University building in France

30 The old school During the 1990s, it became clear that the original school of architecture, built in 1972, had become obsolete and too remote. With small studio spaces, crammed mezzanines, and an inconvenient circulation system, adaptations to the school’s academic program became increasingly difficult to accommodate. As a temporary solution, new programs were installed in trailers placed in an adjacent park, undercutting the school’s unified identity and energy. Located on the outskirts of Nantes, the school was also poorly connected to the city, which inadequately reflected the school’s pedagogical intention to broadcast architectural culture in the public (and urban) domain. With increasing pressure from the students and teachers, the administration decided against renovating their existing building in favor of constructing a new school. In the spring of 2002, the Nantes School of Architecture launched the official competition. Île de Nantes Located in the Northwest region of France, Nantes developed into the nation’s sixth largest city as an industrial port in the 19th century thanks to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the River Loire. The site chosen for the school is located on the Île de Nantes. Right in the city center, this island measures 337 hectares, making it considerably larger than the historical city center of Nantes. Formerly the site of the city’s port, the area remained mostly unused since the relocation of naval commerce to Saint- Nazaire in the 1970s, as development proceeded in the city’s periphery. Because of its central location, city officials identified Île de Nantes as a prime location for urban development and launched a major redevelop- ment scheme in 2001. Inspired by the rejuvenation of former European Nantes School of Architecture