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Department of Architecture



Annette Spiro is a practicing architect in Switzerland and professor emeritus at ETH Zurich. After dreaming of seafaring and other professions she first trained as a gold- and silversmith at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich. She completed her internship in São Paulo, where she came into contact with Brazil for the first time. She later studied architecture at ETH Zurich, graduating under Flora Ruchat and winning the Hatt-Bucher Prize. She worked in Seville, Spain for Guillermo Vazquez Consuegra and for Herzog & de Meuron in Basel. In 1989 she emigrated to Brazil. She returned to Switzerland in 1991 and founded her own practice in Zurich together with her partner Stephan Gantenbein. After winning a number of competitions, they focused on housing and renovations, and also dealt with urban development topics.

In addition to her practice, she worked on a book about the Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha and published the first monograph on the architect in Europe. Annette Spiro has taught as lecturer at the Schools of Applied Sciences in Lucerne and Muttenz and as a guest lecturer at the International University in Baeza and El Escorial in Spain.

In 2007 she was appointed as full Professor of Architecture and Construction at ETH Zurich. For 15 years she mainly taught the 1st and 2nd year courses and diplomas and gave lectures in architecture and construction. She did a wide variety of research projects, including plaster, reciprocal framework, rammed earth construction, ceramics, hybrid constructions and building with paper. She is also co-founder of the materials collection at ETH Zurich.

Annette Spiro is the author and editor of the following books: Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Buildings and Projects, Niggli Verlag, Sulgen, 2002 and 2006; Über Putz, GTA editors, Zurich, 2011; The Working Drawing, The Architect’s Tool, Park Books Zurich, 2013; How To Begin, GTA editors Zurich, 2018; Innenputz, Park Books Zurich, 2022: About Render, Detail editor Munich, 2023. She has published further articles on Brazilian architecture and other topics in various journals and exhibition catalogues.

From 2009-22 she was member of the steering committee Sitterwerk Sankt Gallen.

She has been emeritus since 2022 and is currently a member of the Grossmünsterkollgium, which is responsible for the preservation of the Grossmünster in Zurich, and president of the editorial committee of the magazine Werk, Bauen und Wohnen. In future, Annette Spiro would like to draw graphic novels and continue writing on architectural topics.

The Sir Arthur Marshall Professor of Sustainable Design for 2023-24