Exyzt are a Paris based collective founded by five architects, Nicolas Henninger, François Wunschel, Phillipe Rizzotti, Pier Schneider and Gilles Burban, who studied together at Paris La Villette School of Architecture and in 2002 formed a practice around the idea of 'building and living together'. This approach means that Exyzt not only design their projects but also build them, erecting temporary structures and creating social spaces that are programmed in consultation with local user groups. Since their first project in 2003, the collective has slowly grown into a network of like minded people who come together around certain projects and include a graphic designer, plumber, DJ, photographer, woodworker, electrician, web designer, cook and writer. Exyzt have made installations and interventions in a number of cities including Paris, Venice, London and São Paulo.
Exyzt typically choose empty sites or buildings in the city, acquiring them temporarily with the permission of the owner and transforming them with simple structures and mobile units that have a DIY aesthetic and are cheap and easy to build. Although Exyzt's projects seem very informal they are heavily curated, by creating links with local inhabitants and specific user groups they design spaces that can be appropriated by them through organising specifc workshops and events. Whilst projects such as the Southwark Lido and the Dalston Mill in London have been extremely popular, and opened many eyes to the wider possibilities of spatial occupation, Exyzt have so far resisted the temptation to transform these into permanent amenities. It is in fact their temporary nature that seems to be a key component in their success, ensuring that no space is completely appropriated by one dominant user group. Exyzt's working method, and production of temporary reversible architecture informed by theatre and performance, shares many similarities with that of the Berlin based Raumlabor collective.
Exyzt, 'Southwark Lido', 2008, http://southwarklido.wordpress.com/
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Maryse Quinton, 'EXYZT, performances permanentes [interview]', Moniteur architecture AMC, 2006 (2006), 38-42.
Tim Abrahams, 'As zillions of pavilions land in London, Exyzt
brings a sauna to the South Bank', Blueprint, 2008, 33.
---, 'Exyzt in Latvia', Blueprint, 2007, 42-46.
Crystal Bennes, 'Rus in Urbe: French funster EXYZT brings a radical, rural idyll to London's East End with its windmill and wheatfield', Architectural Review, 226 (2009), 33.
Merlin Fulcher, 'EXYZT's flour mill for London', Architects Journal, 230 (2009), 12.
Maryse Quinton, 'EXYZT: Social Club, Paris 2e', Moniteur architecture AMC, 2008, 86-89.
Oliver Wainwright, 'The Smell of Freshly Baked Bread', Icon Magazine Online, 2009, http://www.iconeye.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=433:icon-076--october-2009&id=4191:the-smell-of-freshly-baked-bread [accessed 1 February 2010].
---, 'We Brought the Fog to London', Icon Magazine Online, 2008, http://www.iconeye.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=418:ICON%20063&id=3659:we-brought-the-fog-to-london [accessed 1 February 2010].
'ShowCase: Southwark Lido, a Temporary Public Bath in the Heart of London', Archinect, 2008, http://archinect.com/features/article.php?id=77268_0_23_120_M [accessed 1 February 2010].
"Living on site creates a special relationship with the
community. We aimed to provide a local forum, an open space for
people to come and run their regular activities."
- Sara Muzio, collaborator on Southwark Lido.
"We want to make it look possible for anyone to do. You don't
need to be a specialist."
- Alex Roemer, Exyzt.
See, Icon Magazine Online, 2008
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