Prof. Dr. Tom Avermaete | Histoire et théorie de l’urbanisme

Tom Avermaete est professeur d’histoire et de théorie de l’urbanisme à l’ETH Zurich depuis 2018. Ses recherches se concentrent sur l’architecture de la ville et les rôles, approches et outils en évolution des architectes et urbanistes selon une perspective transculturelle.

Exploring Urban Scale Models

Urban scale models are crucial for communicating urban design ideas between various stakeholders, from those directly involved in a project – e.g. client, developer, contractor, municipality – to the broader public. However, our knowledge about this tool is limited. Understanding the shifting role of urban design from the Plus

Co-opolis: The Collective Production of the City

Video now online! As urbanization intensifies all over the world, so do contestations over how city space is produced. Citizens, politicians, urban designers and architects become increasingly aware of the fact that the city can no longer be solely developed as the playing field of private interests or Plus

Urban Design as Commoning: Remembering the History of Participation

Under the headers of ‘collaboration’, ‘participatory design’ and ‘co-production’ participation is nowadays at the centre of the debate on urban design. Architects and urban designers are developing new concepts, tools and roles to comply with these new participatory modi operandi. However, it seems that it is sometimes forgotten Plus

POSTPONED: Public Space: The Real and the Ideal

2 to 5 July 2021 | 5th Biennial Conference of the International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture | Monte Verità (near Locarno), Switzerland. Keynote speakers: Margaret Crawford, Sarah Whiting. The 5th Biennial Conference of the International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture examines public space and its architecture Plus

The City Represented: Visions of Urban Living

14 May | 15:00–17:00 | Final Presentations Seminar | ETH Zurich Hönggerberg, HPT C 103 Lecturer: Dr. Cathelijne Nuijsink. This seminar takes a long-running international housing ideas competition from Japan to identify key topics in architecture culture.

Bloomsbury Studies in Modern Architecture: Sibyl Moholy-Nagy

5 March, 18:00 | Launch Book Series | Rote Hölle, HIL, ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg With Prof. Hilde Heynen (KU Leuven). With this series, the commissioning editors, Tom Avermaete and Janina Gosseye, aim to develop a more comprehensive historiography of the modern movement by bringing to light the work Plus

Public Space: The Real and the Ideal

5th Biennial Conference of the International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture. 2 to 5 July 2021 | Monte Verità (near Locarno), Switzerland.

Call for Papers: Public Space – the Real and the Ideal

Call for papers by 6th January 2020. The aim of the conference is to stress ideas and ideals on public space, both in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, as well as in (political) philosophy, against the background of the continuous development of technology, from smart phone to smart Plus

Collective Actors and the Production of the City: Urban Commons in Research

In her book Governing the Commons (1990), political economist and Nobel prize winner Elinor Ostrom identified spaces and infrastructures as ‘common resources’ fostered by groups of citizens in order to resist top-down governance and commodification. Today, the notion of the ‘urban commons’ appears as an index for historians Plus

gta Invites

Four sessions on selected Wednesdays, 12:00–13:00 | ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg, HIL D 57.1 (gta Ausstellungen hall) | Lecture Series. The «gta Invites» lecture series brings guests from outside the gta institute in dialogue with members of its staff to discuss forms and methods of research, and other frameworks for the organization of Plus

Methodological Workshop: Writing Commons Histories

9 October, 14:00–16:00 | ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg, HIL D 75.1 | By registration only. This methodological workshop discusses how the historiography of the city could be articulated through the lens of citizen action and common resources. What sets of collective actors, both organized or informal, emerge as alternative topics of research? What methodological Plus

Architects Don’t Build the «Oikos»

In many countries around the globe, the political landscape has been shaken by the rise of nationalist politics. With a right-wing agenda and emphasise on identity, it opposes the alleged left-wing elite. Newcomer to the tribe in The Netherlands is Thierry Baudet, who holds a PhD in legal Plus

