EDAR Affiliated labs & Research expertise

The laboratories are the places where original and independent research is carried out according to the underlying principles of academic freedom. These are also the resources for relevant and high quality teaching.


The different research areas intend to guide current and future doctoral students through the various research topics addressed in this program.

« Sciences of the City »

The research area of Sciences of the City is aimed at students of social sciences (Sociology, Geography, Economics, Political science, Anthropology, History), but also architects and engineers wishing to pursue a thesis on urbanization, urbanity, mobility and habitat.
It concerns primarily an understanding of the contemporary urban world in all its aspects as a fundamental dimension of inhabiting and even more generally, of social life. This requires a reflection on epistemological and theoretical tools that allow thinking of space of societies, fixed and mobile lifestyles and urbanization as long-term historical process.
It is also essential to analyze, with renewed tools, components of contemporary urbanity: ways of living, mobility, public space, productivity and creativity, for which the contributions of the humanities and social sciences are mobilized, both about countries already completely urbnized and those that experience an accelerated process of urbanization in the context of the globalized world.
Finally, urban action, whether in the usual form of urban planning or other less conventional expressions (sectoral policies, urban social movements, etc..), will be questioned. One unique feature of urbanism is indeed in complex relationships of mutual interpenetration of observation and action, analysis and project, experts and inhabitants.

« History, Theory, Heritage »

History, Theory, Heritage is open to any proposed research topic likely to provide a deeper understanding of the questions inherent in the fields of history and theory, from the vantage point of process of architectural project, in particular from the point of view of construction and composition.

The terms construction and composition are intended in the broad sense from the materials and their nature, the structures and statics, the project criteria established by architectural treaties and texts and even the non-compositional creations of contemporary art and architecture. The choice of the construction and composition as the privileged framework of various researches reflects the conviction that the two disciplines constitut the poles, often conflicting,upon which the creative process in architecture is based.

« Research in/by Design»

The contemporary urban condition and the emergencies associated with the transition continue to question the modalities of the space project, at all scales. The “Research in/by Design” axis addresses the project both as a research topic – in its conceptual, cultural and technical foundations – and as a form of research in its whole.

The sub-axis Integrated Design, architecture and sustainability meets the objective of further integration of sustainability issues in architecture, as well as the wish to reinforce the exchange and the synergies with different institutes of l’ENAC.
To this end, developed as IDEAS (Integrated Design, Architecture, Sustainability) this theme is partly based on an interdisciplinary teaching within EDAR doctoral programme, in the form of seminars and workshops, and secondly on a structured network of EPFL PhD students whose thesis contributes to this theme. Besides, it is in line with a Minor which has been developed for the Master cycle on the same subject.
More information about laboratories and specific research topics is available https://www.epfl.ch/schools/enac/education/interdisciplinary-teaching/interdisciplinary-minors/ideas/.