Odile Decq

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Odile Decq
Odile Decq.jpg
Decq at GSAPP
Born1955 (age 67–68)
Laval, France
PracticeStudio Odile Decq

Odile Decq (born 1955) is a French architect, urban planner and academic. She is the founder of the Paris firm, Studio Odile Decq[1] and the architecture school, Confluence Institute.[2] Decq is known for her self-described goth appearance and style.[3]


In the 1970s, Odile Decq first entered École Régionale d'Architecture de Rennes. She was told by the first year director that she would never become an architect because she did not possess the right spirit. She completed two years at Rennes, then moved to Paris, where she enrolled at La Villette (formerly called UP6). Because of the Protests of 1968, Decq spent a lot of time on strike, instead of in class.

In order to finance her education, she began to work for French writer, architect, and urban planner Philippe Boudon. Boudon was writing about theory of architecture at that time, and was interested in Decq because of her studies in literature and linguistics. Decq began reading for Boudon, and later went on writing for him. After four years, Decq resigned from her job with Boudon to pursue her diploma.

She graduated in 1978 from École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Paris-La Villette with a diploma in urban planning from the Paris Institute of Political Studies in 1979.


Decq opened her own firm in 1979. Her future partner in the firm and in life, Benoît Cornette, was studying medicine at the time. In 1985 Cornette earned a degree in architecture and the couple established the architecture firm ODBC.[4] The buildings they completed for the Banque Populaire de l’Ouest in Rennes with Peter Rice in 1990 brought them numerous awards and international recognition. It was the first metal-construction office building in France.[4]

Model building is especially important to her process. Decq and Benoît would create models with modular parts that could be moved in order to test the feasibility of various configurations.[4]

Decq has stated that her philosophy on architecture is that a building " has to be a place where people can move, live in good conditions, forget the hardness of the life outside, so it has to have a kind of humanistic approach..."[5]

She has "been faithful to her fighting attitude while diversifying and radicalizing her research."[6] Being awarded the Golden Lion of Architecture during the Venice Biennale in 1996 acknowledged her early and unusual career. Other than just a style, an attitude or a process, Odile Decq’s work materializes a complete universe that embraces urban planning, architecture, design and art. Her multidisciplinary approach was recently recognized with the Jane Drew Prize in 2016, and Architizer’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.[6]

Since 1992, Odile Decq has been a professor at the École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris where she was elected head of the Department of Architecture in 2007. She left in 2012 and subsequently designed and opened her own school, Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture, in Lyon, France.[7] in 2014. Odile Decq co-founded and led the school along with architect Matteo Cainer.[8] She describes her approach to education as forcing students to take a strong position to foster their independence and ability to "express themselves strongly and very clearly."[9]

In 1998 Cornette died in a car accident at the age of 45. Decq continued to work under the firm ODBC, but in 2013 changed the name to Studio Odile Decq. The name change was prompted by her late husband still being credited with buildings that were solely her design.[10] Despite her husband's death, Decq began experimenting with her designs and ideas even more and trying to find herself again, and soon producing some of her most well-known and successful designs including the Banque Populaire de l'Ouest in Rennes, the Golden Lion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, and the Macro Museum in Rome. Her projects have grown and continue to grow larger in size, complexity, and daring.[11]

Notable works[edit]

Awards and honors[12][edit]