Architecture Monogram 2: Anouk Vogel, Soliloquy

Architecture Monogram is a book series on emerging architects, landscape designers, photographers, and writers from Belgium and the Netherlands in which the designers reveal the personal obsessions and motivations that stimulate their design process. In this second issue of the series Swiss-Dutch landscape architect Anouk Vogel reflects upon Plus

Summer School: Visualizing the Architecture Competition as «Contact Zone»

4-10 September | ETH Zürich, Hönggerberg campus, D-ARCH, gta Exhibitions This intensive international summer school investigates the «contact zone» as a new methodological tool to better understand the global-ness of architecture production. For one full week students work in a real exhibition venue (gta Exhibitions) to theorize and visualize Plus

Tom Avermaete, Against Architectural Amnesia

Prof. Dr. Tom Avermaete from the chair for History and Theory of Urban Design is now part of the NSL. Learn in our interview how he investigates the basis of the discipline, brings non-Western experiences to the spotlight, and provides a basis for dealing with contemporary urban issues.

Acculturating the Shopping Centre

Acculturating the Shopping Centre examines whether the shopping centre should be qualified as a global architectural type that effortlessly moves across national and cultural borders in the slipstream of neo-liberal globalization, or should instead be understood as a geographically and temporally bound expression of negotiations between mall developers Plus

Colloquium: Writing Global Histories

17 May 2019, 09:00–12:00 | ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg, HIT E 51 (Siemens-Auditorium). Convened by Tom Avermaete and Cathelijne Nuijsink. Our histories of urban design and architecture remain sur­ prisingly eurocentric, while important developments occur in other geographies. This colloquium explores the possibili­ ties of a more global perspective Plus

Colloquium: Urban Commons: Exploring the Collective Architectural Resources of the City

3 April 2019, 09:30–15:30 | ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg, HIL E4. The architecture of the city has always been based on a set of common codes and conventions. Explicated in texts, drawings and models or tacitly defined as compositional principles, typological choices or construction modes, these codes and conventions Plus

The City as Commons: A History of Architectural Codes and Convention

2 April 2019, 17:00–18:00 | ETH Zurich, Zentrum, Auditorium Maximum (HG F 30). Inaugural Lecture of Prof. Dr. Tom Avermaete. The architecture of the city has always been based on a set of common codes and conventions. Explicated in texts, drawings and models or tacitly defined as compositional Plus

Book launch: The Shopping Centre: A Malleable Type

13 March 2019, 17:00–19:00 | HIL H 40.4 (Plaza). To celebrate the publication of Acculturating the Shopping Centre and the soft­cover edition of Shopping Towns Europe, Prof. Margaret Crawford (UC Berkeley), Paul Robbrecht (Robbrecht en Daem architecten) and Thomas Volstorf (Riken Yamamoto; Field Shop) will give brief presentations Plus

Urban and Rural Transformations, Addis Ababa, 2016. © Sascha Delz, ETH Zürich.
Transformations urbaines et du paysage, Addis Abeba, 2016. © Sascha Delz, ETH Zürich.

The doctoral programme at the ETH Zurich Department of Architecture’s Institute of Landscape and Urban Studies (LUS) offers one fellowship position starting on 1 October 2024. 100%, Zurich-based, fixed-term. Job description

The LUS Doctoral Programme

The doctoral programme at the Institute of Landscape and Urban Studies (LUS), ETH Zurich D-ARCH, is dedicated to exploring contemporary challenges in urban and environmental transformation within broader socio-cultural, political-economic, and theoretical frameworks. This programme is designed to foster critical discourse and nurture independent, innovative, and proactive research that addresses pressing social and environmental issues.

The LUS Institute engages with the production of landscape, territory, and human settlements across various scales and diverse global geographies. Key research areas include landscape and designed ecologies, energy transition, agroecology, hydrology, regenerative agriculture, adaptive infrastructures, housing, and socio-economic development with a focus on urban inequality. Geographically, the LUS Institute’s research spans Switzerland, Europe, and the broader global South.

