Lines

Lange Erlen, Basel

1/34 Saul Steinberg, Parade, 1945 

 

Lange Erlen is a most extraordinary constructed landscape at the heart of Basel. The Atlas produced last semester has documented a complex landscape of epic technicity combining and conflating mechanical instruments, water and railway infrastructure, with woodland, agriculture and the everyday life of the city. Last semester’s interventions have showed new ways of seeing, using and transforming the landscape of Lange Erlen. Small points were matched by great landscape transformations providing a foundation for responding to the needs of an expanding city.

 

We will continue the study of Lange Erlen in collaboration with Professors Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron in larger scale proposals for housing to provide much needed densification of Basel. We shall follow their mantra to ‘build on the built’. But as the deeply layered nature of Lange Erle has shown, the built and the unbuilt are ambiguously united. We shall search for opportunities to densify the city through grafting housing into the remaining voids, unfinished settlements or abandoned infrastructure while reinforcing the existing landscape setting.

 

            Points and lines and space

Having looked at the landscape of Lange Erlen as a field defined by points, this semester we shall focus on the line. A line goes; it has direction. Extended straight it gets from A to B in the shortest possible distance and asserts an edge. When cranked or curved it embraces or encloses; it takes the long way, creates more surface and more spaces and responds to what is already there. A line also separates one condition and another. It creates boundary and threshold. And within the thickness of the line architectural space can be created and inhabited. The architectural line implies scale, repetition and articulation rendered in construction. Cities and territories are made of lines whether in the profile of a cornice or in the transition from town to landscape.

 

Our task for this semester will be to design large scale housing around the edges of Lange Erlen. Studio projects will be matched at a smaller scale with the densification in garden at ETH. With Spring approaching, previous planting and constructed elements will be supplemented and enriched with planting perennials that will add spatial definition, depth and complexity to the existing structures. Whether at the scale of the city as it will be in Basel, or hands on in the garden both projects will examine the relationship between individual and collective action and experience. We intend to work as architects but with the care of a gardener in Lange Erlen and to seed like gardeners with spatial intensions of an architect in the garden.

 

           Atlas of lines and construction

We begin the semester by expanded the Atlas of Lange Erlen with an Atlas of linear housing references. We will examine the relationship between construction and the landscape it defines. Seminal housing projects of the first halve of the 20th Century in and around Lange Erlen have been documented in the first Atlas. These local examples will be supplemented by housing studies from around Switzerland and internationally. The Modernist housing fecund in Basel will also be drawn out into history and recent built examples.

 

Design projects will focus on experiential and technical lines through materiality and construction. The studio will continue its primary concerns with tectonics and forms of urban and architectural bricolage started in the garden structure last semester. We will emphasise physical model making and the duality between the model as miniature building and its presence as an autonomous artefact. Like nature, the city grows with accumulation, repetition and diversification of very small material (and human) actions; construction is the DNA of architecture from which architecture grows.

 

 

Constructed Nature: Lange Erlen, Basel

1/30 Derelict railway track of the Deutsche Bahn in Basel - Photo by Dirk Wetzel 

 

 

Is nature today entirely constructed and managed or is there simply no nature left?

 

Either way, the distinction between nature and the artificial, nature and culture, or nature and architecture, is no longer possible since we became modern.

 

We will seek new methods to describe and design landscape and architecture as one environment in a unique collaboration with Professors Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. Taking the Lange Erlen area of Basel as a case study, we shall contribute to a long-term research project on the spatial and territorial future in Switzerland. While Lange Erlen’s unique composition of mechanical, biological and human systems has created a very specific landscape, its potential to be a new parkland or garden city is relevant to all post-industrial western territories.

 

Lange Erlen was constructed to store water for the city of Basel from Rhein in flood planes and reservoirs. Water management structures, transport infrastructure and agriculture have been added to create a mature landscape of layered points, lines and surfaces.

