the Nantes school of architecture, by Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, with Florian de Pous.
This building has appeared in magazines everywhere, so I guess most of the people will be familiar with it. I’ll talk a little about it nevertheless.
I’ve done my masters’ internship at this practice, and it was quite an amazing experience. I’ve learnt a lot in those six months, and for such a small practice (about 15 people most of the time), it is an exciting and productive environment.
The basic idea behind every building Anne and Jean-Philippe conceive is to give the maximum space possible inside building regulation and budgetary constraints.
In the case of the Nantes architecture school, that meant almost doubling the habitable space demanded in the brief.
The building is a three-double height- storeys megastructure in concrete that occupies the whole block. Its skin is made of glass and polycarbonate, and works as an intermediate space. Inside this structure, we find a metallic substructure that organizes the classroom, exhibition halls, workspaces, library and cafeteria etc.
Here’s the whole description of the project, found in their website :
In building a structure of great capacity, the project design comes up with a scheme capable of creating a set of rich and diverse situations of interest to the School of architecture, the city and the landscape.
Three decks at nine, sixteen and twenty-two meters above the natural ground level, served by a gentle sloping external ramp, progressively put the ground surface of the city in touch with the sky overhead.
A lightweight steel structure redivides the height of these main levels. It enables the spaces devoted to the program to be generously installed and creates a system adapted to their extension and their future evolution.
Linked to the spaces of the program are ample, double-height volumes with non-attributed functions, the transparent facades of which harness the sun’s rays and vouchsafe the indoor climate. On the initiative of the students, teachers or visitors, these spaces become the locus of possible appropriations, events and programming. At any one moment the adaptation of the school to new interventions and its reconversion are possible.
Like a pedagogical tool, the project questions the program and the pratices of the school as much as the norms, technologies and its own process of elaboration.
Anne Lacaton & Jean-Philippe Vassal, architects
with Florian De Pous, Frédéric Hérard,
and Julien Callot, Lisa Schmidt-Colinet, Isidora Meier, architects collaborators
with Setec Bâtiment, concrete structure, systems, CESMA, metal structure, E2I, cost estimate, Jourdan, acoustics, Vulcanéo, fire security
school of architecture for 1 000 students
Surface area :
26 837 sqm floor area including :
- 15 150 sqm basic program
- 4 430 sqm extra space
- 5 305 sqm accessible
Other than that, they are extremely kind and passionate people, genuinely worried with the future inhabitants/users/occupiers of their buildings. They have an immense love and respect for people and for architecture.
I’ll write later about a book that pleased me very much last year, “architecture depends”, by jeremy till, and his views on architectural, which I find are very close to Lacaton and Vassal’s.
(by Victor Tsu)