Body To Body: Architecture as Physical and Visual Experience
Marc Barani was born in Menton in 1957, in the spring, surrounded by sunny nature and facing the blue waters of the Mediterranean—irresistible. After studying architecture in Marseilles and scenography at the Villa Arson in Nice, he went on to study anthropology in Nepal. He established his architectural studio in 1989. His first œuvre was decisive: he designed the extension of the St Pancras graveyard in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, the resting-place of both his ancestors and of Le Corbusier, whose Cabanon he also restored (1986-1991). The alpha, like an omega.
In 2007, the delivery of Nice’s new and singular multimodal hub, which binds together an otherwise dislocated space, earns him the Moniteur’s ‘Silver Set Square’ award. Five years later comes the Grand Prix National d’Architecture, crowned by the ‘Tenir lieu’ exhibition held at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine in 2019.
The Millennium Footbridge in Contes (2000-2001) with Bernard Pagès, a private villa on the Côte d’Azur (2000-2004), the church of Sainte-Croix in Chelles (2005-2008) with Martin Szekely, the Eric Tabarly Bridge in Nantes (2005-2011), council housing in Nice (2010-2014), Nancy’s Congress Centre (2007-2014), the Rafic Hariri memorial tomb in Beirut (2010-2017), the auditorium of the Institut de France (2011-2018), the École nationale supérieure de la photographie in Arles (2014-2019), the High Court of Aix-en-Provence (2012-2021), experimental housing in Bordeaux (2016-2024), Bagneux’s railway station (2013-2025): this anthological list betrays the polysemy of Barani’s studio and its ability to work upon eminently varied projects and to design new processes of construction.
But there can be no experimentation without investment and rootedness: Marc Barani has thus taught architecture from 1993 to 2003, given regular conferences both in France and abroad, and has contributed to the work of the French Ministry of Culture, whose working group on innovation he led in order to draft a national strategy for architecture. Scenographer, with Birgitte Fryland, for the Musée des Arts Décoratifs or the Louvre, curator of the ‘Patrimoines–Héritage–Hérésie’ exhibition held during the 2012 Agora in Bordeaux, in association with graphic artists Evelyn ter Bekke and Dirk Behage and video artist Christian Barani, with whom he has worked closely from the very beginning.
Carried out by a multidisciplinary team, his projects are anchored in the metaphysical ground and articulate both horizontals and verticals with a wholly Romanesque voluptuous rigour. If radicality is a root, then Marc Barani’s architecture is eminently radical. When building is always founding, then elevating. Souls and eyes.