Working with architects

As construction projects become more complex, architects face an increasing number of challenges: accessibility, efficiency, environmental footprint, durability and aesthetics. For this reason, Lafarge partners with architecture firms and engineering offices as early as the project design phase. We provide guidance on construction solutions that offer the right combination of cement, concrete and aggregates for each project, thereby helping to transform ideas into reality while building better cities together.

We share the architects’ challenges on urbanization

By 2050, 70% of the world's population will live in cities, which is twice as many people as in 1970! With the rise in urbanization, city authorities, architects and urban planners must tackle a variety of different issues, including affordable housing, infrastructure, environmentally friendly construction, well-being and aesthetics.

Like architects, we play a major role in cities around the world. As a developer of construction solutions, Lafarge shares a number of their concerns, especially those related to urbanization. We work in close cooperation with architects and engineering offices to move forward on these fundamental issues and develop construction solutions that are best able to meet them. This is the thinking behind our ambition: Building Better Cities.     

What architects think

FAQ 1 : Carmen Santana - Open city

"To counter globalization, you must start locally," says Franco-Chilean architect Carmen Santana. For the co-founder of Barcelona-based agency Archikubik, urban planning and urban living must go hand in hand. In practice, this architectural principle means shaping the city from public spaces and constructing "relational" buildings which fit naturally into their environment and encourage communication.

FAQ 2 : Sudhir Jambhekar - Green buildings and local issues

A senior partner for FXFOWLE Architects, Sudhir Jambhekar works currently on multiple towers in India, the United Arab Emirates, China, Japan, Korea, and on the Dubai's Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed - the largest and tallest spanning arch bridge in the world! From his point of view, architecture and "green" building goes hand in hand with urban design. But there is no single sustainable solution: a construction must be related to the local climate, people and culture.

FAQ 3 : Marc Mimram - Cities and infrastructure

"Living infrastructure": that is what engineer-architect Marc Mimram is offering in his study carried out in partnership with Lafarge. Generally poorly perceived, infrastructure is too often experienced as a necessary evil in cities.

It is time to reconcile infrastructures and inhabitants! Bridges, the ultimate infrastructure, lend themselves to the principle of this study. Marc Mimram proposes four innovative bridges suited to specific cities:
The "Landscape Bridge" in La Courneuve, France.
The "Rooftop Bridge" in Shanghai, China.
The "The Accommodating Structure" in New York, United States.
The "Inhabited Structure" in Moscow, Russia.

In the context of the study carried out by Marc Mimram, Ductal® ultra-high performance concrete appears to be the ideal physical solution for creating the engineer-architect's light and inventive forms.

FAQ 4 : Michael Bell: housing - above all an economic question

"Housing in the United States has become a consumer good like any other and is no longer benefiting from innovations. We need to change construction methods by rethinking the function of materials right from the start of a project. We are now entering an era in which innovative materials will revolutionize construction methods, as well as the economics of construction."

FAQ 5 : Anne Lacaton: more space for inhabitants

"Making housing affordable also means making the space affordable. By inventing new construction methods and optimizing the use of materials, we can succeed in expanding the space and providing inhabitants with a more comfortable living environment. And creating more space without spending more, or reconstructing bigger, is possible when renovating. The structure of a building represents 30% to 40% of its value - that is as much money saved if it can be preserved."

FAQ 6 : Mustansir Dalvi: maintaining affordable housing in the heart of cities

"In Bombay, 70% of the population lives in shantytowns. Although these houses are of very poor quality, their residents are at the heart of the city's economic and social fabric. Building on the outskirts to offer low-cost housing is therefore not a solution. We have a lot to learn from the methods used to construct shantytowns - building quickly and making the most of small spaces. We can preserve and transform the existing structures to reduce construction costs and therefore offer better quality."

Our solutions foster architectural creativity while meeting new construction demands

We help architects give free reign to their creativity and meet increasingly stringent project specifications by forming partnerships as early as the initial planning phase. Together, we develop the cement, concrete and aggregate construction solutions best suited to each project, including the following:

  • Aesthetic solutions, which enable architects to design bold buildings that combine unique shapes, colors and textures.
  • Solutions that improve energy efficiency of buildings, such as our Efficient BuildingTM systems, which help projects obtain international environmental certification (LEED, BREEAM, HQE, etc.).
  • Technically advanced products, such as our ultra high performance concrete (UHPC)  Ductal® that offers beauty and high mechanical resistance and allows the construction of spectacular buildings, like Rudy Ricciotti's MuCEM in Marseille.   


With Lafarge, architects and engineering offices can also count on the following:

  • Cutting-edge R&D. We operate the world's leading laboratory dedicated to construction materials, where we develop customizable concrete formulas and solutions.
  • Consulting on major architectural projects. We offer the expertise of our construction specialists, who deliver quality recommendations on the right materials to use.     

Our team of experts

In 2011, the Group put together a team of international experts in the following key areas:

  • Structure
  • Thermal science
  • Bioclimatic design
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Construction economics

The Specifiers’ Panel

In 2010, Lafarge formed a Panel of Specifiers. It is composed of six designers, architects and engineers. Their role is to test the Group's Efficient Building™ systems.

We support training for young architects and preservation of heritage

  • Lafarge works to support young architects through training programs and partnerships with major architecture schools around the world (Tongji University in Shanghai, Columbia University in the United States, Paris La Villette and Villepinte in France, etc.)
    In 2011, we also launched the Studio+ program focused on affordable housing with the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture in Paris-Belleville (France), the Sir JJ College of Architecture (India) and "Ion Mincu" University (Romania).


  • We are committed to preserving architectural heritage. We have undertaken several projects that aim to improve preservation solutions, such as the renovation of Eileen Gray's E1027 Villa. We also work with the following preservation organizations:
    • Cercle des partenaires du patrimoine (French Heritage Partners Circle) 
    • Fondation du Patrimoine (French Heritage Foundation) 
    • Richard Morris Hunt Prize (RMHP), which we fund
    • Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine (City of Architecture and Heritage) in Paris (partner since 2010) 
    • Louvre Museum (partner since 1995)    

The Richard Morris Hunt Prize (RMHP)

Funded by Lafarge, the RMHP is managed by the American Architectural Foundation (AAF) and the French Heritage Society (FHS).


Each year, it names a Fellow, alternating between a French or American architect, who is selected based on his or her professional qualities, body of work and capacity to become a leader in the profession. Over six months, the fellow receives a $25,000 budget to travel, attend conferences, plan visits and meet with top architects, engineers and professionals working in the field of preservation.


American architect Malcolm Woollen was selected as the 2015 Fellow for his study on the ways in which French landscapers introduce an awareness of history into everyday places, such as parks, highway rest areas and pedestrian corridors.

Building better cities


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