  • 1986 – Albums of young architects, with Benoît Cornette
  • 1990 – Nominated for Prix de l’Équerre d’Argent
  • 1990 – Architecture and Working Space Award - AMO
  • 1990 – Premier Award, Ninth International Prize for Architecture, London 1990
  • 1991 – Special Mention – the Iritecna of Europe Award – Milan, Italy
  • 1991 – Regional Award – Rennes, France
  • 1991 – International Award of Architecture Andrea Palladio
  • 1992 – Oscar du Design, Le Nouvel Economiste, Paris
  • 1996 – Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale of Architecture, with Benoît Cornette
  • 1996 – Best Steel Construction Awards – Paris, France – Banque Popularie de l’Ouest
  • 1999 – Benedictus Awards – Washington, USA – University of Nantes
  • 2001 – Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, France
  • 2003 – Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honor, France
  • 2005 – Passeport Artiste Sans Frontière – AFAA Paris, France
  • 2006 – International Architecture Awards – Chicago Athenaeum – L. Museum
  • 2007 – International Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects, RIBA
  • 2007 – Show Boats International Awards – Monaco – Esense Wally 143’
  • 2008 – World Architecture Community Awards – Sea Passenger Terminal in Tanger
  • 2008 – World Architecture Community Awards – Macro
  • 2008 – Culture World Architecture Festival – Barcelona – Greenland Pavilion
  • 2008 – Athenaeum International Architecture Award – GL Events HQ
  • 2009 – MIPIM AR Future Project Award – GL Events HQ
  • 2010 – Premio di Architettura Ance Catania – Macro
  • 2010 – Athenaeum International Architecture Award – Tangier Med Sea Passenger Terminal
  • 2012 – Paris Shop & Design Award – Cafes, Restaurants – Phantom
  • 2012 – Ecola Award – Phantom
  • 2013 – Women in Architecture Prize, ARVHA
  • 2013 – MAISON&OBJET Designer of the Year
  • 2013 – Athenaeum International Architecture Award – Phantom
  • 2014 – Médaille de Vermeil et d’Honneur de l’Académie d’Architecture
  • 2014 – Dedalo Minosse Special Prize – Marco
  • 2015 – Targhe d’Oro / Gold Plaque – Unione Italiana Disegno
  • 2015 – Nanjing Municipal Architecture Prize – Tangshan Museum
  • 2015 – Jiangsu Provincial Architecture Award – Tangshan Museum
  • 2015 – Doctorate honoris causa in architecture, Université Laval
  • 2015 – Blueprint Award – Saint-Ange Residence – Best Non-public Use Residential Project
  • 2016 – National Wood Construction Prize – Saint-Ange Residence
  • 2016 – Jane Drew Prize, Architects' Journal
  • 2016 – Athenaeum International Architecture Award – Tangshan Museum
  • 2017 – NYCXDesign Award – Soleil Noir – Best Suspension Lamp
  • 2017 – Architizer A+Awards — Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2018 - European Cultural Centre Architecture Award, Venice


  1. ^ Studio Odile Decq
  2. ^ Confluence Institute
  3. ^ Gillier, Aurélien. "Interview: Odile Decq on Risk-Taking, Rule Bending, and Gender Constraints". Pinup Magazine. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b c The architect : women in contemporary architecture. Toy, Maggie, Pran, Peter C. New York, NY: Watson-Guptill Publications. 2001. ISBN 0823016528. OCLC 46949037.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ Schires, Megan (3 May 2019). "The Story Behind Odile Decq's Adventurous Architecture". ArchDaily. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  6. ^ a b Koubaiti, Anas; Dotter, Stefan. "ODILE DECQ". Whitelies Magazine. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  7. ^ Quirk, Vanessa (24 February 2014). "Odile Decq to Launch A New Kind of Architecture Institute: 'Confluence'". ArchDaily. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  8. ^ Davidson, Cynthia (Winter 2014). "A Conversation with Odile Decq". LOG (New York, N.Y.: 2003). 30: 39–45.
  9. ^ Comberg, Ella (9 June 2018). "Odile Decq on the Importance of Bold Design and Why "Architecture Is Still a Fight"". ArchDaily. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  10. ^ Baillieu, Amanda (15 March 2016). ""Radical goth" Odlie Deqc is challenging archtiectural education in France". Dezeen. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  11. ^ Black Is a Hard Drug: ODILE DECQ - 032c. https://032c.com/black-is-a-hard-drug-odile-decq. Accessed 26 Apr. 2021.
  12. ^ "awards : Studio Odile Decq". Studio Odile Decq. 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2019.

External links[edit]

Davidson, Cynthia C, and Odile Decq. “A Conversation with Odile Decq.” Log, no. 32 (January 1, 2014): 39–45. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bvh&AN=721730&site=ehost-live.

Foges, Chris. “A Steely Gaze: Odile Decq Draws from Lyon’s Industrial Context to Project the Waterfront’s New Identity.” Architectural Record, Building types study n.948. Office buildings, 202, no. 7 (July 1, 2014): 65–71. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bvh&AN=716082&site=ehost-live.

Schwitalla, Ursula,, Itsuko Hasegawa, Nili Portugali, Donna Blagg, Alison Kirkland, and Steven Lindberg. Women in Architecture: Past, Present, and Future. Berlin: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2021.