Mariam Kamara highlights a diverse group of new faculty appointments at the ETH Zurich

Mariam Kamara. Photo courtesy of the architect, via Prince Claus Fund.

Renowned West African architect Mariam Kamara will be among twelve new professors joining the faculty of the ETH Zurich, the school announced on its website late last month. 

Her appointment represents a “turning point” for the ETH, as the school’s faculty is now predominantly female for the first time in its history. She is joined by another new full-time appointment to the department, Maria Conen, who had previously been on the faculty as an adjunct professor of architecture and housing. 

Kamara’s previous academic experience has included stops at Brown and the Harvard GSD, where she was the Aga Khan critic for 2021. Kamara’s practice atelier masōmī is well-regarded across the design world for her innovative work surrounding memory, the elevation of non-Western architectural traditions, vernacular design, and placemaking. Recently she was named as an honorary fellow by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

Previously on Archinect: Mariam Kamara on the higher aspirations of African architects

The school ranks consistently among the best graduate and undergraduate design programs in the world. Kamara and her new colleagues are now tasked to help the ETH “reposition itself internationally” as it looks to compete for the world’s brightest students, leveraging a research-driven alternative approach to pedagogy which has thus far been presented in lectures at Harvard, the Columbia GSAPPMIT, and her alma mater, the University of Washington

She comes to the post with a host of prestigious accolades, including being named a 2017 LafargeHolcim Middle East + Africa Award winner, David Adjaye’s 2018-19 Rolex Arts Initiative protégée, a Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture nominee, and the 2019 Prince Claus Award laureate. Recently announced projects include the Bët-bi Museum in Senegal and the Hayyan master plan for Sharjah, UAE.

Related on Archinect: The new Bët-bi Museum by atelier masōmī will continue a shift toward cultural justice in Senegal

“No matter where you are, architecture is a process of discovery,” she said in her 2020 interview with the New York Times. “It’s not just space-making; it’s about discussion and how you turn desire into form.”

The ETH’s full list of new appointments and promotions can be found here

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