volumes about her commitment.

1/ Her method and her work

The architect speaks to private clients in the same way as she does public commissioners, with the same level of requirements. By doing this she succeeds in producing works that are very difficult to label (public or private), so few are the differences. Her well-developed reasoning and her expertise in techniques and control of construction costs are one of the keys to her development system. The distance remains minimal between what she says and the actual construction, which, for her, consists of transferring the requirements of the public concerns to private projects. We know that she builds the way she speaks, with expert knowledge and directly. Her work already demonstrates her new loose methods.

Her work for Société Générale, completed in 2017 is a construction built in collaboration with her contact, a landscape architect, a designer and a graphic designer, and resulted in new work spaces. Digital society found its way into the project, at the same time as the fragmented and interactive construction, which she designed as an extension of these requirements.

Her interventions on the redevelopments and extensions of major facilities, similar to the Hôtel-Dieu in Paris (2025), the ESPCI in Paris (2024), the thermal baths in Nancy (2022) and the Hotel Shool in Guyancourt, demonstrate the level of her attention to existing buildings and her persistent desire to transform them in the most comfortable and contemporary manner possible.

The transformation and construction of the EMGP market halls in Aubervilliers for Icade (2020-2024) is an opportunity to make the link with history and modernity in a new structuring real estate operation for the district.

The various housing projects she has completed, or that are currently under construction, all stem from the same idea: producing as much space as possible “to occupy rather than as living space”. Auteuil, Black Sawns, Asnières, M9d4, Ziegelwasser, and Rungis take an interest in new ways of occupying space, while the projects in Sarcelles and Strasbourg broaden the field of investigation on mixed use.

2/ Her theoretical contributions viewed from a project point of view

Assessing and shaping her intuitions before she explains them, Anne Démians immediately connects the project with theory. Since nothing annoys her more than thinking that she might not be able to do things the way she thought. Between theory and practice, there is such a small gap for her that everything seems to be conveyed at the same time without any visible difference. Anyone who knows her also knows the commitment that has immersed her in the tribulations and aberrations of a profession undergoing far-reaching changes. Times have changed. She takes back control of a delimited space and rethinks its area, its boundaries and how it is defined, and its purpose, by increasing the number of potential uses.

The Black Swans towers in Strasbourg show that her theory on open space is effective, since she convinced ICADE to build the idea she marked out on the urban plan, relating to the redevelopment of domestic spaces as the base of a new aesthetic, compatible with the variability of the economic cycles. The universal framework she develops and which enables her to assemble different programmes in one building, bear out the title of the IDI, Immeuble à Destination Indéterminée (Open Building) label, registered officially in 2016.

With the completion of Strasbourg, we realize that we are still talking about the environment, since the whole of the conversion rationale of the project together with its appropriate façades, can be seen as a challenge to waste, a subject discussed in her national contributions.

3/ Her civic contributions, teaching architecture and other contributions

Anne Démians teaches architecture, but currently prefers the Paris-Dauphine courses, which encourage her to share her experiences with students with the goal of becoming a builder or property developer. After having spent many years teaching about the project in schools of architecture (Rennes, Paris, Berlin), she now teaches about the environment and the art of building well and aesthetically.

Committed to an environment-sensitive approach since 2006, she won the first Low Carbon award of the competition, begun by Yves Bamberger and EDF, in 2009. For this she proposed new low carbon emission construction models. This award won her visibility allowing her to continue her efforts until 2016, when the members of the Pelletier committee commissioned a paper that they entitled “Embarquement immédiat, vers un modèle français intelligent” (Immediate Boarding, for a smart French model).

She worked on these three registers in parallel, wishing to feel more useful to a generation that wants for more than just one thing. She shifts from subject to subject, revealing architecture’s freedom of expression. Since, as Louis Jouvet said, “the actor must not perform the lines. He must perform what happens between lines.”

 Michèle Leloup