Javier Fernández Contreras

Javier Fernández Contreras is a Geneva-based architect and architectural theorist, and the head of the Department of Space Design/Interior Architecture at HEAD – Genève. His work explores the relationship between architecture, representation, and media, with a specific focus on the role of interiors in the construction of contemporaneity.

Contreras studied Architecture at TU Delft and ETSA Madrid, where he graduated with an M.Arch degree in 2006 and completed a Ph.D. in architectural theory in 2013, summa cum laude. In 2015, he was a finalist in the 10th arquia/tesis competition with his doctoral thesis The Miralles Projection: Thinking and Representation in the Architecture of Enric Miralles. His recent publications include the books The Miralles Projection (Applied Research + Design Publishing, 2020), Manifesto of Interiors: Thinking in the Expanded Media (HEAD – Publishing, 2021), Scènes de Nuit: Night & Architecture (Asimétricas, 2021), Intimacy Exposed: Toilet, Bathroom, Restroom (Spector Books, 2023), and Nocturnal History of Architecture (Spector Books, 2024). His critical essays have been published in a variety of architectural books and media, including Massilia Annuaire des Études Corbuséennes, Burning Farm, Superposition, Marie-José Van Hee Architecten, India Mahdavi, Drawing Matter, Bitácora, and RADDAR, among others.

Contreras is the director of several research programs such as Scènes de Nuit, a platform that investigates the entanglements between night and architecture, and The Future of Humanitarian Design (HUD), a research project in collaboration with the Geneva Graduate Institute and the University of Copenhagen that explores how architecture, technology, and political science can address the increasing challenges in humanitarian action. His work has earned him prizes in various international competitions, including the 2020 Concentrico Architecture and Design Festival. With HEAD – Genève, recent distinctions include the 2023 Frame Award (Set Design of the Year) for the Playing Fields project, an invitation to the 2021 Seoul Architecture Biennale for the Circa Diem project (in collaboration with EPFL), the 2020 Red Dot Award (Brands and Communication) and the 2020 Frame Award (Innovation category) for the Space Duality project, as well as a 2019 Design Prize Switzerland nomination for the #Looslab project.

Associate Professor HES - Head of Department