The École d’Architecture de la Ville et des Territoires, located to the east of Paris in the new city of Marne-laVallée, will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary. It is the product of the commitment of a team of teachers to a pioneering instructional project which views architecture as the management of transformations of the environment and built contexts, at the interface between city planning, landscaping and engineering.
Our school originated in a commitment from all the staff to develop a new kind of teaching. Our teaching derives from the definition we want to give to the words "architect" and "architecture". Throughout their studies, the architectural students learn that designing a building also involves developing a project to transform the environment.
So discovering the act of building is always closely linked to understanding local areas and their functions. To transit these ideas to our students, we have designed an original programme and adapted teaching methods so that our graduates will have the skills, the openness and the commitment that this profession needs today. Architecture remains the art of building in a perpetually changing environment. Bernard Tschumi provide a space that encourages concentration and exchanges. Two buildings units housing the administration on one side and the classrooms and studios on the other side are organized around a large forum where many educational and public events take place: exhibition areas, two amphitheatres, passageways and a cafeteria - a place to meet.
The school maintains a human scale with it’s capacity of around 700 students, ensuring it keeps a human dimension.
At our school, we take into account the surrounding environment of architectural objects, in addition to the buildings themselves. Since the school was founded in 1998, its role has been defined as "an architecture school in the widest possible sense,
aiming to combine urban planning, architecture, landscaping, roadways, retaining structures, the management of land levels and, of course, utilities and networks"1.
We advocate such a "synthesis" after the separation into disciplines and sectorization of the 20th century, returning to Alberti’s definition of architecture which
was prevalent until the 18th century. In concrete terms, we believe that the concerns of
landscapers, engineers or surveyors should - once more be the concerns of architects.
As a result, we think that levelling, land division, water management, road planning etc. should also be taught in an urban & territorial architecture school.
Similarly, we see construction as an area that contributes to the very definition of architecture.
Some important architectural achievements derive their unique architectural expression from their construction method of from the use of certain
From a technical point of view, we think that architects should be familiar with the main constructive systems and orders of magnitude in terms of sizing and
should master basic building techniques. The aim is for all the students to be able to discuss and exchange views with an engineer and to be able to put forward
solutions in the future.
Cities & Territories
Today most of the world's population lives in cities. Urban areas are inexorably developing and producing new solutions, as well as new contradictions.
Learning about cities means studying all their aspects: a force of production, a consumer product, a site of remembrance, an area of blending and separation, an urban shape, a political space... At our school, we are interested in everything involved in the making of a city and its outward spread. We think
that one must stop seeing the city as an ideal model for territories in order to enable us to question the inversion of relationships that sometimes characterise the
The metropolitan condition is comprised of peripheral areas that exist by themselves with an intensity and dimension that have become autonomus from the city centres: infinite peripheral areas of peripheral areas - something discomforting for architects, since they seem to dissolve the architectural objects themselves by in their sprawl, their lack of intensity and their uncertain hierarchic system.
Today, how can architecture survive the metropolitan condition, urban sprawl or suburban dislocation and help give them meaning? A territory no longer constitutes a geographic perimeter: it is also the product of all the political, social, culture or legal authorities that have shaped it. Whatever its nature, a plot of land for a house or a motorway junction, this is the field of investigation and action of future architects.
By encouraging our students to grasp the full intelligence of territories, we prepare them to respond better to the complexity of contemporary issues.
One of the school's strong points is that it is part of the Cité Descartes Cluster, a centre of excellence selected by the Greater Paris Project as a metropolitan center dedicated to sustainable development.
The links set up with the different higher education establishments of the East Paris Community of Universities and Establishments (École des Ponts
ParisTech, École d’urbanisme de Paris, Université ParisEst Marne-la-Vallée, etc.) – East Paris Community of Universities and Establishments - leads to broadening
and confronting of different fields of knowledge, in terms of teaching and research and involves the school in an exceptional scientific and intellectual dynamic.
What's more, studying in a new town - which is itself in constant flux and is faced with all the contemporary urban and environmental issues, is a favorable situation
for awakening the student's daily awareness of a world that is constantly being transformed and for inspiring contemporary thinking about the very object of
architectural practic today
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As part of its redesigned visual identity, begun in 2015, the École d’architecture de la ville & des territoires in Marne-la-Vallée asked the photographer Myr Muratet to produce a photographic report on the school and the campus. All photos shown in this publication were taken between May and July 2015.