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November Talks 2019 at the FA CTU in Prague

Changing Boundaries of the Profession in a Changing World

This year, the November discussions by international architects, urban planners and landscape architects at the Faculty of Architecture at the CTU will address the changing boundaries of these professions and the tasks assigned to them in today’s rapidly changing world. This cycle is part of a series of lectures supported since 2009 by the foundation Sto-Stiftung in architecture schools in London, Paris, Venice, Stuttgart and Graz. At the FA CTU, it is now entering its fifth year.

“I contacted architects, urban designers, land-use planners and landscape architects whose work reaches across the boundaries of these traditionally clearly delineated fields and places an emphasis on the creation of an inhabitable, or better yet liveable environment, regardless of the scale or the type of commission. In their projects it is hard to determine where one profession starts and the other ends, and for cooperation and teaching of this profession it forms a great challenge”, explains Irena Fialová, vice-dean for international relations at the FA CTU. The title of the cycle: “Transformations: changing boundaries of professions in a changing world” is linked to the theme “New Dimensions: Reflections of Increasing Scale and Overlapping Disciplines”, to be the subject of the international conference of the European Association for Architecture Education (EAAE), which the FA CTU will organise in Prague at the end of August 2020.

The cycle will be launched with the talk by Ivana and Jan Benda, Czech-Canadian architects and urban designers with extensive global professional experience, now living again in Toronto after spending the past 20 years working in China. Their theme is connected to the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, and is a look backwards to the vital research conducted in the 1970s under the leadership of Jiří Ševčík at the newly autonomous Faculty of Architecture – the source from which they drew for the next three decades in their international architectural and urban-planning career.

Second in the series is Jean-Marc Fritz, a French architect and planner, partner in the office SEURA, and co-author of the incredibly complex urban-landscape-infrastructure project of the new transport hub, park and urban centre of Les Halles in Paris. Understandably, this lecture will address this locality, the ‘Belly of Paris’, and its latest rebuilding as planned and coordinated by SEURA.

The third lecturer will be Michel Desvigne, a major French landscape architect and, in 2014, one of the stars of the annual Prague summer conference reSITE. Desvigne has provided landscape designs in collaboration with major world architectural studios such as Herzog & de Meuron, Foster + Partners or Jean Nouvel. He will address the transformation of the profession of landscape architect and its challenges, which now involve climate and ecology more than aesthetics, as was previously the case.

On the first Monday of December, the lecture series ends with the address of Ali Madanipour, an urban theorist and a professor of urban planning viewed from its sociological aspect. Madanipour is the author of dozens of highly cited publications. His personal experience of childhood and youth in the Middle East, followed by British education and training in critical thought have allowed him to perceive the problematics of European urban forms in wider contexts and open forth key themes. “He is interested in the drums that resound the deepest,” in the words of Irena Fialová.

Each of the lectures will be held on Monday at 6: 00 p.m. in the lecture hall 155 Gočár at the Faculty of Architecture, Thákurova 9, Prague 6-Dejvice. All lectures will be in English and are intended not only for students but also the general public. Entrance is free and handicapped-accessible. At 5:30 p.m., a welcome drink will be offered in the lobby along with an informal meeting with the lecturers.