Since 2011 Philip Ursprung has been a Professor of History of Art and Architecture at ETH Zürich and Designated Dean of the Department of Architecture. He earned his PhD in Art History at Freie Universität Berlin in 1993 after his studies in Geneva, Vienna and Berlin and his Habilitation at ETH Zurich in 1999. He taught at the University of Geneva, the Hochschule der Künste Berlin, the GSAPP of Columbia University New York, the Barcelona Institute of Architecture, and the University of Zürich. Philip Ursprung served as advisor to the Swiss Federal Government as a member of the Eidgenössische Kunstkommission from 1997 to 2004. He was the president of the Fondation Nestlé pour l’Art from 2003 to 2014 and president of the Jury of Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart from 2007–2011. Since 2013 he had been president of the scientific board of Zentralinstiut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich. Philip Ursprung’s research deals with the history of modern and contemporary art and architecture with a focus on North American art in the 1960s and 1970s and European architecture since the 1980s. Among other publications, he is the editor of Herzog & de Meuron: Natural History (Lars Müller Publishers, 2002).
Abeer Seikaly is a Jordanian Palestinian interdisciplinary creative thinker and maker, working across architecture, design, fine art, and cultural production. Her practice is deeply rooted in the processes of memory and cultural empowerment, expressing architecture as a social technology that has the power to redefine how we engage with-and within-space. Seikaly challenges traditional notions of belonging and identity, and her work strives to be in constant dialogue with perceptions and contemporary understandings of time, materiality, and the role that women play in the shadow of a patriarchal structure. After receiving her BArch and BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2002, she pursued an architecture career in luxury retail design and mixed-use developments. In 2012 she won The Rug Company’s Middle East Wallhanging Design Competition for exploring the duality between nostalgia and the labor of new craft. The following year she was awarded the international Lexus Design Award, for a performative structural system which explored the social implications of creating homes for displaced communities. In 2015, she co-founded and co-directed Amman Design Week, a participatory learning initiative that seeks to promote and foster a culture of design and collaboration in Jordan. In addition to numerous features including the MoMA in New York, the MAK in Vienna, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Seikaly is also a frequent speaker, panelist, and visiting lecturer.
Mario Monotti graduated from Zurich Polytechnic with a degree in Civil Engineering and subsequently earned a PhD in Technical Sciences where he focused his research on the plastic analysis of reinforced concrete slabs. Since 2009 he has held the position of Professor of Structural Design at the Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio, Switzerland. He is also the founder and owner of the Monotti Ingegneri Consulenti SA in Locarno. His company specialises in structural design in architectural contests in the public and private sectors on national and international levels. Mario Monotti works collaboratively with young architects. His name is associated with the school of Leutschenbach of C. Kerez (European steel design award 2011), the House on Two Pillars of C. Scheidegger and J. Keller (Betonpreis 2017), the National Pavilion of the Kingdom of Bahrain for Expo Milano 2015 of Anne Holtrop and many other project and exhibition pavilions.
Mariana Popescu is a post-doctoral researcher at the Block Research Group (BRG) at the Institute of Technology in Architecture at ETH, involved in the NCCR Digital Fabrication. Popescu is an architect with a strong interest in innovative ways of approaching the fabrication process and use of materials. She studied architecture at the Delft University of Technology, before obtaining her PhD at the BRG in 2019. Her research focuses on the development of KnitCrete, a novel, material-saving, labour-reducing, cost-effective formwork system for casting of doubly-curved geometries in concrete using 3D knitting. She is the main author of the award winning KnitCandela shell and has been included in the MIT Technology Review Innovator Under 35 list in 2019.
Mitul Desai graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008 with M.Arch, followed by an internship at Studio Mumbai. This engagement evolved and continues in his work as a collaborator for publications, exhibitions and installations in India and abroad. Today Mitul has his own architectural practice and continues to engage with various design institutions in his hometown, Surat. A self- taught photographer, he rigorously documents the ever-changing Indian landscape. Cities, urban fringes, industrial landscapes, demolition, material studies and informal architecture are a few of many photographic interests that he considers crucial for his ongoing dialogue with Bijoy Jain. Architecture, photography, research and teaching are seamless and interdependent entities for his ever-growing interest in culture, anthropology and habitat.
Francesca Simone is the granddaughter of architect Renzo Mongiardino. In 2016 she was a consultant in the curation of the exhibition (translated): ‘A Homage to Renzo Mongiardino (1916–1998), Architect and Scenographer’, curated by Tommaso Tovaglieri at the Castello Sforzesco, Milan. Simone also contributed to the 2019 edition of the book ‘Roomscapes, Renzo Mongiardino’, originally published in 1993 by Rizzoli.
Rubelli is a historic Venetian textile company that creates, produces and sells furnishing products, in particular fabrics, for both residential and contract use. The brand portfolio includes; alongside Rubelli Venezia and Rubelli Casa, the proprietary brands Donghia and Dominique Kieffer by Rubelli, as well as Armani Casa exclusive textiles by Rubelli license. Rubelli is able to monitor all phases of the production process thanks to its style department where designers with technical, artistic, and historic skills work, and to its own mill in Como which produces over five hundred thousand meters of fabric a year. The company also owns a comprehensive historical archive of over seven thousand textile documents, a precious source of inspiration for new collections and for special projects. Rubelli has a presence in over eighty countries, With links to the world of culture and the arts, through this Rubelli supports museums and young designers, organises exhibitions, and periodically promotes events.
Rebecca Jeffs is a fashion designer who graduated from Central Saint Martins University with a Masters Degree in Fashion Design: Womenswear in 2018, winning the L’Oréal Professional Creative Award with her MA Collection. The collection won praise for its innovative and tactile use of textile on the body, from fringing, embroidery, knotting, gathering and stretching fabrics, to incorporating unusual elements such as feathers and shells. Jeffs began her career in fashion with internships at Alexander McQueen, Maison Margiela under Matthieu Blazy and at Dior under Raf Simons. For the last three years, she has been working as a textile designer at Loewe in Paris, France. She specialises in incorporating textiles, embroidery and fabric manipulation into the women’s and men’s ready-to-wear collections, directed by Jonathan Anderson. The fabric techniques of her designs are developed by artisans around the world, including India, Italy, France, and Madagascar.
More guest critics of the midterm and final reviews will be announced during the semester.