ENSAD Art School, Nancy (FR)

The École Nationale Supérieure d’Art et Design (ENSAD Art School) is part of the new ARTEM University campus – the largest new university complex in France – where the disciplines of Art, Technology and Management are brought together in a cohesive urban composition. Guided by the campus master plan, inspired by the geometry of the site and its specific urban position, the Art School occupies the northern edge of the university campus in an iconic complex of two separate buildings.
The four-story, parallelepiped Vauban building, and the five-story, polyhedron ›Signature building‹, are connected by two glass structures forming an inner courtyard. The Vauban building houses the studios, workshops, and a two-story high studio for video and photography. The administrative offices, study rooms, and spacious exhibition areas are situated in the signature building. The glazed two-story entrance hall connects the two wings. The partly elevated transverse auditorium on the west side defines an inner courtyard and provides a connection to the campus park behind.
In contrast to the very colorful buildings of the campus, the building envelope of the Vauban building is clad in dark grey finishes, with curtains in the large windows providing touches of color. The large projecting bay windows lend plasticity to the façade and bring northern light into the studios. The “signature building” is facetted like a crystal and has a shell made from trapezoidal perforated anodized aluminium.
Although from outside it looks very compact, the interior of the art school is spacious and generous. Raw materials – exposed concrete, white surfaces, crude steel, wood, expanded metal or wood wool panels for sound absorption – in well-lit rooms create a solid, stimulating backdrop for artistic work.

Client: Communauté Grand Nancy (Solorem)
Location: F-54000 Nancy, 84 rue Blandan
Architecture: Dietrich | Untertrifaller with Christian Zoméno
Project management: Andreas Laimer
Competition: 2010
Construction: 2013-2016
Area: 8,590 m²
Capacity: 320 students

structural engineering, HAVCR, building physics, electronics: Artelia, Schiltigheim / acoustics: Venathec, Nancy / costs: Hubert Bessère, Toul /// photos: © Bruno Klomfar