Dominique Coulon was born in the Jura region of eastern France in 1961 and studied architecture in Strasbourg and Paris-Belleville. After graduating in 1989, he set up his office in Strasbourg, in eastern France. In 1991, he won the Villa Medici Hors les Murs award and travelled in the United States, Latin America and Europe.
Refusing to be limited by a pre-established method, Dominique Coulon seeks to explore different ways of approaching projects in order to rethink spaces and uses.
He is spurred on by his reflexive and philosophical approach to design buildings that reflect spatial complexity. Considering this complexity is an approach that gives the architect the freedom to deal with the heterogeneity of the project’s data, to construct unity. In this way, using an intuitive process that greatly depends on the nature of the place, his architecture is always composed of dynamically imbricated elements.
The notions of sustainable development, respect for historical background, and the architect’s ecological responsibility are also among his concerns.
In parallel with his production, Dominique Coulon has also taught at the School of Architecture in Strasbourg since 2007. He founded the master’s degree in ‘Architecture and Complexity’, where his teaching method consists of crossing different disciplines in order to find a new dynamic in the approach to the architectural project.
With the desire to train people and make them capable of formulating an architectural thought both in theory and in practice, he has developed, within this master’s degree, a teaching method that is based on the propensity of the student to cultivate a personal vision.
While there is not really any method for inventing architecture, he does feel there is the possibility of guiding the student’s spirit towards discovery through various tools: architecture is not organized, it is discovered. Students must use their intuition and synthesise the data inherent in the project to overcome the passive posture of being taught, and instead develop an emergency strategy to assume the unpredictability of architecture as potential to create a project: complexity then becomes the driving force of the architectural project.
In 2008 the agency adopted the name of Dominique Coulon & associés. It mainly develops projects in the public sector, but also works on a range of programmes: libraries, hospital buildings, theatres, swimming pools, music schools, exhibition halls, school assembly halls, sports facilities, homes, university buildings, etc.