“I was built on fear”

“I was built on fear”

Maintenance“I wouldn’t have arrived there if…” “Le Monde” questions a personality about a decisive moment in his life. This week, the architect looks back on his solitary childhood during which his anxiety acted on him like a motor, forging the one who today advocates popular values.

Rudy Ricciotti, 69, is the architect of the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MuCEM) in Marseille. Winner of the Grand Prix National de l’Architecture in 2006, he also designed the Pavillon Noir auditorium in Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône), the Jean-Cocteau Museum in Menton (Alpes-Maritimes ), and has just delivered the 19M, the Manufacture de la mode Chanel, located Porte d’Aubervilliers, in Paris. Author of several books, his latest book is entitled Legionary manifesto. 88 minute-steps in the service of democracy (NBE Publishing, 2021).

I wouldn’t have come here if…

…if I hadn’t had a decisive encounter in the person of Mr. Jean, an accountant in a shipping company, a communist who gave me free math lessons in the kitchen of his public housing project. He gave me messages that changed my life.

What messages did he give you?

I was then living in the Camargue, in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône [Bouches-du-Rhône], I must have been 12 years old and I was mediocre in everything. I had already repeated my CM2, I was programmed for failure. I had no self-esteem, I felt non-existent. Mr. Jean was a very classy man, strict in his appearance. I was going to see him at 6 am before going to college. I remember the oilcloth on the kitchen table, the hanging lamp, the refrigerator that was making a terrible racket, the door of which he opened at regular intervals to help himself to a glass of Banga.

One day, when I wasn’t wide awake, with cat’s eyes, he said this sentence to me which amazed me: “Rudy, geometry is the art of reasoning correctly on false figures. » This assertion struck me like a bullet passing through my cranium in slow motion, a real shock. I immediately deduced that everything I saw was not the truth, and this triggered in me a paranoia and an all-out agnosticism, which gave me the energy necessary to face my future as an adult.

Mr. Jean added a second sentence: “Algebra is like knotted rope. When you go up, before moving your hands, you had better secure your base with your feet, otherwise you will fall. This advice plunged me into an anxiety that never really left me and made me a terribly intuitive person. I built myself on fear, and that fear acted as a motor. I became first in the class in a few months.

Your parents were both of Italian origin, your four grandparents came to France in the 1920s to look for work. What education did you receive?

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