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Culture and commercial architecture: two domains that are often depicted as contradictory. Indeed, commerce is associated with utilitarian functionalism, immediacy, playing it safe, and an impoverished style. Whilst culture is associated with beauty, creativity and a disinterested ideal.
Naturally, this opposition is not systematic, and there are many high quality examples of their coexistence. However, such examples remain a rarity. The end goal of the Prix Versailles is to alter this state of affairs by merging these opposites together.
This perceived contradiction is emblematic of a stage in the modern era that is on the brink of becoming outdated. The new period into which we are entering demands quality in all things: culture needs to break out of its ivory tower, without overlooking commercial aspects. Conversely, commerce must progressively adopt the goals of environmentalism, quality, creativity and innovation. Where we saw disjunction before, today’s era calls for conjunction.
The Prix recognizes the most remarkable structures, in terms of both interior and exterior architecture. Because the Prix is associated with Versailles, we want that world renowned symbol of beauty and elegance to serve not as a model but as a beacon or impetus for quality commercial architecture, today and tomorrow.