state of grace

state of grace was created in early 2016 as the research arm of robert grace architecture. The series Rencontres 2016 was created in partnership with Columbia Global Centres Paris (the European Center for Columbia University).

The 2016 series of rencontres was themed – collaboration, where invited participants - architects, engineer, philosopher, musician, writer, photographer and collector-curator -  shared and discussed their experiences of collaboration. In 2017 the rencontres continued theme free.

The state of grace - rencontres (9 to date) were conducted in partnership with Columbia Global Centers, Reid Hall, Paris, two of the rencontres were held out of Paris, in Venice at the 2016 Architecture Biennale and in June 2017 in Los Angeles during the first iteration of FSA free school of architecture.

Parallel to the rencontres and relating more directly to practice about a self build project in the village of Esparon, in the south of France, which has been under construction for the past for the past ten years.

The des’Esparon talks expound on history, politics, depopulation of rural areas versus massive urbanisation, resource management - extending micro experiences to the macro issues facing architecture and the world. Further, the practice of making, has led to the formation of a nascent theory - architecture artisanale that stems from the immediacy of an architect physically building. These observations and realisations ensure this practice of architecture as continuing research, which filters into other projects of robert grace architecture's practice in Paris.


The Ecole Libre d’architecture May 2018 is a 3+ week event inviting free thought, dialogue, debate and dissent through exposure to a variety of practices in and around architecture. ELa as event and experience swerves around the body of the commodification of education moving beyond the idea of an institution. Freed of pedagogical hierarchies, students and teachers become researchers, gathering participation from as diverse a base as possible, relying on Peer to Peer exchange as central to the strength the Ecole’s success and future.

Liberated from the constraints of traditional architectural education and professional dictates the research is enabled by free and critical enquiry of practices and trajectories. It is via the freedom of unscripted learning and of the exploration of conditions of life the existential necessity of research is realised, leading to the possibility of transformative experience.

Through workshops and exposure to the city - from within and outside architecture ELa aims to offer a critical understanding of the world. Employing the human, built and natural resources of Paris - as facilitators of discourse and collaborations.

The culmination of ELa involves a shift from Paris to Venice for a free Assembly at the vernissage of the Biennale of architecture.

ELa is free - not for profit, no fees, no tuition, no salaries, no assessment with no qualifications offered and It is much more, an open forum for free thought, for shared ideas, true learning and discovery.

Inaugural session to run 1 - 24 May 2018

ELa was conceived following the experiences of FSA - The Free School of Architecture, founded in Los Angeles by architect and educator Peter Zellner, at its inaugural six-week programme in June and July 2017.

ELa the Ecole Libre d’architecture is run by and exists through state of grace (the research arm of robert grace architecture) , supported by the ELa advisors.

It is envisaged that the cohort of researchers in this the first Ecole Libre d’architecture will become the generators of further researches in its future iterations allowing for diverse and independent architectural voices to flower.