 

Points and lines and space

 

A corn of grain repeated becomes a field and blades of grass become meadows. Like nature, architecture is simply the accumulation, repetition and diversification of very small material actions; construction is the DNA of architecture and we shall focus on construction (instead of urban planning) to develop architectural proposals.

Industry and infrastructure add large singular structures. It is the nature of landscapes to be constructed of large and small artefacts composed in a manner to bring a proper productive and experiential capacity for human existence.

 

 

The relationship between the small and the large should not be confused with hierarchy of political status, architectural meaning or indeed of beauty. A gate can charge landscape with as much spatial and political energy as a tower or power station. The art of architecture may quite simply be the design and arrangement of these parts to create the most beautiful and civilized environments to sustain productive and social life together.

 

Atlas

 

We will consider the future of Lange Erlen through the Atlas; a territorial survey at all scales. With feet on the ground, we shall produce a survey of what we find without discrimination. The territorial scale will be inscribed in the micro and the macro will show the patterns of the small. Into the Atlas, we will ask you to propose a new architecture, a new future for the area. In the first semester, we shall focus on a point, a singular architectural structure with the presence and purpose to affect. In the second semester, we shall extend the point in lines, into architectural interventions with greater capacity to provide new settlements and uses but also to provide new spatial, social and environmental structure to the territory.

 

Garden

 

The relationship between architecture and landscape explored in Lange Erlen will be amplified at full in the garden at ETH. We shall continue our work in the garden during the autumn semester with a construction project to add social spaces to what was has been started in the past two years. In spring we shall turn to planting. Our intention is to work as architects but with the care of a gardener.

Making and the Territory: Part II - Big is Beautiful

1/6 Konrad Wachsmann, Untitled 1963 

 

To make a building is to make the territory. From a single step adjusting ground to a humble windowsill, design crosses culture with climate to define how we dwell. And whether built or grown, our environment is designed and constructed in a combination of modest fragments and great ensembles.


Growing from last semesters foundations, we will return to the Limmat Valley for another design project for a large-scale architectural object and to the garden. Despite natural appearances, the Limmat has been made and remade many times over the centuries to suit differing human requirements, providing power to industry and transport for goods and materials and, perhaps most importantly, as a means of controlling the natural water level in Lake Zurich. Design and construction adjusts the natural path set by ancient geological deposits into a dignified urban space.
In the studio, we will design a large single volume building in the same landscape in which you recorded in the Atlas – a tree nursery or logistics warehouse - while in the garden we will add the next layer to the ongoing project to match design and architecture with growth and time.


We will nurture what was planted last year and add more to provide a social space and food for the Pavilion of Reflections during Manifesta 11 this summer.
The design project will explore the latent spatial presence of large structures in the landscape. A new building type has quietly crept deep into our environment. The mega-shed which now inhabits so many suburban landscapes is so secure of its technocratic rational, it has passed over the architect straight to the engineer. These structures defy architectural scales and pride themselves on emotion-free efficiency. But their interaction with our environment is every bit as complex, social and political, as building types within the architectural family.

 


Can we reclaim our landscape and also the technical objects within it? Can we return them to architecture in a more embedded, integrated environment where nature and culture are no longer divided but designed together from the molecules of semiconductors to inhabited landscapes?

 

 

 

 

Making and the Territory

 

1/10 Flower Kiosk, Malmo cemetery, Sigurd Lewerentz,1969 

 

To make a building is to make the territory. From a single step adjusting ground to a humble window sill, design crosses culture with climate to define how we dwell. And whether built or un-built, our environment is designed and constructed in a combination of modest fragments and great ensembles.

We will follow the river Limmat as it flows through Zurich. Despite appearances, the river has been made and remade many times over the centuries to suit differing human requirements providing power to industry and transport for goods and materials and, perhaps most importantly, as a means of controlling the natural water level in Lake Zurich. Design and construction adjusts the natural path set by ancient geological deposits into a dignified urban space.

