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18 Aug 2011 / Yvonne Michel

trans20 relevance : call for contribution

Zurich, July 20, 2011. trans is a semi-annual professional journal of the Department of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETHZ and has been managed by an independent student editorial team since 1997. The journal addresses current issues in architecture and urban development from a variety of perspectives, such as the humanities, politics, philosophy and the arts. trans thus sees itself as a platform for interdisciplinary discourse.

In view of recent political and economic turmoil as well as increasing individualization, budding architects can quickly be at a loss to explain the influence and significance of their discipline. After the last issue of trans traced creative influence and explored the meaning of the term «composition», the questions of the significance and role of architecture will be addressed in its next issue, entitled «relevance». <trans20> will explore the self-image and public image of the discipline.

What is the relevance of architecture in the 21st century? Efficiency, productivity, and functionality seem to have become established as basic social maxims. Global phenomena such as migration, climate change, and economic instability require new approaches and solutions. Do today’s architects have appropriate answers? Is more pragmatism needed or is architecture developing into an abstract art form? Away from the context towards a focus on individual elements? From artistic value to investment value? Are Swiss architects losing their importance and becoming reduced to design consultants as they compete with specialists and general contractors?
The image of architects seems unclear and their role in society rather controversial. How can so-called laymen understand our passion? Is the ‘added value’ of an architect still worth something to them? What status do ordinary construction jobs have or is it only iconic star architecture that elicits excitement and appreciation? What significance is attributed to building and sustainability when everything is focused on constant renewal, and energy issues are being increasingly foregrounded? What role should universities assume as centers of innovation, and the ETHZ as a player on the international stage? What can architectural criticism contribute, for example the 20th issue of trans?

«Relevance» means being both important and significant in a particular context. This context is temporal and in constant change, just like the relevance of architecture and architects.

Who has answers that reflect what has gone before yet point forward – students, architects, everyone? Practitioners or theoreticians? Developers or planners? Artists or rationalists? We are interested in fostering discussion of different positions, directions, and perspectives. The form of your contribution to this discussion can be diverse, ranging from a scientific article, personal essay, comment, and portrait to illustrations, photo series, or collages, depending on the content.

We welcome a short description of your proposed submission in the form of an abstract. This should be no longer than one DIN A4 page or 600 words, possibly supplemented with a few pictures. Please send us your abstract by e-mail to the address below by September 18, 2011. The final contribution is due by December 18, 2011. <trans20> will be available in selected bookstores in February 2012.

pls spread it in your schools and offices. thanks a lot. yvy


HIL D 32


8093 Zürich


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