Architecture at EPFL
EPFL Architecture at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne is the architecture school at university level in the French speaking part of Switzerland. EPFL Architecture profits from a pointedly transdisciplinary environment, being embedded at ENAC Faculty, where architects, civil engineers and environmental engineers are engaging in research and education with the mission to find new ways to engage knowledge and action for our societies.
A Transdisciplinary and Transscalar Approach
Beyond a focus on Architecture as a series disconnected objects, we address our discipline in a fundamentally transdisciplinary and transcalar approach. We aim to engage the city, architecture, public space, roads, landscape or infrastructures as fully entangled in processes of the living, human and non-human, and therefore of the environment. In Architecture today, as in any discipline, the first and foremost question that we must ask ourselves is about foundation, not only of our discipline, but of society and life as a whole.
What Architecture Can Do
We therefore foreground the fundamentally social and ethical role of our discipline. Architecture structures the spaces we live in. The values we embody as a society are also embodied in architecture. Architecture can segregate, channel, exclude, divide. Likewise, architecture is able to bring together people, to provide room for encounter, to structure space open for a diversity, resilient and evolutionary. We therefore aim to re-establish architecture as an empowered, transformed and transforming discipline with a shift of focus on what architecture can do, rather than what it is.
In research and teaching we must enable architects to act in times of uncertainty and ruptures. How can we operate in view of the climate emergency? The construction sector is responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions. How can we free architecture from extractionism, engage new economic models? How can we act in view of mass migrations to come? How can we assure social justice for all? Finally, what is the territory that sustains our life, as a society and that of each individual? How is architecture entangled with the fundaments and the processes of the living and the non-living, human, and non-human?
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