The team



The Team

After taking part successively in the SDE 2010 and 2012 in Madrid and being members of the organization of the 2014 edition in Versailles, we are today thrilled to announce that the Team Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (Team AuRA) participates in the coming Solar Decathlon Europe edition, taking place in Wuppertal in 2021.

In the 2010 SDE’s edition the Armadillo Box© project we designed was ranked 4th, in the 2012 SDE’s edition the Team AURA won the competition with the Canopea® proposal.

The team is now jointly guided by both the Grenoble National School of Architecture (ENSAG) and the Grands Ateliers Innovation Architecture (GAIA) which is the biggest French technical platform dedicated to innovation and experimentation in the field of architecture. These two institutions have been historically deeply involved in the previous SDE adventures the AURA team participated in. The team will also include the University of Grenoble (UGA), ENSE3 school, ENSAM Chambéry school, the Association des compagnons du devoir et du tour de France (AOCDTF), IUTGEII Grenoble.


Team Aura consortium in 2021

Educational innovation With the experience of practitioners and skilled teacher-researchers, the Grenoble School offers students both a professional and an academic education that combines theory, practice and experimentation. The school is concerned with training both critical and constructive architects while preparing for the evolution of the profession and the diversity of practicing modes and is open to social and environmental issues. Through virtual and analogical approaches to design in addition to experimentation in technical and academic workshops, the school develops an innovative curriculum focusing on both design and construction. The Grenoble School of Architecture initiated the Grands Ateliers de l'Isle d'Abeau, a centre of constructive experimentation and innovation, and favors issues such as constructive culture, interior design, and territorial design and planning. The creation at Grenoble's school of a UNESCO chair "Earthen architecture, constructive cultures and sustainability" testify to its international activity in cultural, scientific and professional fields.

An Experiential Learning approach

For over 15 years now, Architecture, Environnement & Cultures Constructives (AE&CC) ENSAG research Unit of the Grenoble school of Architecture (ENSAG), has been closely linked to the Architecture, Environnement & Cultures Constructives (AE&CC) ENSAG master’s degree curriculum which focuses on sustainable and affordable housing.

The AE&CC master’s degree curriculum is based on a scientific approach of matter and a cultural overview of materials and building knowhow. The pedagogic team has developed a specific method based on 1:1 scale experimentation. This approach is clearly an application of David A. Kolb’s theory of Experiential Learning – also known as «learning by doing» – in the field of architectural education.

The main goal of our cross disciplinary teaching team is to train students so they can consider environmental, economic, cultural and social issues in their designs. The ambition is to contribute to the European and international architectural scene by training architects who will be professionals with an ethic and a real ability to create innovative building systems in order to produce an effective and sensitive architecture addressing the greatest issues of our time:

– How to create resilient territories, able to overcome an alteration of its environment?
– How can we combine the best of traditional technics with the best of high technology and cutting edge science to produce affordable housing thereby generating resilience and freedom rather than dependence and boredom?

Our wish to be part of this competition anew is mostly based on the fact that the Team AURA’s participations were fascinating and enriching experiences. It allowed us to strengthen architectural and engineering education. It also gave the students a chance to work in a cross-disciplinary environment, through the collaboration of architects and engineers: in other word to share knowledge for future practice. Cross-disciplinary teaching is an asset that should be used to strengthen the skills of tomorrows designers.

Scientific background

The AE&CC research Unit composed by CRATerre research laboratory + Cultures Constructives research Laboratory + Amàco research center, is the only one in the field of architecture that received the label «Excellence laboratory» (LABEX) given by the French government. The AE&CC ENSAG research unit has always been an indefectible support for our team.

+ CRATerre, is an international research team bringing together architects, engineers, archeologists, ethnologists and technicians recognized world-wide for their work on both technical and cultural aspect of earth as a building material. Through its various research programs, the team has gained and produced first quality knowledge on earth construction and low-cost housing programs throughout the world. (

+ Cultures Constructives is a nationally patented research team of the French Ministry of Culture working on the theory and history of architecture. Its members have published several significant studies on the history of construction and the relationship between the act of building and the design process. (

+ Amàco is a pedagogic resource center dedicated to matter sciences for sustainable construction. It aims at valuing row and sparely transformed materials as for example: send, earth, water, wood vegetal fibers in order to promote a construction in adequation between humans and their territories. This research center focuses on training higher and professional education, research around matters and materials, the application of the know how within the construction projects and knowledge transmission. (

The AURA Team is also supported by the research laboratories of IUT1 and the ENSAM.


Team composition over the time