1937 - 2012
Pioneer of the modern Switzerland, architect, educator and connector of opposed architectural productions; meet Flora Ruchat-Roncati. Flora was born in 1937 in Ticino, and obtained her degree in architecture and design from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, in 1952, and she became the first appointed female professor at ETH Zurich (1985-2002).
Over her years of teaching at ETH Zurich, she inspired generations of young Swiss architects into adapting a new fresh perspective on every project they imagine, giving more importance to the users experience and acceptance over professional critics.
In addition, throughout her career, she added a political flexible federalist dimension to her work when she broke cultural boundaries between the Italian, German and French speaking Switzerland, participating into and achieving the construction of major architectural works. This included the TransJurane infrastructural project, part of the EPFL campus, as well as many notable constructions in her native region Ticino. Part of her philosophy was her pronounced preference for projects in shared partnerships and cooperative authorships. For example, she shared practices with Renato Salvi, Dolf Schnebli and Tobias Ammann.
Her influence on the architectural world grew big in the mid-1970s, named the ‘poet of concrete’. One of her strongest signatures was to have no architectural signature and to be sceptical towards her own expositions. Inspired by Le Corbusier, she tried to find solutions to social and technical developments by a strong deliberate use of concrete as a material.
Written by: Fatma Abdi.