As a public institution dedicated to higher education and research, the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Marseille (National Higher School of Architecture of Marseille) assumes the whole of the missions allotted to the twenty French schools of architecture placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Communication. This entails initial training through the exchange of knowledge and practices within the international scientific and cultural community.

ENSA-Marseille is located in the second city of France, on the university campus of Marseille-Luminy, at the entrance of the Calanques (creeks on the coast).  It radiates throughout the areas of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Corsica, which include nearly five million inhabitants.

The aim of ENSA-Marseille is, thus, to train architects able to answer the main request of the society, both public and private and with a modest or large scope.

Architect as a profession extends from liberal practice of architectural and urban project to many other trades linked to architectural studies. They can lead to fields as diverse as town planning, programming, work management assistance, building operations management, treatment of heritage, architectural and urban research and teaching.

The school believes the intervention of architects in these various trades contributes to the necessary consciousness-raising of decision makers in architecture.

ENSA-Marseille hopes to train architects to be responsive to these significant contemporary challenges, including their social dimension, and to be a strong source of proposals in the various fields of the architectural practice.

ENSA-Marseille aims at developing and promoting an education in line with regional challenges, but also centred on a particularly rich and attractive Euro-Mediterranean context, leaning on its professional members, its researchers and its institutions.

In addition to being based on regional reality, it embraces all of today’s architectural problems and welcomes students from all the French regions and from nearly fifty foreign countries.

Marseille-Provence, European capital of culture in 2013, allowed the school to run innovating projects and include its students in those projects.

Along other institutions, ENSA-Marseille is building the Mediterranean Institute of the City and Territories (IMVT), a network of higher education and research.



1906 : a workshop within the School of Fine Arts

The long history of the teaching of architecture in Marseille began in 1753 with the creation of an academy of painting and sculpture including a section for architecture and architectural ornament at the beginning of the 19th century. This was followed, in 1862, by the School of Fine Arts.  The teaching of architecture, construction and architectural perspective also appeared in the program of this institution but it was in 1905 (Decree of August 6, 1905), that the creation of the Regional School of Architecture of Marseille was decided, within the School of Fine Arts. This workshop had the role of teaching the basis before the entrance to the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (National Higher School of Fine Arts of Paris), which was, at the time, the only authorized institute to deliver the architect’s diploma.

1967-1968 : establishment in Luminy

The School of Fine Arts and Architecture, established initially in the Haussmannian building of the Carli square was relocated in 1967-68 in the new buildings in Luminy built by the architect René Egger on the initiative of Gaston Deferre, mayor of Marseille and François Bret, his director.

1969 : creation of the Architecture Pedagogic Unit of (UPA) Marseille

The year 1968 marks a turning point in the history of architectural teaching in France: it was the year of the rupture within the system “Fine Arts school” and the creation of the Architecture Pedagogic Units, including the one in Marseille. Marseille’s new school of architecture will be built on the basis of pedagogical innovation with well-known figures who deeply marked this revival. Among these are in particular André Dunoyer de Segonzac, representative of a “reforming” tradition inherited from the modern movement, Paul Quintrand fervent militant for a closer relationship between architecture and the scientific and social disciplines, between architectural project and research, and expert practitioners in art, in particular Seymour Howard and Paul Nelson.

1979 : the UPA becomes an Administrative Public Institution…

The pedagogic units will then be set up in autonomous Administrative Public institutions, the unit of Marseille was done on December 10, 1979.

In parallel with teaching, the Marseille-Luminy school of architecture developed its “research department” with the creation of three research laboratories:  GAMSAU, ABC, INAMA and a team, Artopos (until 2003) then InsARTis, in 2004.

2005 : National Higher School of Architecture of Marseille

In 2005, it became the National Higher School of Architecture of Marseille and adopted its new teaching curriculum, established within the framework of the European harmonization (Bachelor’s degree-Master’s degree-Doctorate) of higher education.

The supervision of the schools of architecture

Before 1978, the schools of architecture were under the supervision of the ministry in charge of Culture.  From 1978, at the time of the creation of the ministry of Environment and Living environment, the schools of architecture were placed under the responsibility of this great ministry until 1981, then under the ministry of Infrastructure until 1996, the date on which they were transferred again to the ministry of Culture and Communication.

Presentation of ENSA-Marseille (in french)