KARAVITZ

The KARAWITZ agency was established in Paris 10 years ago and is led by the architects Milena KARAnesheva from Bulgaria and the Austrian Mischa WITZmann, who originally met at the Vienna University of Technology. Their experiences in Austria and the application of their beliefs made them pioneers in Ecological design (bioclimatic architecture), and their agency is in effect the first one to have an ‘Ecologically Passive’ certified building, the bamboo house at Bessancourt, while they can also point to a passive renovation in their repertoire. After various partnerships with first Austrian and later Parisian agencies (Massimiliano Fuksas, Architecture Studio and others), the duo established KARAWITZ in Paris in 2006. Subsequently they won the VIZAR Prize for European Architecture and the Bulgarian Culture Ministry Prize, and inaugurated the first passively certified house. The Bamboo house attracted interest from various related media and earned them a nomination in France for the Prix de Première Oeuvre awarded by Le Moniteur. Cécile Duflot, then housing Minister, paid them a visit: the first time that a member of the French government had been curious enough to officially take a look at ecologically passive buildings.

The Agency then won the ‘Diapason’ competition in 2010, a cohousing project alongside the Canal de l’Ourcq in Paris. It was eventually taken over by OGIF in 2013, then delivered as 23 intermediate housing units in 2016. The Agency won the first BIM public tender launched by Expansiel-Valophis for 56 homes and businesses at Savigny-le-Temple in 2014. This project also won the Ademe program prize for circle of life analysis. The agency also won a commission for a participative habitat project at La Verrière in the Isle de France region (78), converting offices at Nanterre and Paris, and studying the redevelopment of a building in downtown Orleans into an intergenerational habitat.

Ten years after being founded, the agency is currently focused on four major topics of applied research:

  1. The construction of individual suburban habitats with the aim of creating them on tight and constrained parcels of land, integrating a contemporary style and bioclimatic architecture in the regional context.
  1. The issue of cohousing is considered to be a great enrichment in (town planning) the way we “Make towns” and is developed within the framework of three projects: Diapason Paris 19th, Guy Gagnier in Paris 20th, and currently Tintamare at La Verrière (78).
  1. The renovation and conversion of office spaces for new uses (Nanterre) using innovative energy performance solutions (rue des Jeûneurs Paris 2nd).
  1. The issue of contemporary architecture in places with a different climate and history than our own, such as Yaounde.