Villars-sur-Ollon to host assembly of architecture students

A partial view of the event's poster. © Grégoire Guex-Crosier, 2019 EASA

A partial view of the event's poster. © Grégoire Guex-Crosier, 2019 EASA

Switzerland has been selected to host the 2019 European Architecture Student Assembly (EASA), set to take place next July. The topic for the event will be tourism, with a variety of talks, seminars and full-scale models on the agenda.

Tourism brings with it many benefits, but also challenges – on a global, local and individual level. For two weeks in late July 2019, the European Architecture Student Assembly (EASA) will look at the role architecture plays in responding to these challenges.

The event will be held in Villars-sur-Ollon, in the canton of Vaud, marking the second time Switzerland is hosting the event; the 2005 edition was held in Bergun, in the canton of Graubünden. The Swiss organizing committee comprises around 15 students, including approximately 10 from EPFL’s architecture section and the remainder from ETH Zurich, the Mendrisio Academy of Architecture (in the canton of Ticino) and the Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD).

Over 50 different countries

EASA is a non-profit association run by architecture students. It is intended to promote the culture, exchange and teaching of architecture throughout Europe and is a meeting platform that promotes learning through manual and practical experimentation.

EASA, which dates back to 1981, is a major event held every year in a city somewhere in Europe. The 2019 edition is expected to attract some 600 architecture students and recent graduates from across the continent, as well as delegations from India and South America and an international delegation. A total of over 50 different countries will be represented. The event will look specifically at the relationship between architecture and tourism, with around 30 different activities planned including theoretical seminars, physical models, interactive presentations and performing-arts shows. In honor of the event’s host town nestled in the Swiss Alps, a special focus will be put on travel in this region.

An opportunity for students

“EASA gives architecture students an opportunity to learn in an environment beyond their school, and for students who haven’t already built full-scale models, a chance to do so,” says Adam El-Hamadeh, a second-year Bachelor’s student in architecture at EPFL and member of the 2019 EASA organizing committee. El-Hamadeh took part in the 2018 edition in Croatia, where he gave a workshop. “Villars-sur-Ollon is an excellent case study. It has a long history of attracting tourists, especially in the winter, but has had to reposition itself over the past few years and keep its infrastructure and hotels operating all year long due to Switzerland’s increasingly warm winters,” he says.

With its collegial and decentralized operation, EASA is unique in that it is entirely managed by students. Its visit to Switzerland will therefore not fail to offer its organisers a unique associative experience, particularly in terms of project management, group organisation, consensus negotiations and the search for sponsors or media support.