Inaugural Lecture - Prof. Sarah Nichols


Event details

Date 18.10.2023
Hour 18:0019:15
Speaker Prof. Sarah Nichols
Category Inaugural lectures - Honorary Lecture
Event Language English
Date: 18 October 2023
Time: 18:00 – 19:15
Introductions by the Dean, lectures by Prof. Sarah Nichols and Prof. Wenyu Gu. Followed by an Apero.
Place: SG 1
Zoom link

Constructing Materials

Architecture relies on materials—an obvious statement but one at the crux of ecological, social, and political crises facing the discipline today. A building’s materiality embodies the organizations and knowledge, energy and labor, and extraction and emission that bring architecture into being. Yet this materiality is both concrete and abstract—it is, for example, the hard facts of the material supply chain but also the technical imaginary that shapes a material. Looking inductively at materiality is, as I will show, key to denaturalizing the constructive cultures that we find ourselves in today and crucial to understanding the possibilities and pitfalls for paths forward. Pedagogically, practically, and theoretically, a material approach positions architecture to rise to the present condition while reassessing its own disciplinarity. 

About the speaker
Sarah Nichols is an Assistant Professor of Architecture (tenure track) at EPFL and director of the lab THEMA (Theory of Environment and Materials in Architecture). Prior to joining EPFL, she was an Assistant Professor of Architecture (tenure track) at Rice University in Houston. Nichols studied architecture at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, and received her doctorate (Dr. Sc.) at ETH Zurich where she was awarded the ETH Medal.
Sarah Nichols’s scholarly work examines the environmental and political entanglements of construction, particularly through building materials. Her material retrospective “Beton” was recently shown at the Swiss Architecture Museum in Basel. She is currently working on a book manuscript Opération Béton: Constructing Concrete in Switzerland based on her dissertation.
Together with Sarah Nichols, THEMA is made up of Ziu Bruckmann, Arthur de Buren, Akshar Gajjar, Marion Moutal, Tiffanie Paré, and Tamara Pelège.

Practical information

  • Informed public
  • Registration required


  • SAR - Gesualdo Casciana

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