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Author(s): O. Balaÿ, M. Bonnevie, A. Dos Santos, N. Dubus, K. Lapray, R. Mouterde, P. Rollet
Contributor: ENSA Grenoble & ENSA Lyon

Experimenting in full scale

Why build and experiment during architecture studies? A frighteningly opportune question? In our globalised, hyper-technological society shaken by crises and extremely violent confrontations, what is architecture for the masses? Do we have a sense of how it becomes part of our experience? And how to teach it?

Attempt to rigorously formalise environmental and experimental education about housing of the future designed for human happiness based not on progress but on the transformation of existing things.

Context and questions

Thus, to produce this professional future, it seems urgent that we change our teaching and describe architecture differently before producing for the most destitute: What do we know about how people choose their life? What matter and materials can be used to achieve the envisioned performance levels while helping to create stimulating environments that are appropriate to uses? What symbolic presence and climate role should biodiversity play in a built environment? How should housing be proposed to align with movements and perceptions of other phenomena in the inhabited world? What construction systems and what construction site organisational structures are best suited to building these complex assemblies while still being economically compatible with the resources of the masses?


The architects of the future will have learned the interdisciplinary practice of the trade and the relativism of standards; they will have a lot of information provided through research and studies, they will have learned to take decisions to build with the distancing allowed by full scale experiments, to take decisions to make our existing ecosystems habitable, without forgetting animals, plants, and other organisms, which raises questions of aesthetics linked to perceptions, materials, and construction costs. They will have learned that presenting concepts of public and private space by separating them is obsolete, that living cannot be “happiness” if technical and perceptive explanations are not true at the same time, and that architecture is a method starting from the moment it takes an interest in people.

Programme : The economic and environmentally responsible architecture in architecture schools