University building in France

31 port cities like London and Barcelona, the Île de Nantes was rezoned as a mixed-use neighborhood, sparking the development of residential and office buildings, as well as public spaces and civic amenities. Competition brief Three possible scenarios for the school were considered during the devel- opment of the brief. At the smallest scale, a surface area of 10,000 square meters would provide the minimum amount of space needed to accommo- date the school’s program. At an intermediary scale, these spaces could become more generous and flexible. And at the largest scale of about 14,000 square meters, the school could be further developed to provide meaningful public spaces. With the Nantes School of Architecture spear- heading the project as maître d’usage (patron user), the brief reflected the wishes and hopes that the students and faculty had for the new school at the intermediary scale of 12,500 square meters. Lacaton & Vassal’s experience, however, suggested that even the interme- diary scale would not be enough to accommodate the school’s program, let alone any additional public use, which they saw as the school’s true potential. With 9,000 square meters allocated for the educational space of 1,000 students, circulation, parking, and administrative spaces had to make do with only 3,500 square meters, leaving no room for future growth. Exercising their architectural judgment, Lacaton & Vassal responded by doubling the project’s surface area from 12,500 to 26,000 square meters. This move positions the production of space as the key principle to the development of the Nantes School of Architecture and provides a frame- work through which the building can be analyzed on three scales: as a structure, a university complex, and as an extension of the city.

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