8th Rencontres de l'EDAR: Images and Numbers


Event details

Date 23.05.2024
Hour 08:0013:00
Speaker Fabienne Kilchör, Professor of Data Visualization at University of Bern, co-founder of the graphic design agency Emphase. Paolo Tassinari, professor on Master in Science Communication at SISSA of Trieste, co-founder of the graphic design agency TassinariVetta. Sebastien Fasel, co-founder of the graphic design agency Emphase. EPFL Discussants: Salvatore Aprea (ACM) & Jérôme Baudry (LHST). Coordination by Nicola Braghieri (EPFL Lapis) and Elena Cogato Lanza (EPFL EDAR).
Category Conferences - Seminars
Les Rencontres de l’EDAR is the yearly EDAR event adressed to the Doctoral program in Architecture and Sciences of the City community.
Its eighth edition, entitled “Images and Numbers: Scientific Data Visualisation”, will invite doctoral students to reflect on the role of graphics and images in the construction of scientific communication, referring to their own experience as young scholars.

In the specific field of research in architecture and urban sciences, the visualisation of quantitative data through infographic tools has been accompanied since the first treatises, by the more conventional use of images to convey ideas. Plans, sections, elevations, perspectives, maps and panoramas first, photographs and diagrams later, have fuelled an incessant debate on how to coherently represent scientific discourse. A debate on how to communicate, to transmit, to demonstrate, but also on how to achieve a practical outcome. The emancipation of architecture from a mechanical art into a liberal discipline required a serious philosophical reflection on the presumed superiority of numbers, incorruptible by their nature, over images, the source of dangerous tromperies.

Architecture and urban planning publications have demonstrated how iconography is not a decorative and accessory entity to the discourse, but rather formulates a discourse in and of itself. The looming presence of figures, drawings and geographical maps has imposed the definition of specific layout codes which have defined the birth and affirmation of a precise ‘literary genre’, that of the architectural book. Images are not only an essential part of the communication around forms of the  built environment, but also of the transmission of the intellectual debate linked to its history and destiny.

The current proliferation of ‘user friendly’ tools for the manipulation of images, for the layouts of texts and for the figuration of statistical data, has been accompanied by the dematerialization of the book and in particular of the paper doctoral thesis. The entire scientific community is hence urged to reflect not only on important ethical and practical issues, but also on social and aesthetic ones.

Debating on Data Visualisation seems particularly appropriate in a context where “disseminating  scientific knowledge” is one of the missions of our school, and where the SNF is explicitly committed to promoting the encounter between research and society, namelyby defending the principle of free access to research results. Images and numbers are intrinsically linked to the role of scholars as scientists, intellectuals and, perhaps, artists.

The 8th Les Rencontres de l’EDAR will reflect on this role, opening a discussion on the issues raised by Data Visualisation specifically within the disciplines at EDAR, straddling between humanities and applied sciences, and more broadly in light of EPFL’s social and scientific mission. On this occasion, the New EDAR visual identity proposals submitted to the Open consultation launched by EDAR in February 2024, will be exhibited and commented by their authors, the consultation's jury, and the audience.

8:00 New EDAR visual identity proposals Exhibition & Welcome coffee

8:30 IntroductionNicola Braghieri (LAPIS) & Elena Cogato Lanza (EDAR)

8:40-9:45 New EDAR visual identity. Jury’s expert: Fabienne Kilchör, Professor of Data Visualisation at the University of Bern. Presentation of the proposals and debate.

9:45 Break

10:15-11:40 Images, Numbers, and Letters. Lectures by Fabienne Kilchör & Sebastien Fasel, co-founder of the design agency Emphase, and by Paolo Tassinari, Professor of Science Communication at SISSA Trieste University and co-founder of the design agency TassinariVetta.

11:40-12:50 Debate. Faculty Discussants: Salvatore Aprea (ACM) & Jérôme Baudry (LHST)

12:50 Ending Words.

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free


  • EDAR Doctoral Program in Architecture and Sciences of the City


Event broadcasted in