Unité Pédagogique d’Architecture Nantes – Forgotten Labyrinth  for education


Above: Model for UPAN, showing the metal girder structure

École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture nantes (Nantes School of Architecture), formerly known as Unité Pédagogique d’Architecture Nantes (UPAN). Its former campus was on Massenet street in Nantes, which was demolished in recent years. The image for the previous school building is rare and seemingly lost. Fortunate for our studio, courtesy from Raymond Leduc from ENSA Nantes, who provided the images giving insights of this once learning space for architectural students.

In the early 70’s , the school’s faulty worked with students on the proposal of this new school , they discussed on the functional distribution of space and programs. The discussion resulted in a complex and labyrinth like space. According to Radical Pedagogy by Jean-Louis Violeau, here is the space inside: 

defined by metallic girders: the beams featured a geometry typical of the early 1970s, a framework with a 45° angulation, creating sections of 25 square meters—each intended for work groups of 25 students

An ideal liberalized spaces for students to work in groups, the complex space allows different ambiance of space to happen all at once. and the building’s design aim to challenge the conventional architectural education space, such as Beaux-art workshop. The building was inhabited by students rather than officially inaugurated.


Above: Exterior of UPAN, Massenet street

Above: Interior of UPAN, Massenet street



Radical Pedagogy for UPAN : http://radical-pedagogies.com/search-cases/e13-unite-pedagogique-paris-architecture-nantes/

All images:  courtesy of Raymond Leduc from ENSA Nantes


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