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Author(s): Maude ANTOINE, Alice LHOSTE, Marion MITTLER et Fanny VIDAL
Contributor: ENSA Toulouse

The itinerant architecture studio

The Atelier d’Architecture Itinérant is a mobile laboratory within which explorer-architects go out to encounter the territory and its inhabitants to understand moments and occasions for action in architecture. Started and supervised by instructors Joanne Pouzenc and Daniel Estevez, the Studio was led by four students at the School of Architecture of Toulouse. Maude Antoine, Alice Lhoste, Marion Mittler et Fanny Vidal decided to transform their degree project into an initiatory voyage.

For its first iteration, the Atelier d’Architecture Itinérant went out on the roads between Toulouse and Berlin for a productive exploration in rural environments, in villages often neglected by architecture and urban planning professionals. The Studio engaged in conversations about architecture. It proposed a reflection on shaping public space by placing its users at the core of the project process.

The mobile studio stopped in 4 villages between Toulouse and Berlin: Naucelles (Cantal), Commenailles (Jura), Ungersheim (Alsace), and Schönau (Schwarzwald, Germany). It interpreted village squares, using accounts from the residents and narration as conceptual tools. The exploration of rural territories was conducted almost scientifically; at each stage, the explorers repeated and adapted the investigation and action protocols. In the public space, the caravan-studio became a call signal naturally inviting curiosity.

The explorers and residents met and questioned the past, current, and desired uses of their main square. Together, they designed and then built projects that responded to these reflection, with minimal resources. The creations were constructed with special attention to the “already existing”, enhancing human and material resources.

The Atelier d’Architecture Itinérant is an educational experiment that can be read in multiple ways: by creating deliberate confusion between learner and instructor, the players in the project (including the residents) exchange roles, in turn becoming carriers and receivers of knowledge. The emancipating educational goal of the mobile studio led to profound reflection about the status of the architect based on a denial of an architect/client dichotomy. The studio experience revealed a diversification of architectural practices: the architect is at times mediator, sociologist, narrator, and worker. The architect borrows tools from the other sciences to refine her/his own practice, in all humility.

Programme : Itinerant Laboratory