ENAC news about education

Articles about education

The book is published at EPFL Press. © EAST Lab / EPFL

Sleeping together: Examining dormitories as architectural types

— A recent publication explores the unique history of dormitories from the Middle Ages to present day. Drawing on a corpus spanning everything from submarines to mountain huts, the authors examine the fine balance between the need for privacy and the function of dormitories as collective spaces, and reflect on the implications for contemporary challenges.

From left to right: Loé Maire, Alexis Barrou, Julie Grieshaber, Jean-André Davy—Guidicelli, Sophie Desbiolles © Xavier Nussbaum 2022 EPFL

5 Master's theses awarded on adaptation to climate change

— The 2022 Durabilis prize list brings together individual works on different ways of dealing with global warming, from a technological point of view on the EPFL side and a cultural point of view on the UNIL side. Summary of their work and comments from the jury.

Olivier Lalancette has imagined the future of the former Lonza landfill site between Brig and Visp. © EPFL

Urban planning helps mitigate extreme weather effects in Haut-Valais

— Olivier Lalancette, an EPFL Master’s student in architecture, has come up with some development proposals for the Brig-Visp-Naters conurbation. His suggestions, relatively modest in scope, could help these cities better withstand the droughts and heavy rainfall that are expected to intensify by 2050. Lalancette hopes his study will start a conversation about the region’s future.

Morris made his own earth bricks as part of his Master’s project. © Alain Herzog / 2022 EPFL

More soil, less concrete: changing mindsets in construction

— For his Master’s project, architecture student Jeremy Morris assessed the life cycle of building materials in Vaud Canton. His research shows that the construction industry could shrink its carbon footprint by making more regular use of soil. Morris proposes three courses of action, which he will present at the Quinzaine de l’Urbanisme.

© RebuiiLT / 2022 EPFL

rebuiLT, or how to rebuild a house sustainably

— The Low-Tech Lab in Lausanne has been part of the Unipoly association of EPFL since 2021 and aims to popularize the low-tech approach already found in several other European universities. Its showcase project rebuiLT is one of EFPL’s interdisciplinary MAKE projects and seeks to reuse parts of a building being demolished to create a community pavilion in Ecublens.

Clara Gualtieri. © 2022 EPFL/L.Hempel

Preventing heat islands is a priority for the future of our cities

— Summer series – Master’s project (7). Two EPFL Master’s students carried out meticulous research on heat islands, or densely packed urban areas with features that can aggravate high temperatures during heat waves, posing a serious threat to vulnerable residents.

A l'EPFL, Selina Heiniger a étudié le génie civil. © Alain Herzog / EPFL

Turning plastic waste into building bricks

— Summer series – Master's project (4). For her Master’s project in civil engineering, Selina Heiniger took on a challenge that’s aligned with her desire to help preserve the environment. She’s developing a new building material that’s made from plastic waste, concrete and terracotta.

© 2022 EPFL

Architecture students rejuvenate two sites in the Greater Geneva area

— First-year EPFL architecture students are reshaping Geneva’s public spaces. All summer long, visitors can explore and interact with temporary installations at the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum’s Jardin des Nations and along Avenue des Grandes-Communes in Onex, which has been transformed into a dynamic pedestrian-oriented area.

Dimitrios Lignos a reçu cette année le prix du meilleur enseignant de la Section de génie civil. © Alain Herzog/EPFL

“I try to turn my classes into interactive discussions”

— Dimitrios Lignos, head of EPFL’s Resilient Steel Structures Laboratory (RESSLab), has been named this year’s best teacher in the civil engineering section. He favors an interaction-based approach to teaching.

© 2021 EPFL

Kristin Schirmer is awarded ENAC students' prize

— At the EPFL’s “Magistrale” graduation ceremony this year, Kristin Schirmer was recognised for her teaching work at the institution. In this interview she explains what this work means to her.

© Murielle Gerber / 2021 EPFL

How can we make our housing less heteronormative?

