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Fluor works remotely and builds beautifully.


What if the most important technological development in architecture today isn't the latest digital drafting program--but Skype? Since 2005, France's Fluor Architecture has been operating on a unique model: founding principals Herve Schneider, 36, and Guillaume Avenard, 37, have been running a shared practice from their respective hometowns of Strasbourg and Avignon, a distance of some 500 miles, with the nominal joint headquarters being Strasbourg. The two met while working in the office of erstwhile Jean Nouvel associate Francois Seigneur, joining forces for a number of projects both in Avenard's native south and Schneider's north. In just seven years, the team has worked on more than 50 projects together, all of them exhibiting complexity and aesthetic surprises.

One recent example is a villa, completed in 2010, in the county of Vaucluse in southeastern France. Approaching the house, it seems like a simple, square volume--until, says Avenard, "it explodes," with an irregular, louvered facade and wooden forms that break up the interior space. Another is an 18,000-square-foot child-care center, also completed in 2010, in the Alsatian town of Drulingen. Providing a range of family services, it's faced in a rough-hewn facade that seems, at first, at odds with its child-centric program. The reason, say the architects, is connected to the difficult site: hedged in by speeding cars, the building needed a sheltered quality. The duo thus "used the constraints as a structure for the project," Avenard says, working through the difficult brief via a dynamic virtual dialogue.

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Title Annotation:TALENT: ARCHITECTURE; Fluor Architecture
Author:Volner, Ian
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jul 1, 2012
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