Professor and architect Sille Pihlak is appointed head of the Faculty of Architecture at the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA). The youngest dean of EKA promises to widen the horizons of the profession and highlight the importance of spatial visionaries in contemporary society.
"Architecture is more than just individualistic house drawings or data-driven urban space design; it also includes a complex social fabric, all of which are intertwined in physical space. So, just as in the rest of the world, the time for change has arrived in architecture, with the academy taking the first bold steps," the new dean said.
Professor Andres Ojar, who has been dean for the last five years, will continue as a professor in the faculty, just like his predecessors, Toomas Tammis, Jüri Soolep and Veljo Kaasik.
In her everyday work, Pihlak is working out a new spatial culture, seeking alternatives to conventional building aesthetics and solutions derived from ethical obligations to tackle climatic and social changes.
"If architecture is a reflection of societal values rather than short-term fashion trends, then many new aspects have been added to our desk - from material science to manufacturing technologies, from artistic possibilities to economic constraints, from the footprint of the building to the field of meaning of the facilities - that must be woven into a complete living environment in this very fragmented world," she said. "Where else can you experiment if not in the academy and in Estonia?"
Rector Mart Kalm thinks it is important that EKA keeps its finger on the pulse. "The younger the dean, the more innovative her architectural ideas."
"In the early 21st century, female students took over architecture studies in the Western world, while lecturers remained predominantly male. Our new female dean is an important harbinger of change in this context," added the rector.
Sille Pihlak has a bachelor's degree in interior architecture from EKA, studied at the Southern California Institute of Architecture SCI-Arc and graduated cum laude from the Vienna University of Applied Sciences. She defended her doctoral thesis in December 2020 at the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA), which is on the topic of development of computational-based timber architecture in Estonian context.
Editor: Kristina Kersa