— An EPFL architecture student’s radical new approach to the layout of typical city-center buildings in Lausanne, and how we inhabit the spaces we live in, may just revolutionize our ways of thinking.

In Kattmarka, buildings and a stretch of highway were washed away by the clay sludge. © NGI

Helping engineers better predict clay landslides

— Norway experiences dangerous landslides due to its clay-rich soil. For her Master’s thesis in civil engineering at EPFL, Mathilde Metral outlined steps that the country’s geotechnical engineers can take to improve the predictive computer model they’re currently developing. 

Leona Repnik at the foot of the Grand-Pont, in Lausanne. © Murielle Gerber/2021/EPFL

3D modelling of the Flon river helps engineers plan a new metro line

— Lausanne will soon be getting a new metro line, the m3, but question marks remain over the best way to build the tunnel at the Flon station – already one of the busiest metro stations in French-speaking Switzerland. Leona Repnik, who just graduated from EPFL with an environmental engineering degree, studied this problematic for her Master’s thesis and put forth a feasible solution to this complex problem.

Vernier. ALICE. Studios Legros + Pretolani ©Jamani Caillet / 2021 EPFL

EPFL architecture students explore outdoor spaces in Geneva Canton

— Throughout the summer, architectural works by first-year students at EPFL’s ALICE studio will be on display at four sites in Geneva Canton: Genthod, Aigues-Vertes, Vernier and Onex. Visitors will be able to view the students’ work through a series of events, all in compliance with public health and safety measures.

© 2021 ENAC

ENAC Week: students meet in the field

— Bachelor's students in architecture, civil and environmental engineering met for a week to work on interdisciplinary projects during the ENAC Week.

Casablanca, capitale économique du Maroc, et son Twin Center. © 2020 Istock

Geneva and Casablanca: two approaches to globalized urban development

— For his PhD thesis at EPFL, Kamil Hajji compared urban development projects in two major cities – each a business and financial hub, but in countries with very different societies and political systems. He found that democracy can significantly influence how globalization plays out at the local level.

Les Diablerets, in Vaud Canton. © iStock

Modeling avalanche protection in forests

— Two EPFL students have compared the ability of a forest in Vaud Canton to protect against avalanches before and after it was ravaged by fire in 2018. Their method could be applied to other forested slopes, helping to enhance local reforestation strategies.

A page from The Real Book. © ALICE / EPFL2020

EPFL architecture students publish their designs in print

— EPFL’s first-year architecture students usually have the chance to build full-scale versions of their designs. But this year’s cohort will instead publish a book featuring blueprints for structures along the banks of the Rhône and Arve rivers in Geneva

The lampshade made from recycled PET. © Tiago P. Borges

Showcasing reuse principles at a tram depot and sculpture park

— Students from EPFL’s EAST laboratory have installed recycled lights and restrooms at the Bex & Arts sculpture triennial – set to run from 22 June to 18 October – and repurposed parts of a disused tram depot in Bern. Both projects demonstrate the merits of using reclaimed materials.

Extrait de l'une des vidéos de la Semaine ENAC 2020. © ENAC/EPFL

ENAC Week – thinking about life after coronavirus

— ENAC Bachelor’s students became amateur video makers during ENAC Week – one of the school’s interdisciplinary initiatives – as they looked with relevance and critical mind at how our world needs to change to make it more resilient.

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Student portraits

Raphaël Ahumada juggles architecture and rowing

The 21-year-old student, who’s on EPFL’s specialist track for elite athletes, splits his days between virtual classes, intensive training sessions and international races.

“Competing in ski mountaineering at the 2026 Olympics would be huge”

Matteo Favre, a Bachelor’s student in EPFL’s Section of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, is also a member of the Swiss ski mountaineering team. He’s landed several podium finishes this season, including in the men’s senior category.

“Being 18 in today’s world makes me hopeful”

Natacha Romanens is in the third year of her apprenticeship to become a physics laboratory assistant at EPFL’s Laboratory of Soil Mechanics (LMS).


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