PhD Position in Architecture - ALICE lab @EPFL (Switzerland)

Lucia Jalon Oyarzun's picture
Home Office Notices (Jobs, Reviews)
May 17, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Architecture and Architectural History, Urban Design and Planning, Urban History / Studies

The ALICE Laboratory (Atelier de la conception de l’espace) at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne is opening up a fully-funded 4-year PhD position beginning September 2020. We are looking for young researchers from around the world with a background in architecture and/or urbanism. Candidates should be interested and/or have experience in conducting independent research, transdisciplinary practices and design-based research methodologies, either in academic or professional settings.

At ALICE Research we attend not only to the built environment, but to a broader spatial enactment of materiality and all those unheard, silent and minor realities threading our living environments. Through socioecological and transdisciplinary readings that understand practice as an essential source of knowledge, history as an operative ground and theory as a creative endeavor we aim at bringing forward operational frameworks attentive to the emerging and supportive qualities of space itself, focusing on the collective and political dimension of architecture, and with a determined concern for its situated and embodied character.

The PhD student will inscribe her/his research within one of the following lines of work:

» Architectural imaginaries: narration as architectural tool. Imagination is our point of entrance into the virtual and the not-yet differentiated, the emergent and unfinished, the yet-to-come or the utopic. Thus, as we confront challenges as the climate crisis or the emergence of post-human sensibilities, imagination remains the essential faculty to keep the future open, democratic and inclusive. It is also a key instrument for an architectural practice willing to collectively transform our environment, for it is capable of placing us somewhere not there yet, making it concrete and present while letting us come together within it, to think it, make it and engage with it. With this position we want to focus on the architectural effectiveness of narrative and figurative devices as architectural tools capable of threading common spatialities through shared images and affective continuums. This ranges from literature and the arts, to novel readings of the architectural project as a form of narration or the role of architectural narratives to open up social participation in the production of our cities.

» Law and economy as architectural tools in the production of new urban commons. Law and economy are active producers of our everyday spaces, from the house to the territory but also of symbolic and affective realms. Within this line of research, we seek to analyze and critically describe both past and existing processes of this legal and economic spatial production in order to develop alternative practices capable of creatively rendering codes, scripts and protocols, as well as economical tools, from budgets to alternative forms of distribution and contribution, into operative architectural tools in bottom-up forms of spatial configuration.

Requirements and submission.

The candidate should present a research proposal where she/he puts forward a research hypothesis relating to either of these topics along a brief state of the art and/or link to previous works. ALICE will consider specially the maturity and innovative nature of the proposal as well as its ability to address contemporary issues of relevance for the architectural discipline.

The candidates must send their applications before May 17th 2020 with the following documentation:

  • Research Proposal (3000-5000 words)
  • CV (max. 3 pages)
  • Portfolio of architectural, writing and/or curatorial projects (professional and/or student work) (max 5MB)
  • Letter of recommendation.

Informal enquiries as well as final applications should be addressed to Lucía Jalón Oyarzun, Head of Research at ALICE ( Personal interviews (either in person or through video conference) will be held following a first selection of profiles based on this documentation.

About the EDAR Doctoral Program and the EPFL.

The Doctoral Program Architecture and Sciences of the City (EDAR) is part of Doctoral School of EPFL (EDOC). It brings together in one doctoral program the world of architecture and that of social sciences concerned with the inhabited space and combines basic and applied research in an interdisciplinary perspective. EPFL is Europe’s most cosmopolitan technical university. It welcomes students, professors and collaborators of more than 120 nationalities. EPFL has both a Swiss and international vocation and focuses on three missions: teaching, research and innovation. EPFL collaborates with an important network of partners, including other universities and colleges, secondary schools and gymnasiums, industry and the economy, political circles and the general public, with the aim of having a real impact on society.

Contact Info: 

Lucía Jalón Oyarzun
Head of Research ALICE (Atelier de la conception de l'espace)