Welcome to PAVE

The PAVE Research Centre was founded by Guy Tapie and Patrice Godier in 1998, both lecturers and researchers at the Higher National School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in Bordeaux (ENSAPBx).

The multidisciplinary team gathers 20 researchers, 3 PhD thesis supervisors and around 9 PhD candidates.

Clic here to download PAVE Research Centre’s brochure


PAVE’s empirical and theoretical investigations focus on two main topics: spaces (metropolis, city, neighbourhood, housing, facilities) and their uses and reception (representations, use qualities) on the one hand; the mechanisms and stakeholders that contribute to their production on the other hand. PAVE contributes to shedding light on the effects of ecological, energy and social transitions: housing and ageing in France, the architectural and urban heritage of the 20th century facing sustainability issues; metropolisation through the prism of resource management (water, energy, territory).

At a broader scale, PAVE led several international comparisons (Europe, USA, Brazil) and evaluations of experimental operations, using quantitative and qualitative methods. PAVE also benefits from partnerships with the Centre Emile Durkheim (UMR CNRS 5116), several universities in Europe and America, research networks (RAMAU) and research platforms (Forum Urbain) contributing to its influence and to the development of large-scale research programmes.


PAVE leads multidisciplinary research combining social sciences, architecture and urban studies along five main axes. Please visit the following pages to know more:

  • 1st axis : Professional identities | Mediation | Training. This axis focuses on the adaptation of the figure of the architect and of her / his professional settings in the face of societal changes, with attention to both the projects / objects produced and the processes that lead to them. PAVE analyses in particular architects’ occupations, careers and competences.
  • 2nd axis: Metropolitan and Territorial Facts. This axis is dedicated to deciphering contemporary territory and city-making processes, notably in reference to paradigms such as the city, the metropolis, and the energy and environmental transition. It adopts “theproject” as a privileged notion for understanding today’s urban transformations at different scales.
  • 3rd axis: Dwelling(s): Revolutions or Evolutions. This axis continues PAVE’s initial research into housing, seen through the lens of actors and production systems and spanning from design to social reception. This approach to contemporary dwellings accounts for the contextual, political, social and regulatory variations that weigh on architectural production.
  • 4th axis: Architecture and Society. This axis questions the conceptual frameworks that shape architectural design, from rules of thumb, through doctrines and manifestos, to formalized theories. This reflexive moment confronts the architectural discipline’s ideas about spaces and society with contemporary evolutions in order to identify the formers’ limits and the ways to overcome them.
  • 5th axis: Methodologies: international comparison, visual methods and socio-spatial approaches. This axis is conceived not only as a space for epistemological and methodological reflections but also as a space for sharing and capitalising on resources and methodological tools from different backgrounds. It aims to capitalise, develop and reflect on methods that articulate knowledge about space and about the social facts, encouraging experimentation. The notion of methodology is understood here in its broadest sense, among which we can cite: qualitative and quantitative methods, ethnographic observations, participatory approaches, visual methods, international comparisons.


PAVE operates under the authority of the French Ministry of Culture. It is associated to the Centre Émile Durkheim (UMR CNRS 5116) and to the Doctoral School “Sciences Politiques et Santé Publique” (SP2) of the University of Bordeaux.

  • For more information on the PAVE Research Centre and its activities, visit the following page or contact fanny.gerbeaud@bordeaux.archi.fr.
  • Please visit the doctoral school page to know about the registration process as a doctoral student.


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