“In the recognition of the existence of love lies the answer to despair. Work is that recognition given voice and name. ” (Audre Lorde, 1980)

Qianer is a feminist killjoy from Shanghai. Her research and practices aim to unmask coloniality and build a community of empowerment.

She is co-founder of Unmasking Space, a student initiative aiming to foreground grassroots voices and critically question the current knowledge production in architectural education. It has resulted in the establishment of a student-led elective course at the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich.

She is also co-founder of Sekundos - Morphologies of Identities, a student initiative that aims to recognize background identities in public spaces and to upkeep differences in the institution in the form of a musical podcast and live events.

She is an active member of the Parity Group, a fluid group of students, assistants, and professors from the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich, who meet to discuss issues around gender and race diversity, organizing the yearly Parity Talks in March.

She has practiced at Lacaton & Vassal Architectes (Paris), gen Architects (Shanghai), and has been a student assistant with Prof. Anne Lacaton and Chair of Sociology at ETH Zurich. She is now a research assistant at the Chair of Being Alive (Prof. Teresa Gali-Izard) and a teaching assistant at Architecture of Territory (Prof. Milica Topalovic).

She is now pursuing Architecture MSc at ETH Zurich. She received Architecture BSc at ETH Zurich and Architecture B.Eng at Tsinghua University (Beijing). She has spent one exchange semester at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Autumn 2016) and one exchange semester at Harvard Graduate School of Design (Autumn 2023). She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, English, German, and speaks French.

She loves to collaborate with others and join collective forces. Please write to zhu@arch.ethz.ch for any ideas of collaboration!


2023-ongoing        Unmasking Space: A Collaborative Platform for and by Students, elective course, the Department of the Ongoing, ETH Zurich [link]

writings, interviews, podcasts

2023                       «On the Question of Violence for Liberation», Harvard GSD
2023                       «Body as an Insurgent Agency», Harvard GSD
2023                       «Unmasking Space», co-writing with Unmasking Space members, Hochparterre, Zurich [link]
2023                       “On Decolonial Methodologies: A Journey Home”, in conversation with Marie Tina Asoh, SEKUNDOS podcast episode [link]
2022                       Kontextur Interview: Qianer Zhu [link]
2022                       “On Being Foreign: Position Oneself in Between”, in conversation with Bing Liu, SEKUNDOS podcast episode [link]
2022                       «Some thoughts on how to design», co-writing with Du, Hsu, and Rossi, supervisor: Dr. Hollyamber Kennedy (GTA), ETH Zurich
2022                       «Reinforcing Identities: Architecture Empowerment in Postcolonial Context», focus work writing, supervisor: Bernhard Böhm, Joni Kaçani, Chair of Prof. Philip Ursprung (GTA), ETH Zurich

workshops, talks

2024                        Public lecture at KITTIK (BFH Architektur), presentation with Unmasking Space members
2024                        “Dreams from the Front: Listening to Palestine”, workshop by SEKUNDOS x Leila Moon, Parity Talk 2024, ETH Zurich
2023                        “Tuesday Night Live”, online talk invited by Architekturtheorie und -wissenschaft TU Darmstadt, with Unmasking Space members
2023                        “From Palestine to Switzerland: A Folk Dance Tale”, workshop by SEKUNDOS x Dabke Lab, Parity Talk 2023, ETH Zurich [link]
2023                        “Walking: Towards a Guide for Grassroots Activism”, workshop by Unmasking Space x Gender Task Force (TU Graz) x Nazli Tümerdem, with guests ifa_diaspora (TU Berlin) x Volta Mendrisio (AAM), Parity Talk 2023, ETH Zurich
2023                        Jour Fixe “How we teach”, presentation on behalf of Unmasking Space with Shriya Chaudhry, ETH Zurich
2022                        “Collective Napping”, workshop by Unmasking Space x On Mental Goodness, ETH Zurich
2022                        Residency “in:dépendance” at Furka Pass, Chair for Architecture and Attitude (Prof. Jan De Vylder), with Unmasking Space members
2022                        Closing Roundtable with grassroots initiatives, moderated by Hollyamber Kennedy, Parity Talk 2022, ETH Zurich [link]
2022                        “Musical Picnic – Listening to Identity Morphologies”, workshop by SEKUNDOS, Parity Talk 2022, ETH Zurich [link]


2022                        3rd Prize of Social Architecture: Open Political Spaces Competition, Seoul
2021                         Excellence Scholarship & Opportunity Award (ESOP), full scholarship for Master’s study, ETH Zurich
2019                         Finalists of Inspireli Awards 2019, Czech Republic
2018                         Excellent Graduates, Tsinghua University
2015-2017               Scholarship for Academic Achievement, Tsinghua University
2017                          1st Prize of Anji National Bamboo Design Competition, Zhejiang
2017                          1st Prize of Beijing Construction Competition, Beijing
2016                         Baden-Württemberg Stipendium, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology