A founding member of the Gustave Eiffel University, the École d’architecture de la ville & des territoires is a national school of architecture (Ensa), under the supervision of the Ministries of Culture and Higher Education, Research and Innovation.
Our School was born out of the commitment of the whole team to the development of a new education. This stems from the definition we wish to give to the words ‘architect’ and ‘architecture’. Throughout the course, the students learn that the design of a building also consists of the development of a project for the transformation of the environment.
Thus, the discovery of the act of building is always intimately linked to the understanding of territories and their uses. To transmit this understanding to our students, we have designed an original programme and adapted teaching methods so that our future graduates have the skills, openness and commitment that the profession requires today. Architecture remains the art of constructing buildings in a constantly changing environment.
Designed by architect Bernard Tschumi, our building offers a quality of space conducive to both concentration and exchange. Between the two blocks that house the administration on one side and the workshops and classrooms on the other, the space opens onto a large forum where numerous educational and outreach events take place: the exhibition areas, the modular amphitheatre, the corridors and the cafeteria, a place of conviviality. The School has a capacity of approximately 650 students, which makes it a human-sized establishment.
The School’s location, in the heart of the Parisian metropolis, allows students to work in a privileged area of observation, which covers all contemporary urban issues, to awaken daily awareness of a changing world and to nourish a topical reflection on the very purpose of architectural practice today.
Our School considers the perimeter of the objects of architecture, beyond buildings alone.
Since its creation in 1998, it has defined itself as «a school of architecture in the broadest possible sense, which willingly synthesises urban planning, architecture, landscape, road- layout, support systems, level management and of course networks.” 1.
This “synthesis”, advocated following the disciplinary and sectoral compartmentalisation that hardened in the twentieth century, is finally in line with the definition of architecture established by Alberti and which prevailed until the eighteenth century.
In concrete terms, we believe that the objects that landscape architects, engineers or surveyors deal with must also be -once again- those of architects.
Thus, we consider that levelling, the parcelling out of land, water management, the layout and dimensioning of roads, etc., should also be taught in a school of urban and territorial architecture.
Similarly, we affirm that construction is a field that contributes to the very definition of architecture. There are great architectural achievements to which construction and the use of certain techniques give their singular expression.
From a technical point of view, we believe that architects must be aware of the orders of magnitude in terms of dimensioning, of the main building systems, and that they also should master the basics of ordinary construction. It is a matter of all the students being able, one day, to discuss and exchange with an engineer and be able to suggest solutions.
City & Territories
Today, the majority of the world’s populations live in cities. The urban space is inexorably developing, always producing new issues and contradictions.
Learning about the city means studying it from all angles: as a productive force, a consumer good, a place of memory, a space for mixing and partitioning, an urban form, a political space…
Our school is interested in everything that makes up the city, as well as in all its excesses. We believe that we must stop looking at the city as an ideal model for territories, to be able to question the inversion of relationships that can characterise the metropolitan state.
In the urban condition the peripheries exist by themselves with such intensity and scale that they have acquired an autonomy in relation to the city centres: infinite peripheries of peripheries, uncomfortable to think about for architects because they seem to dissolve -in their great extent, their weak intensity, and their uncertain hierarchical systems- the architectural objects themselves.
How can architecture today survive the metropolitan condition, the diffuse city or the suburban dislocation and contribute to giving them meaning? The territory is no longer a geographical perimeter. It is also the product of all the political, social, cultural and legal bodies that have shaped it. Whatever its nature, whether it is a plot of land or a motorway junction, it is the field of investigation and action of future architects.
By encouraging our students to be intelligent about territories, we better prepare them to respond to the complexity of contemporary issues.
One of the School’s assets is its membership, since 1st January 2020, as a component institution, of the brand new Université Gustave Eiffel, which has an international vocation and is of a new kind. Multidisciplinary and national, with regional offices in Aix-Marseille, Nantes, Lille, Lyon and Paris, this university is the first such institution to bring together a research organisation, a school of architecture and three engineering schools.
The links thus forged with the various components of the university, but also with the other higher education establishments on the Cité Descartes campus (École des Ponts ParisTech, École d’urbanisme de Paris) and with the network of ENSAs, allow for the broadening and confrontation of fields of knowledge in terms of both teaching and research, engaging the school in an exceptional scientific and intellectual dynamic.
Moreover, studying in the new town area, which is itself undergoing rapid change and is the bearer of all contemporary urban and environmental problems, is conducive to awakening in students the daily awareness of a world in constant evolution, and to nourish a topical reflection on the very purpose of architectural practice today.
The school has been a partner in the I-SITE FUTURE initiative of excellence since February 2017. This scientific and institutional project is built with partners from the Université Gustave Eiffel and the École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC). The project focuses on the cities of tomorrow, deployed along three axes:
• The safe and resilient city
• The resource-efficient city
• The digital city at the service of citizens
Documents to download
As part of the overhaul of its visual identity, which began in 2015, the École d’architecture de la ville & des territoires Paris-Est commissioned photographer Myr Muratet to produce a photographic report on the school and its campus. All the images presented in this publication were taken between May and July 2015.