Sarah Nichols

Superonda Talks
Whole Wood

Monday 17 October 2022, 6 p.m.
Archizoom, SG building, Place Ada Lovelace, EPFL 

The material impact of human life on earth continues to intensify, driven overwhelmingly by construction. This is of course not without consequence, including the substantial portion of carbon emissions from the production of building materials like concrete and steel. It is therefore necessary to understand material supply not as a naturalized law of supply and demand but as a key site for design and transformation. This contribution by Sarah Nichols will contextualize the factors that determine material choice in architecture by looking at material supply chains as large technological systems and, in complement, by looking at how conceptions about building materials are shaped—in short, at the radical transition needed in material supply as a technical, political, and cultural challenge.

The lecture is also broadcast live on Zoom.
Meeting ID : 646 5060 5823


Sarah Nichols is an assistant professor of architecture at EPFL and director of the lab THEMA (Theory of Environment and Materials in Architecture). Her scholarly work examines the environmental and political entanglements of construction, particularly through building materials. Her material retrospective Béton was recently shown at the Swiss Architecture Museum in Basel. She is currently working on a book manuscript Opération Béton: Constructing Concrete in Switzerland based on her dissertation for which she was awarded the ETH Medal.