About us

The team

The President

Pierre-André Périssol
Mayor of Moulins, Former minister

The permanent team

Christine Lepoittevin
Director
christine.lepoittevin@ateliers.org

Véronique Valenzuela
Director of Projects
veronique.valenzuela@ateliers.org

Morgan Bourgeois
Management assistant
morgan.bourgeois@ateliers.org

Khadijatou Sene
Administrative and logistics assistant
khadijatou.sene@ateliers.org

Presentation

“There are few places in the world where freedom of expression, mix of cultures and disciplines, mutual cross-fertilization and production of ideas, combined with a true professionalism allow us to think about those spaces where more and more inhabitants of our planet live: cities.”

Pierre-André Périssol,
chairman of les Ateliers.

A non profit- organization since 1982, Les Ateliers – International workshops of planning and urban design – aims to develop the collective creation of ideas that tackle the challenges and processes of everyday city planning and design by promoting a process of collective and multidisciplinary work that produces innovative and illustrative proposals relating to urban design and spatial development.

Whether it involves students or professionals, each “atelier” brings together people of diverse nationalities and disciplines: architecture and urban planning, but also geography, economics, landscape architecture, sociology, art, engineering, environment...

Year after year, Les Ateliers internationaux network has been growing: it includes more than two thousand former participants who are now professionnals, academics, and decision-makers in the urban field.

Our convictions

Creating cities is by its very nature a collective process. As true as architecture enables an individual and identifiable creation of masterpieces, developing cities cannot be ascribed to a single person who would dominate all the aspects of urban creation: this process is collective in its essence.
Based on the logic of laboratory work, urban project management should encompass the various disciplines required to plan urban areas and their interfaces. Therefore, each atelier is a place of freedom of proposal, where the aspirations of collective and voluntary work enable the development of new ideas, innovative projects and proposals for the future of urban areas which are in perpetual transition.

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Our principles

Our central conviction that a mix of cultures, approaches, skills and backgrounds is needed gives birth to the basic principles that structure all of our workshops:

Blending diversities

We always embrace the challenge of bringing together participants from a range of different backgrounds, ages, cultures and disciplines.

Freedom of proposal

This is the deal with the local authorities: the teams participating in Les Ateliers workshops have complete freedom of proposal. As participants are always involved on a voluntary basis, there is no contractor/client relationship, and teams are encouraged to voice their individual convictions.

Obligation to produce

Freedom of proposal is directly linked to a strong requirement for an end product. Therefore each workshop produces a significant amount of analysis and many ideas, which are always illustrated and justified.

A contributing jury

The teams are motivated by the prospect of presenting their proposals to a high-profile international jury. This jury has no role to judge or to rank the teams – a workshop is not a competition. The jury’s role is rather to be a contributor to the collective process of the workshop, by identifying within the overall output, the elements of analysis and ideas which are the most relevant, useful and can be implemented by the local authorities and their partners.

The role of the artists

Les Ateliers are convinced that artists make a significant contribution to how cities evolve, are created and built. We therefore collaborate with artists throughout each workshop, enabling them to contribute to the engaging processes which involve posing questions and making proposals.

Coproduction / exchange forum

During the whole process of a workshop from the beginning until the end, we always work in collaboration with local professionals, local authorities and their partners. During the workshop, exchange forums are held which enable the sharing of knowledge and ideas, allowing the teams to present their ideas, strategies and proposals.

Warmth and fun!

Les Ateliers is an intense working experience. Participants are involved between two to four weeks on a challenging topic and with people from many different backgrounds. However, it is also a very powerful experience, reaching beyond borders, and in a warm, friendly and hard-working environment.

Students and young professionnals workshops

The students and young professionnals workshops last 3 to 4 weeks involving thirty participants who work as part of international and multi-disciplinary teams. The work of each team is guided and informed by meetings and forums with professionals. Every topic is chosen and prepared in collaboration with the local authorities.

A direct contribution to reality

Our belief is that the boldness and the creativity shown by the students and young professionals during the workshops can be a valuable addition to the local authority’s strategies and their spatial development programs. Therefore, the workshops are not research labs or university-like summer schools. When the international jury takes place, the proposals are directly presented to local decision-makers.

30 years along, Cergy’s summer workshops

At first, Cergy’s summer workshops were a prospective tool for the New Town, and for Paris Region’s planning authorities. They laid the ground for new operations, shook things up and helped to gain a new perspective on the current urban planning concepts. Then, chosen topics on different sites focused on larger planning and regional development issues, in the Paris Region.
Today, in partnership with various institutions, complex and intersecting topics are at the centre of Cergy’s summer workshops, such as the metropolitan landscape or the rural/urban interface. Participating in this workshop provides eligibility for a university degree from the University of Cergy-Pontoise (12 UCTS credits).

