Eric Arsenault Architecture

"Province vivante" 2006

excerpt (text of presentation)

I associate my job as an architect with the process of driving from ideas to realization. Express an idea, share it, make it succeed, without forgetting enthusiasm. Can we advance without enthusiasm?

I start by walking on the project site, I go again and I spend time there to tame it, to perceive its potential, to check it out. A treasure hunt.

At the end of the School of Architecture it was important for me to throw myself quickly in this conception process. I wished to confront it just as much as I was afraid of it. I still dread this moment but I think that I have mastered it, and then, thanks to my achievements, no doubt my self confidence has risen.

Today I thrive by producing. Sometimes I also say that I am a little like a midwife, listening to the customer to bring out the best project half way between him and I, in what each can give and accept. Because sharing in this discipline happens very early. In fact the project is made in an intimate way with the user, and is divided throughout its development between the client, the contractors, the budget, laws and the administration… I sometimes wonder if the success of a project does not depend on a good ability to discuss?

I give my assistant rough sketches that I retouch as she shapes them on the computer. Just as one might do in sculpting. No matter what we build, what counts is how we make it : we can achieve anything in any shapes, the question for me is to know how we make it.

There is also the sharing of my ideas around me, my close relations, the engineers… : whilst discussing, it happens that an unforeseen idea appears out of nowhere, as if it had been there, suspended whilst waiting to be picked.

For the continuation it is also necessary for me to digest the project, that is to go through the plans, by imagining myself inside the project, to verify it before building it. Hence sometimes I can remain for a long time motionless in front of plans!

At the end, the enjoyment of the realization arrives: a silent and direct dialogue with the building, beyond words. Today, I am 44 years old and I wish to continue to go forward by surprising myself. And I take this opportunity to thank the very much alive actors of this book: they surprised me !

Eric Arsenault