Author(s): ROUSSEAU Romain Rousseau, GUTH Sabine
Contributor: ENSA Nantes


The aim of project studio Borderline /le projet architectural comme posture critique et recherche en action (architectural project as a critical posture and research in action) consists in offering Master students a taste and the means for an emancipation necessary to the committed practice of a project. This training aims at contributing to the elaboration of a criticism of the conditioning of players and the project logics at work in the various territories that make up our living conditions, by conceiving projects capable of grasping and going beyond such conditioning.

Considering that the critical project is only operative in its confrontation to an acquired knowledge, the work basis for our students consists in testing a constituted thought: their master thesis. The thinking work of a theoretical work towards a project proposal induces in fact an alteration of the model and reference and opens the possibility of a personal positioning.

The studio approach of the project is resolutely transdisciplinary and iterative. It rests on a triple protocol of interrogation:

  1. The frontier as a method allowing the de centring of the eye, or how to be at the borderline to work with others, envisaging the border as a journey between physical and imagined spaces, of between-two, a place of passage and singular occasion to produce knowledge.
  2. Thinking the inconceived or being interested in situations that are seemingly neglected or at the centre of the construction of the city, blind spots of architecture, urban planning and landscape, “off-camera” from the frame of “large” visible public commission.
  3. Disobey limits or question the legal frameworks to return to the spirit of the law, inventing ruses and diversions, playing on ambiguity: all necessary when one tools with reduced means and one works on putting back at the heart of the players’ processes, know-how, ideas that are usually either absent or enjoy little visibility.

The critical work carried out in Borderline on the Nantes territory displaces the knowledge and experience of the students, who are future architects. The alteration then enrichment of a thought that is constructed and problematized by the apprehension of a banal already-there devoid of scholarly or institutional attribute, ultimately forces to “do with”, to potter about, to abruptly question what could be expressed as an expert opinion. It then shows that beyond agreed glances and planning reflexes, “everyday territories” are everywhere.

Programme : Déplacer les savoir-faire et les acquis