Research institute

Architectural and Urban Ambiances Laboratory (AAU)

General information

Affiliated institutions :

Research Department

Authority : ENSA Nantes, ENSA Grenoble, Centrale Nantes, CNRS

Reference : UMR1563


Director(s) Staff Director: Rachel Thomas
Deputy Director: Myriam Servières


Research topics

The Urban Architecture Nantes Research Centre (CRENAU) is the AAU Laboratory’s team based in Nantes.

CRENAU was created in January 2015 from the merger of  two laboratories at ENSA Nantes:
  • CERMA, Research methodology in Architecture Centre, created in 1971 and specialised in the built environment’s methodological and numerical approaches.
  • LAUA, Languages, Urban Actions, Alterities laboratory, founded in 1991 and specialised in the urban building and forms of urbanities’ socio-ethnographic approaches.
Members of GERSA, (Stage Design in Architecture Research and Study Group), also joined CRENAU.

Research at CRENAU is part of the AAU Laboratory’s scientific mission. In this context, it includes numerous themes related to architectural and urban ambiances, models, public territorial action instruments and policies, virtual and enhanced reality, maps and sensitive representations of the built environment, cities’ adaptability to climate change, etc.

Through its history and composition, CRENAU has deployed expertise in a wide range of fields: architecture, urban planning and urbanism, sociology, anthropology, computer science, physics, history and arts. It welcomes numerous PhD students in these fields of study.

CRENAU members belong to the institutions supervising the AAU Laboratory i.e. ENSA Nantes, Centrale Nantes, CNRS as well as ENSA Paris-Malaquais and Nantes School of Art in agreement with ENSA Nantes.
Published on January 28, 2016 Updated on September 20, 2023