Combining heritage, the passing on of tradition, sharing and new developments, the Fondation Wilmotte is very much of its time, fostering an encounter between two worlds: architectural heritage and contemporary forms of architecture. It blends genres, raises questions, interacts and creates new awareness. It is both a laboratory and a shop window.
Identify and recognise young talent
In 2005, we created a corporate foundation to highlight "contemporary grafting", the architectural procedure consisting in preserving all or part of an older building by adding the contemporary elements needed for its new use.
We noticed that architecture schools very seldom taught the subject of redevelopment or the ways in which a building can be transformed when its purpose changes. In France, as elsewhere, architecture teaching is very often based on projects built from scratch. And yet in Europe there is no longer room for building on vacant land. And even when the land can still be built on, our ecological emergency requires us to choose renovation rather than new construction on a mass scale.
So the principle of “contemporary grafting” is essential. It is a way to renovate older buildings using up-to-date technologies, without falling into pastiche.
It seems to us important to raise awareness among young architects about redevelopment issues. While providing new life and respecting older sites, this architectural technique adapts to new uses and to the needs of sustainable development. Through this initiative, we want to encourage the redevelopment of outstanding sites.
TO CONSERVE AND DIFFUSE THE ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE
Within the framework of preserving contemporary architectural heritage and in order to bring together archives open to all, the Foundation has acquired personal testimonies from the profession, constituting a memorial for the future.
The Foundation will soon be organising exhibitions and conferences in France and abroad to promote public awareness and knowledge. Lastly, it will be regularly publishing works in which handing on knowledge and emotions will be the guidelines.
As part of this approach, the Foundation now includes an association of experts from a wide range of backgrounds, guaranteeing the relevance of its commitments and action.
Fondaco Degli Angeli
Galerie de la Fondation W
Opening hours during the exhibitions
Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-13:30 – 14:30-18:00
Closed on public holidays
Located in Venice, in the Cannareggio, the Fondaco Degli Angeli is the exhibition gallery of the Wilmotte Foundation. It opened its doors on 31 August 2012, for the 13th Architecture Biennale.
Established in a former boat repair workshop, an industrial architecture from the end of the 19th century, the Fondaco Degli Angeli is intended to exhibit the winners of the W Prize, organised every two years by the Wilmotte Foundation. It is also a privileged exhibition space for artists working on architecture and landscape. It also offers meetings, presentations and book signings, and events related to the promotion of contemporary graft in architecture.
The Wilmotte Gallery at Lichfield Studios
133 Oxford Gardens
London W10 6NE
Opening hours during exhibitions:
Monday to Friday 10.00 – 17.00
Closed bank holidays
Located in London’s Notting Hill district, the Wilmotte Gallery At Lichfield Studios is an art gallery managed, since 2009, by Jean-Michel Wilmotte and Tristan Hoare, a young British art curator. The two work closely together to organise exhibitions focussing primarily on contemporary photography.
Formerly a car garage, the building was bought in 1984 by Lord Lichfield, one of the greatest photographers of his generation and official portraitist to the British royal family; Lichfield used the garage as his studio. The building was entirely renovated by Wilmotte UK, who added a level for their own offices and created an exhibition space on the ground floor, all while retaining a sense of the space’s “workshop” spirit.
Helping young architects early on in their career is one of the main aims of the Foundation's activity.
This is why every two years the Foundation organises an architecture competition, the “Prix W” (“W Prize”), with the aim of discovering and supporting young talents and raising their awareness about the importance of combining heritage and the architecture of tomorrow. The competition is open to students and young graduates in architecture from the European Union, the UK, Switzerland, Serbia, Montenegro, Ukraine and Georgia. It rewards the excellence of the proposals by awarding prizes and grants, by exhibiting the award-winning projects during the Venice Biennale of Architecture and by publishing the most outstanding projects in a special work. The competition jury is made up of architects, artists, journalists and specialists.
W PRIZE 2023
For its tenth edition, we propose a challenge that is as stimulating as it is essential: A roof for all! Rooftops shape the landscape of cities and the countryside, they shape the horizon. A roof is a protection, it is a shelter to rebuild oneself. It is a promise of a renewed family and social life. Faced with the current crisis of inadequate housing, we invited participants to imagine original solutions in order to design habitable modules that would fit under these existing and unused roofs.
The foundation received 57 quality projects. Four projects were awarded, including two projects that tied for third place. Ten projects received mentions. The awards ceremony will take place at the Wilmotte Foundation Gallery in Venice on 18 May 2023. The winning projects will be exhibited in Venice in the Foundation’s Gallery during the Venice Architecture Biennale and will be published in a dedicated book.
W PRIZE 2020
For this ninth year, graduates and students from all over Europe were invited to rethink the Château de la Tour d’Aigues around the theme of “Wine and Gastronomy”. For anyone who has stayed in the fertile lands of Lubéron, the theme seems an obvious one due to the region’s talents in welcoming visitors and the pleasures of the dining table. For this “architectural grafting” to work, the project had to incorporate the art and ingenuity of the region in terms of culinary talent.
For the 2020 W Prize, the Foundation received 900 applications. Teams were formed, and the jury chose between 139 dossiers with high-quality, innovative and creative projects, worthy of the site and its future ambitions. Nine projects were selected and three were finally given awards by the jury.