At ETH Zurich, such events are held regularly in various departments and on various topics. Often, such workshops or symposiums are invited not only theoretical scientists on a specific topic related to the stated topic, but also practitioners from related fields.
The workshop Beton Federateur (“concrete-unifier”) was organized by the head of the Department of Theory and history of architecture at ETH University, Laurent Stalder. Not only architectural theorists, but also practicing architects and structural engineers were invited to this event. Participants were invited to make a small report, each of which considered the topic of concrete from its own unique angle: one speaker spoke about his scientific work related to the study of the experience of asbestos-cement in the United States, the other, the head of the design Bureau, about his view on the history of concrete in bridge construction in Switzerland. All reports were in groups of three. Each group was united by some common aspect. After each of the three reports, discussions were held between all participants.
For the first time being at such an event – I, frankly, did not quite understand what all these quite serious people are doing. Let me remind you: some of them are practitioners, not academic theorists. But about the middle of the workshop, I realized that this format allows each of the participants to take a much broader look at the subject of their work. And not so much from a practical point of view as from a philosophical one.
I also drew attention to another, in my opinion, important aspect: such events are sponsored by the University itself. Among the participants were invited experts from Canada, France and Germany. Accordingly, I dare to assume that these participants were paid for the trip and accommodation in Zurich. The event did not have any “status character” – just an ordinary Symposium on, in fact, a philosophical topic, including (attention!) theorists of architecture in the amount of not more than 20 people. Accordingly, the management of ETN considers the practice of such events important and invests money in it.
I was wondering if there is a similar practice in Russian architectural and construction universities such practice? In the foreseeable future, I will try to study this question.