The School of Architecture in Nantes is designed by Lacaton & Vassal in 2009. With this building, the office formulates a strong opinion on architecture education as well on what type of space it requires. The building consists of a cluster of vertical volumes which have an assigned use and an indoor climate, encompassed by a lightweight skin of corrugated polycarbonate sheets. In between these volumes, a network of ‘remaining’, interlocking spaces emerges. These spaces can be claimed for more informal, temporary uses and offer surprising diagonal views across the complex. What we found especially interesting, apart from the complexity and spatial generosity of the design, is the choice of materials and the way they are applied. As often in their projects, Lacaton & Vassal opted for standardised materials, used in a very straight-forward way. Cable trays, rain pipes, airco units etc. are not covered with cardboard panels but mounted in sight, neatly organised against walls and ceilings and thereby creating a playful, original aesthetic language.

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