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“Urban Mutations” showcases the work of architecture Nantes and Miami’s students

The Alliance francaise South Florida presents starting Tuesday “Urban Mutations,” an exhibition displaying the work of architecture students from Nantes and Miami, a fruit of the exchanges between the two cities’ schools of architecture.

Interview with Jean-Francois Lejeune, a professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Miami and one of the coordinators of the project.

  • Hello Mr. Lucas, could you please briefly introduce yourself?

I am an architect, born in Belgium and graduated from the University of Liege. I have been teaching at the University of Miami School of Architecture for over 20 years. I am a professor as well as the Program Director of Master Studies (Architecture and Urbanism) for two and a half years. I am also an architectural historian and have published numerous books and articles on the architecture and urbanism of Miami, urbanism in Italy between the wars, and also on Havana and Latin America.

  • In recent years, the University of Miami’s School of Architecture has supported an exchange with that of Nantes. Could you please explain the basis and principles behind this exchange?

The exchange was born in 2009 following contacts with Mr. Norbert Duffort, the Cultural attaché of the Consulate general of France in Miami, who offered to work with the National School of Architecture in Nantes. With the help of the Embassy of France, I visited the school in the fall of 2009 and Mr. Philippe Bataille, Director of the School of Nantes, visited in turn a few weeks later. The French students visited in 2010 and 2011 and our students visited Nantes last fall with the teachers, Firley and Vasconez. We expect that another group will travel and work in Nantes this fall.

  • How many students from Nantes made the trip this year and what are their plans for Miami?

Seven students from Nantes are currently visiting the city and select project sites; however, I am still not aware of their exact work missive. We hope to realize a joint publication in 2013 to mark the three years of our collaboration and potentially, an exhibition in Nantes next year as well.

  • What will the exhibition present?

In 2010 and 2011, students from the Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Architecture de Nantes surveyed the downtown Miami area and a few islands to discover its idiosyncrasies.

In each district, they proposed to develop a formalized schematic in their architecture. These programs are designed to become urban generators.

We thus discovered a water hub – leaving your car to travel on water - a new station to connect Miami to New York, a lighthouse tour, a new landmark for the city. These projects encourage us to promenade on our roofs to view the sea, to utilize the metro mover, to go to the movies downtown as well as to live and study in an urban campus.

Duplicating the exchange initiated with the support of the Consulate General of France in Miami, a group of students from the University of Miami School of Architecture made the trip to Nantes in the fall of 2011.

At the suggestion of the Department of Planning, they developed a series of projects to revitalize a large industrial site along the Loire, the district of Bas-Chantenay.

Promoting housing and cultural facilities, the projects offer unique solutions for a new river Loire, urban agriculture and the integration of protected industrial buildings into new neighborhoods.

In both cases, these are perspectives from abroad that have come to propose architecture in Nantes.

The exhibit will include drawings, plans, photographs, and several models illustrating the work of students in both Miami and Nantes.

Nantes/Miami Exhibition - Urban Mutations.
WHEN: Tout le mois de mars avec un vernissage le 6 mars à 18h30
WHERE: Alliance Française South Florida, 618 SW 8th Street Miami, FL 33130
Free entrance
For more info log on to http://afmiami.org/infos/exhibition…

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