Patrick Richard Professorship in Nantes

Patrick Richard is a Visiting Professor at the ENSA Nantes (École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Nantes) – among the leading schools of architecture in France.

Patrick’s unit will be focusing on the study and research of the physical and sensory qualities of the void, and the revealing of its presence through natural and artificial light – one of Stanton Williams’ defining design principles. It also brings together Stanton Williams’ interests in architectural concepts of solid, void, positive, negative, light and shade, demonstrated through our work ‘Intangible’.

The purpose of this workshop project is to reveal the architectural value of the void, the principle of carving, subtracting, and creating negative space, and to help students approach architectural design from a renewed perspective. A historical analysis of the value of the void will also allow students to better understand its meaning through the history of architecture and art.

The project proposal is located in the heart of the island of Nantes, a large, empty, urban environment going through a phase of intense densification. The project consists in creating a museum of the void, a monolithic city block of defined dimension, carved in its mass, and offering would-be visitors a rich succession of sculptural spaces of varied dimension, revealed by natural and artificial light.

Each student will be able to experiment, creating architectural voids in the form of study models, or using concrete or plaster casting techniques. In parallel, students will be able to use digital modelling, concentrating largely on volume subtraction, to create complex and unique spaces that can be translated into physical and virtual models.