Since January 2017, ETH and UPM have joined forces to develop the Master of Collective Housing UPM / ETH. The ETH Zurich website has published an interview with Andrea Deplazes, one of the promoters of this agreement, professor at ETH and co-director of the MCH. Here is the interview, translated and summarized.
How did the collaboration between these two universities emerge and how will it benefit the students?
About 10 years ago I was invited to the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) for a course in the Faculty of Architecture. There I became acquainted with Professor José María de Lapuerta and his Collective Housing program. I realised that it was an unique offer in Europe, where the field of collective housing was taught from an international perspective. This international point of view is exciting for Swiss architects not only because they will learn about housing from a Spanish and Latin American perspective, but also because they will enjoy a six-month stay in Madrid, having the opportunity to discover a beautiful city.
In addition, they will profit from many international contacts. As MCH already has several successful years under its belt, it does not make sense to offer a separate program within ETH. Consequently, we decided to join them.
How would you define the profiles of the students?
Architects who already have a master's degree (or an equivalent qualification), with practical experience in housing who want to continue their education. The different areas in the program are taught from different approaches, from both theoretical and practical perspectives, with groups, workshops and individual projects.
What can a participant expect from this masters?
In addition to the workshops, which are led by international, well-known architects, we will have parallel courses, conferences and seminars. Classes are active and dynamic, often leading to open debates. In addition, with each workshop students will develop a practical project, which will be discussed in an open format to profit from the different architectonical and cultural approaches.
Where is it located?
The course takes place in Madrid, in the School of Architecture of the UPM, which has all necessary materials for classes. Madrid is a beautiful city where living costs are much cheaper than in Zurich. This fact will certainly help potential candidates coming from abroad fund their stay. There is also a stay in Zurich, which is included in the fee.
When does it start?
The course will begin in January 2018 and runs until July 2018. The application form for those who are interested is available at the MCH website (www.mchmaster.com). The program has attracted a lot of interest and positions are limited.
How does the registration process work?
Architects interested in the program should complete an application form on the website, where they will have to submit a portfolio of their work, their academic curriculum, a personal letter of motivation and two letters of recommendation. From the applications received, different candidates will be selected for a personal interview (either in person or by Skype).
What advice do you give to new graduates who wish to open an architectural office?
The passion for the profession is the most important thing. Those one who studied architecture with the goal of winning big money are totally wrong. This career requires a lot of persistence and perseverance, because there are many competitors and they never sleep. In addition, it has another disadvantage: the second always loses. It is like in professional sports, where there are many athletes, but few reach the top, few reach the elite.