How do they integrate their remit of preparing students for the world of work? To provide a clear picture of their specificities, this issue discusses technical education institutions. It provides an overview of the history of education, examining the physical context in which teaching takes place, as well as studying remnants of former practices. This helps to ascertain the concrete reality of educational policies, and the history of the architecture, focusing on a working definition of premises, construction policies and regional, urban, political, economic and social issues which are raised by the buildings and which are reflected in particular in their architectural expression and their iconographic programmes. The multi-level study of the actions of promoters, designers and users is crucial for evaluating the range of achievements. Focusing on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the various papers point to the fact that the issue of premises can tell us a great deal about the diversity of the achievements and concepts that have driven the transmission of knowledge and technical and professional know-how.