École Nationale Supérieure de Paysage Versailles/Marseille (ENSP)
The ENSP’s area of specialisation is in project-orientated design teaching in studios. Emphasis is placed on the physical, geographical and human uses of the landscape. We focus attention on a site’s inherent opportunities, its surface topography and hydrology as well as its invisible relationships such as its dialogue with history. We strive to develop our thinking by understanding the ‘sense of place’, and this approach is fundamental to our ethos as we conceptualise and select projects. The work focuses on large-scale contemporary landscape issues, such as suburban expansion themes, agrarian transformation in rural and sub-rural areas as well as a project-orientated understanding of the agricultural and natural dynamics in France’s “cantons” (similar to districts). At the ENSP, 50% of our teaching is design-orientated, and the other 50% deals with four major multi-disciplinary fields: social sciences; ecological sciences/landscape management; technology and arts.
Our unique knowledge of the speed of transformation in agrarian landscapes has emerged as one of the major subject areas that ENSP Versailles will contribute to the European Master in Landscape Architecture (EMiLA). This teaching takes part during a semester in M1 and in a larger context in the first semester of M2. Here, we examine innovative research by design, focusing on large-scale natural and agrarian countryside in transformation due to future landscape challenges such as climate change, ageing and population decrease, energy landscape or biodiversity demands on landscapes. The design through research looks for new concepts such as Prof. Gilles Clement’s proposition of a ‘Manifeste pour le Tiers paysage’. The ENSP is the only school in France to have a research laboratory with 15 multi-disciplinary researchers working on “landscape dynamics” and “suburban agriculture” themes. The contribution to EMiLA will be on the iterative dialogue between students at the master’s level and research topics opened up through the dialogue with the other partners in EMiLA.