During Winter 2019, Taubman College partnered with VINCI Construction, a leading French-based construction company, on a master’s-level studio dedicated to advancing new technologies related to construction and the logistics of material assembly. The technology exploration allows for considerations that may result in higher construction assembly precision; faster and predictable build times; and more efficient material use.
VINCI Construction is a subsidiary of the VINCI Group, a global concession-and-construction player that employs more than 194,400 people in about 100 countries. Their strong engineering and project-management capabilities enable them to deploy comprehensive and modular solutions for complex projects.
In the studio, taught by Clément Blanchet, principal at Clément Blanchet Architecture, and Jono Bentley Sturt, lecturer in architecture, students developed sophisticated architectural systems, factoring in proportion, scale, site, material, and human abilities. Students studied the work of important canonical architects such as Le Corbusier, visiting these sites and current VINCI construction sites in France. By examining both the history and the current state of construction in Europe and the United States, students formulated the business, construction, and logistics landscape they need to consider in order to design their proposed architectural systems.
Blanchet, a visiting associate professor at Taubman College, brings international design expertise to the architecture program, as well as industry connections. His firm was selected as the winner of an international competition for the design of a new cultural center to be located outside of Paris. Named Circus³, the facility features a unique tensile roof evocative of a circus pavilion, and will house a 1,500-seat theater for cultural performances and events. He also is designing a new research and development center for multinational retailer Carrefour in the heart of the French Silicon Valley.
“Studio members engaged in a deep study of material systems with the capacity for full-scale production" said Sturt. "Students walked away from this course having dealt firsthand with the real world challenges of producing architecture for the world’s increasingly populous urban centers, working alongside one of the largest global players in the construction industry.”