Light Gender Defrosting at the Architecture Departement of the ETHZ.

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Switzerland is not doing well at gender balance. The infamous ETHZ and its Department of Architecture score an all-down low with 5 women appointed professors and assistant professors among their 50 colleagues.

One thing to nevertheless celebrate to start the year 2014 on a more balanced foot is this semester’s line up for the Department Lecture Series, with the DARCH somehow defrosting from a 1950’s stand-point and having more women (4) then men (3) on its podium. So while the Department is not ready to share the teaching board equally among men and women, at least, they are ready to share a bit of the spotlight.

Here’s the Program.

From the ETHZ:

“The Department of Architecture organizes every semester a series of lectures about a topic relevant to the Department. Since architecture as a cultural and social act always needs a ‹view from the outside›, not only architects, but also representatives from other disciplines are invited.

” The invited architects – Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects (Dublin), Maria Kaltsa of Kaltsa-Papandreou Architects (Athens), and Benedetta Tagliabue of Miralles Tagliabue EMBT (Barcelona) – provide us a window into architectural and urban theory and practice that enables us to reflect on our own stance.”

The assistant professor Milica Topalovic, currently in Singapore will also lecture.

Here’s a taste of the lecturers, some of them a bit more controversial then usual.

One of very few female-only team in architecture, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects are not really new comers, but their work is amazing, as seen in the last Biennale.

Maria Kaltsa of Kaltsa-Papandreou Architects is an interesting case. She was the  General Secretary for Architecture and Planning at the Greek Ministry of Environment.  Maria Kaltsa has been targeted by attacks from anarchist groups that claim she was implicated in the case of former PASOK politician Akis Tsochatzopoulos, currently in jail pending trial for money laundering. “As a practicing architect for over 20 years, Maria Kaltsa shared Greece’s “2005 Award” for the central archaeological promenade in Athens and now a first prize for Thessaloniki’s new landmark.(…) She actively supported regulatory plans and frameworks for the sustainable development of metropolitan regions, as well as anti-urban decay policies, and managed public–private partnerships for the metropolitan project designs at Faliro, “RE-THINK ATHENS”.
Benedetta Tagliabue of Miralles Tagliabue EMBT. 

Benedetta Tagliabue currently serves as director of Miralles Tagliabue EMBT, founded in 1994 with Enric Miralles in Barcelona and based in Shanghai since 2010.

Milica Topalovic, ETHZ

Milica Topalovic has been Assistant Professor of Architecture and Territorial Planning at the ETH Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore since 2011. In 2006 she joined the ETH as head of research at the Studio Basel Contemporary City Institute and the professorial chairs held by Diener and Meili, where she taught research studios focusing on cities and territories such as Hong Kong and the Nile Valley.


Edit: The lecture series are being added online here

-Grafton Architects