Founded by Jacob Celnikier and Pascal Grabli, Celnikier & Grabli Architects has been defending a generous and sensitive idea of architecture since 2005, in fields that are often considered difficult and restrictive.

Associated Architect

He graduated in 1996 from the Paris-Belleville School of Architecture and spent ten years working alongside Michel Rémon, architect. The creation of the agency in 2005 perpetuates and enriches this intellectual heritage, for which rigour and invention, emotion and responsibility are the basis of the architect's mission.

Associated Architec

After graduating from the École Spéciale d'Architecture in 1993, he set up his first agency and for 10 years developed a concrete and pragmatic vision of architecture based on dialogue and listening to all those involved in the project and its construction

Based on a rigorous sense of analysis and transparency, the agency now has a staff of fifteen and has met with great success, particularly in the fields of scientific and hospital facilities.

Jacob Celnikier worked for ten years for the architect Michel Rémon and as many years for Pascal Grabli in his own office, which he founded directly after graduating from the École Spéciale d'Architecture. The two men then decided to start their own office in 2005, with a common desire to change their way of working and to open up to new perspectives.

Sharing a calm temperament, a great rigour in the analysis of projects and a certain sensitivity in terms of space and of light along with what makes up urban space and what should be the practice of the discipline today, the two architects nevertheless evolved in very different fields. While Pascal Grabli had worked mainly on private housing and tertiary building projects, Jacob Celnikier worked mainly on public projects in the fields of hospitals and scientific facilities. The two men vigorously resist being categorised, or confining themselves to a particular field, as they defend a practice of architecture that does not limit itself to any particular sector.


“Over the years, we have developed a method, a work process that allows us to dissect any type of project, in any field,” says Pascal Grabli. It is the structure of commissions in France that encourages specialisation... But like all architects, we have been trained to analyse any problem, to seek out information, to produce analyses and to respond to them. This is what our profession is all about, whatever the field. While the agency is now widely recognised in the scientific and hospital sectors—thanks in particular to projects such as the Neuroscience Institute in Saclay (with Dietmar Feichtinger Architects), the Infrastructure for Climate and Environmental Sciences, also in Saint-Aubin, the Centre for Integrative Biology in Strasbourg, which received the Clé d'Or award in 2015, or the new building for the Sainte-Périne hospital in Paris (with Lazo & Mure architects)—its know-how is also expressed in other areas. Among these, collective housing with the construction of an astonishing 240-room boarding school for the Cerny high school and sports with, in particular, the restructuring of the emblematic Yves-du-Manoir Stadium, including the pitches and the grandstand building for the Olympic hockey events for Paris 2024. This diversity of projects is now a great strength for the agency and proves the effectiveness of its members' methods, whatever the field. 

“When we start a new project," explains Jacob Celnikier, "we have no idea what form it will take, what material will be used, etc. All the obvious things are always there and all the obvious things are questioned each time, and then we have a long analysis phase with an expert in the field who advises us so that we get it right as quickly as possible”.

It is a process that allows them to grasp more effectively the issues and problems posed by subjects that are often extremely specialised, to avoid omissions and to arrive more quickly at what constitutes the core of their profession, namely to create pleasant places to live, particularly in the most technically restrictive areas. For this is what they believe their mission is all about: not to consider that there are subjects that fall under the heading of architecture on the one hand, and others that fall under the heading of logistics on the other. “Our greatest wish”, say the two men in unison, “is to place architecture everywhere, to create surprise where none is expected, to succeed in moving those who use the places we design, whatever the field”.


To achieve this, they can count on an element that has become their trademark: transparency. Both deeply rationalist, Jacob Celnikier and Pascal Grabli make it a point of honour to maintain perfectly frank relations with their collaborators, as well as with the clients of their projects. “The act of design does not have to be something obscure", explains Pascal Grabli, “it is a constructed, shared reasoning, nourished by the proposals and amendments of each of our employees, who take ownership of the project”. This concern for transparency is also reflected in the interior architecture of their premises on Boulevard de Ménilmontant in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. There are no partitions to compartmentalise the agency, which at once avoids forms of isolation, maintaining this concern for permanent openness and encouraging a form of horizontality in the organisation of the teams, which change according to the projects and their requirements.

Adrien Pontet, archiSTORM n°92 - sept-oct 2018