By bringing together disciplines such as architecture, landscape architecture, urban and territorial design, and planning, as well as the social sciences, the doctoral programme at the LUS Institute adopts an inter- and transdisciplinary approach. This approach encompasses a diverse range of methodological approaches, from qualitative and quantitative research to ethnography, critical cartography, design-based action research, systems research, and urban theory.

About the Programme

The doctoral programme is conducted in English. With a current enrollment of over 25 participants, the LUS doctoral programme encourages both individual research and collaborative engagement within the doctoral community. The programme offers multiple platforms for interaction, such as the LUS methods seminar, institute-wide colloquia, workshops, and doctoral reviews. Embedded in the vibrant doctoral education environment of the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich, the LUS doctoral programme actively collaborates with the doctoral programme at the Institute of History and Theory of Architecture (gta), ETH Zurich. This collaboration enhances interdisciplinary perspectives and provides enriched research opportunities.

Participating Chairs at the LUS

While the proposed research should align with the individual and collective research agendas of the participating chairs at the LUS Institute, candidates are welcome to apply with an independent research topic, provided it aligns with the collective competencies of the Institute. The LUS Institute currently comprises seven chairs, each contributing to its diverse research landscape:

Job description

Conduct original doctoral research on an individually determined topic within the disciplines of landscape and urban studies. The fellowship places no restriction on the geography or time period of the proposed research project. You are expected to devote a small part of your time to community building activities at the LUS doctoral school and co-curate LUS Talks during the second year of your studies. See past LUS Talks here.

100% doctoral employment at the ETH standard rate, with an expected term of three-and-a-half years to completion, pending successful approval of the doctoral plan at the end of year one.

Your Profile

We are seeking individuals with a background in architecture, landscape architecture, urban and territorial design and planning, and social sciences, with strong research or design experience that can benefit from the inter- and transdisciplinary engagements offered by the institute.

You must hold a university diploma or master’s degree obtained at university level (equivalent to the FHEQ-Level 7) in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning, and social science, or related fields.

You must additionally demonstrate excellent research and writing skills.

We offer

The programme provides funding for up to three-and-a-half years, with a potential extension. You will be employed at full employment (100% pensum), based on the ETH Zurich doctoral student contract, with monthly salaries according to the ‘standard rate’. For a detailed calculation of salaries, please refer to this link.

You are required to take up residency in Zurich during the period of the scholarship. Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

Applications must be addressed to the Institute of Landscape and Urban Studies rather than to individual professors. Applicants must note that the application will be solely evaluated for their content and the applicants are thus requested to not contact individual professors before applying.

We are looking forward to receiving your online application with the following documents by 15 March 2024, 23:59 CET:

  1. Letter of motivation (1 page).
  2. Outline for the Proposed Research Project (4 pages + addendums). The document should include the research title, a review of the current state-of-the-art related to the proposed topic, clearly defined research questions, articulated aims and objectives, anticipated formats for publication, and a demonstration of why the LUS Institute is an ideal host for the proposed research. The main content must adhere to a 4-page limit, utilizing 11pt. font and single-spacing. Supplementary pages may be used for up to three illustrations (maps, drawings, images), bibliography, and a project timeline.
  3. Curriculum vitae (including publications, portfolio, and work samples, max. 10 pages).
  4. Published piece of writing if available (1 text, max. 15 pages).
  5. Name, affiliation, and email addresses of 2 referees.

Please note that applications missing any of the documents listed above and/or exceeding specified page limits will not be considered for evaluation.

The programme exclusively accepts application documents submitted through the ETH online application portal. Applications submitted via email or postal services will not be considered.

Application Timeline

Further information about the programme, the participating faculty and the application process.

Applicants are requested to refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) before approaching the programme coordinator. Only for questions that cannot be addressed through the FAQs contact the doctoral programme coordinator Nitin Bathla. Requests sent to any other email will not be considered.


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Application period: 1 February 2024 – 30 April 2024. Master of Advanced Studies in Urban and Territorial Design ETH Zürich D-ARCH LUS and EPFL ENAC HRC joint master programme.


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