Jean-Philippe Vassal graduated as an architect from the École d’Architecture de Bordeaux in 1980. From 1980 to 1985 he worked as an architect and urbanist in Niger in West Africa.
Together with Anne Lacaton, (who also graduated from the École d’Architecture de Bordeaux in 1980) he opened the office Lacaton&Vassal in 1987.
Vassal taught at the École d’Architecture de Bordeaux from 1992 to 1999 and from 2002-2006 at the École d’Architecture de Versailles. He was a guest professor at the Peter Behrens Fachhochschule in Düsseldorf (2005), at the EPFL Lausanne (2010-11), at the Pavillon Neuflize OBC in Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013-2014) and at University of Sassari, Alghero in 2014. Between 2007 and 2011 he was a guest professor at the TU Berlin. Since 2012 he is a professor at the UDK in Berlin.