Irkutsk and Porto Novo

Cergy’s workshops are an inspiration for our partners and we wish to develop other permanent cycles of student workshops.
Today, Irkutsk’s sessions are held in the State’s Technical University, and have been since 1999. The West-African workshops are led by the mayor of Porto-Novo’s (the capital city of Benin) since 2010.

Why should you participate?

Exchange, and propose ideas to local representatives and actors responsible for spatial development.
Gain international and multi-disciplinary experience.
Opportunity to receive a diploma.
Become a part of Les Ateliers’ international network and get the opportunity to work as an assistant on a professional workshop.
Participate in a rare, creative and often unforgettable experience.

The Jury

The jury of a student / young professional workshop gathers officials from the area, university lecturers, experienced professionals, and elected representatives from different countries and cultural backgrounds. When the jury deliberates it considers the meaning and value of the proposals, with a vote establishing a final ranking.

How to participate?

The workshops welcome students from all educational backgrounds. The selection of participants is based upon their application form.
Participation fees: 100 to 300 euros.

Professionals workshops

This formula has been developed since 2005. It is a way of pursuing the principles of the Cergy summer Workshops, which, over the last twenty years have built an important international network of urban planning professionals. The professional workshops are very similar to the student workshops – diversity, freedom, coproduction, volunteer work – but instead they involve professionals and are condensed in two weeks. These workshops usually gather three teams of seven participants, with two local members within each team. They are organized 8 to 10 months in advance, by a dedicated scientific management team.

These workshops are organized to occur at specific points in time, (for example at the beginning of a term of government) so that they encourage strategic debates. This is because the philosophy of the workshop is to ‘shake things up’ in order to create and encourage new avenues of research. The international teams benefit from the freedom of proposal of Les Ateliers, especially because there is no market to win in the end. The topics are often strategic and the local actors expect operational proposals. The team’s proposals mix territorial analysis, regional and local strategy making, policy making – transportation, centralities –, built environment analysis and potential evolution, future plans for the management of public spaces incorporating improving those important to ‘everyday life’.

These workshops are not a substitute to local or international planning professionals’ work. They are more about sharing experiences, and will produce an illustrated inventory for a areas possible evolution. The jury session, which is composed of professionals, investors, academics and representatives of the civil society, is a time for debate and sharing of opinion. From this point on it is the mayor’s responsibility to take ownership of the workshop’s output, taking it forward in whichever way they feel appropriate.

What is the purpose of a workshop?

  • Gather local actors together in an environment which encourages free thinking and proposal.
  • Step back and raise the questions that really matter.
  • Propose new options of development for a specific area, addressing its problems and potentials.
  • Produce consistent answers: strategies and projects.
  • Organize an international event, enabling the involvement of institutions and possible partners.

How to participate?

Anyone can participate, as with the student workshops, as long as their contribution is relevant to the workshop’s topic. Before each workshop, a document is published in order to present the workshop’s topic and the application guidelines. The management team then chooses the participants.

Governance

Les Ateliers is a non-profit organization, declared of public interest by the French fiscal administration.

General Assembly

The members of Les Ateliers gather yearly for a General Assembly, which elects the Board and agrees on budget expenditures.

Can be members individuals as well as corporation, both up to date with their subscription, and institutions that provide the association with financial support.

Board of Advisors

The Board makes decisions on the organization’s development and also decides on future workshops.
You can have acces to the board here

Scientific Committee

The Scientific Committee is led by the Board of Administration. It is a prospective entity for the organization’s development. The committee supports the workshop’s preparation and is responsible for the quality of the published
documents.
You can have acces to the trombinoscope here

Workshops’ organizational teams

A dedicated management team is put together for every workshop. On each team there are one or two “pilots” (i.e. the scientific directors of the workshop), two assistants and one or two local correspondents.

Contact

Adress

Les Ateliers Internationaux
de Maîtrise d’Œuvre Urbaine

Le Verger, rue de la Gare
95000 Cergy

Phone

+33 1 34 41 93 91

Email

contact@ateliers.org

Access map

Agrandir la carte

Partners

Les Ateliers remercient chaleureusement les partenaires financiers qui les accompagnent fidèlement depuis des années, et tout particulièrement Grand Paris Aménagement (ex AFRTP) pour l’adossement structurel apporté à l’association.

Nos remerciements vont aussi aux institutions et collectivités qui ont accueilli ou apporté un soutien financier aux ateliers récents.

Enfin, tous les partenaires ayant contribué à l’activité des ateliers récents par une implication en présence dans ces ateliers ou leur préparation, ou pour une mise à disposition de salles.