ENAC School 20th anniversary celebration
20 years ago, EPFL founded the ENAC School, bringing together the disciplines of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and Engineering. With its inter- and transdisciplinary approaches in research, teaching and innovation, ENAC addresses key challenges of sustainability in the built and natural environment.
On 2 September 2022, ENAC researchers, staff, students, alumni and external guests celebrated this anniversary at the SwissTech Convention Center with inspiring keynote presentations, stimulating panel discussions as well as an interactive exhibition of ENAC’s labs, centers, educational programs and start-up companies presenting their work.
We had the great pleasure to celebrate this anniversary with you. THANK YOU!
ENAC celebrates its 20 years and three disciplines in style
On 2 September 2022, EPFL’s School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC) celebrated its 20th anniversary at a high-energy event featuring expert perspectives on the challenges lying ahead.
The day-long event at EPFL’s SwissTech Convention Center was attended by over 700 people: students and faculty members, researchers, alumni, partner universities, businesses and public-sector organizations. “EPFL is one of the few universities in the world where the three disciplines of civil engineering, environmental engineering and architecture come together in a single school,” said EPFL President Martin Vetterli in his opening remarks. ENAC Dean Claudia Binder added: “Our school is unique in its ability to develop responses for a more sustainable future.”
Engaging with the public
The event’s packed schedule included talks by three renowned experts on the sustainability-related challenges facing the built and natural environments: climate change, the digitalization of infrastructure and cities, and sustainable urban development. Each talk was followed by a panel discussion where the general public could weigh in.
The first speaker was Prof. Peter Messerli, the director of the Wyss Academy for Nature at the University of Bern, who outlined his vision for a more holistic approach to addressing climate issues. The second was Prof. Gesa Ziemer, the head of the CityScienceLab at HafenCity University Hamburg, who explained how new data-analysis tools can enhance urban-planning processes. And the third was Prof. Mimi Sheller, the dean of the Global School at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, who discussed the concept of mobility justice and urban planners’ need for more equitable approaches in coping with the effects of climate change.
A fourth and final panel discussion united ENAC deans from the past 20 years. They looked at the future of ENAC’s cross-disciplinary education, pinpointing the key skills that future engineers and architects will need to meet the challenges awaiting them.
Research groups display their work
In the entrance hall of the SwissTech Convention Center, visitors were given an opportunity to explore the innovative work being done by ENAC researchers. Some 90 booths showcased the technology – such as models, drones, touch screens and robots – being developed by over 60 ENAC labs and a handful of startups. Visitors got a hands-on look at their inventions and spoke with the research groups directly. The booths were grouped into four categories: transforming landscapes and cities, natural resource preservation and management, renewable energy, and the efficient use of resources in the built environment. The exhibits were open throughout the day, until the caterers rolled out a giant cake designed specifically for the event.
Introduction: Claudia R. Binder, ENAC Dean
Session 1: Acting on climate change
Session 2: Digitalization of infrastructures and cities
Session 3: Sustainable territories and mobility
Roundtable: “The future of education in the light of sustainability challenges.”
ENAC Dean Claudia Binder and Associate Deans Katrin Beyer and Vincent Kaufmann used the anniversary celebration as an opportunity to present their strategy and outlook for the future, framed in three questions.