Albert Abut is a French architect, a graduate of the prestigious Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux- Arts in Paris. His architecture is defined by the innovative spirit of French culture, his own distinct creativity, and a specific vision of architecture and urban planning.
The past 25 years, he has spent living between France and Japan, immersed in Japanese history and culture, and the Paris and Tokyo avant-garde scenes, which have inspired him in realizing many buildings; his buildings have been characterized as having a “specific minimalism with attention to detail”.
He is also a naval architectural expert, and his knowledge of the materials and technologies used in extreme conditions (wind, salt, humidity, heat, cold...) informs every construction project; he aspires to development buildings that integrate the latest and most advanced building materials and technologies with force and elegance.
This unique background provides a distinct approach to architectural and urban developments.
Albert Abut is a pioneer in energy efficient & sustainable building technologies; he started research in this field as an Assistant Professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. Since then he has applied energy efficient design with the use of sustainable materials and technologies with all of his building projects. His present research is on the principle of the “Third skin”:
“Each project is a conceptual and creative adventure that requires imagination and endurance. This adventure, in which I engage with my team, draws on all kind of sources of inspiration: from our past, present and future, as well as our direct and indirect environments. At the end, each one of these adventures must engender a timeless and progressive solution for mankind.
Presently, my research is focused on two of the five senses: touch and sight, which I interpret as the touch of a building. For me, a building is what I call the “third skin” (the first being our natural skin, the second our clothing). This third skin should act as an intelligent skin like that of any living being dwelling on our planet.”
“Like human skin, which recognizes heat and cold, dryness and the humidity, and air velocity, and like the human eye, which recognizes different shades and colors of light, and responds in a pro-active way towards each one of these elements, the “third skin,” the exterior enveloping a building, must assume a perfect conceptual and technological coordination between the architectural, the structural, the mechanical, the electrical components and the inner spaces.
This human environment which I progressively attempt to improve with various technologies and different innovative materials, is also enriched by permanent research on fluidity patterns, providing an overwhelming sensation of weightlessness within the realms of the real and the unreal.
My buildings are made to transmit in various ways and give materiality to the vibrations governing our floating universe”.
Since 2004, Albert Abut is working on an extensive proposal to rebuild all “Shuto” expressways and JR railways under the channels and rivers of Tokyo over which they were built in the Sixties.
These channels and rivers were making the charm of old Edo called the Venice of the East and depicted in the paintings of Hiroshige and Hokusai.
This major project would allow Tokyo to regain it's historical urban grid, open all waterways and bridges to the sky, create parks and promenades along the waterways but mostly provide natural light to the lower floors of the buildings built along these waterways.
In 2005, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi actually referred to this proposal in order to offer to his citizens a better urban environment.
The 3/11 devastation in the Tohoku area will trigger dramatic changes in urban and rural planning methodologies at coastal regions of Japan.
Many projects are already on the drawing boards. Nevertheless they are having difficulties to materialize as discussions and negotiations with the Local Mayors and Local Governments have a hard time to match with the Ministry of Finance’s (MoF) expectations as the funds allocated by the MoF are yet to be efficiently dispatched to different localities.
Solutions under study at our firm will necessitate massive earth works at higher grounds but also new harbor engineering features involving knowledge of the sea bed conditions and tsunami mechanisms.