 

 

Part 1: Small is beautiful

We will start the year together by making the first structure in our studio garden. The first full-scale construction in the garden will be matched by a design project for a small building along the river combining living, working and storing. A gatekeepers or gardeners house combines domestic architecture with civic maintenance and cultivation of the wider landscape.

Making and the territory will be reimagined in drawing. We will continue the survey of Zurich with another Atlas of the river in ever-larger spatial investigations from full-scale to the city.

Using improvisation and careful observation, we will seek new architectural possibilities in the world that surrounds us. And just like the bricoleur uses what is at hand, we will use and reuse history and memory just like we reuse space and construction to create spaces and buildings for an unknown future.

 

 

Part 2: Big is beautiful

In the spring semester, we will return to the garden for a second year and to the Limmat Atlas for another design project for a large-scale architectural object. In the studio, we will design a tree nursery while in the garden we will add the next layer to the ongoing project to match design and architecture with growth and time. We will nurture what was last year and plant another layer to be continued by others in the future. Nature will no longer be outside of human action. It will be the new reality in which history, space and materials are turned over in the architectural imagination. Over the following years at eth, you will have the opportunity to experience the passage of time over your own work; the garden will grow while architecture ages. We shall work alone and we shall work together to test the limits of individual and collective imaginations.

 

 

Growing by Numbers II

1/4  

 

Construction is the DNA of architecture. From making by
hand to the making of the city we shall explore how construction
is the literal building block of architecture and the metaphorical
trace of experience and meaning.


Making, reimagined in drawing, will lead us from full-scale
structures around the department outwards, towards the city, in
ever-larger spatial investigations. Using improvisation and careful
observation, we will seek new architectural possibilities in the
world that surrounds us. And just like the bricoleur uses what is
at hand, we will use and reuse history and memory just like we
reuse space and construction to create spaces and buildings for an
unknown future.

 

In the spring semester, we will return to making but directed
towards the wider environment in which humans and architecture
interact by making a garden. You will be the pioneers of a longterm
project to be continued, nurtured and expanded by others in
the future. Nature will no longer be outside of human action. It
will be the new reality in which history, space and materials are
turned over in the architectural imagination. Over the following
years at eth, you will have the opportunity to experience the
passage of time over your own work; the garden will grow while
architecture ages. We shall work alone and we shall work together
to test the limits of individual and collective imaginations.

 

The introduction will take place on the 17 February 2015 in the HIL F41 at 10am.

 

 

 

 

 

Atlas

Zürich Atlas II: Rosengartenstrasse

1/26  

Growing by Numbers

1/22 from Hans Hollein - MAN transFORMS 

 

Construction is the DNA of architecture. From making by
hand to the making of the city we shall explore how construction
is the literal building block of architecture and the metaphorical
trace of experience and meaning.


Making, reimagined in drawing, will lead us from full-scale
structures around the department outwards, towards the city, in
ever-larger spatial investigations. Using improvisation and careful
observation, we will seek new architectural possibilities in the
world that surrounds us. And just like the bricoleur uses what is
at hand, we will use and reuse history and memory just like we
reuse space and construction to create spaces and buildings for an
unknown future.


In the spring semester, we will return to making but directed
towards the wider environment in which humans and architecture
interact by making a garden. You will be the pioneers of a longterm
project to be continued, nurtured and expanded by others in
the future. Nature will no longer be outside of human action. It
will be the new reality in which history, space and materials are
turned over in the architectural imagination. Over the following
years at eth, you will have the opportunity to experience the
passage of time over your own work; the garden will grow while
architecture ages. We shall work alone and we shall work together
to test the limits of individual and collective imaginations.

 

The introduction will take place on the 16 September 2014 in the HIL F41 at 10am.

 

 

 

Atlas

 

Zürich Atlas I: Bucheggplatz

1/38  

 

 

Glasgow

1/10  

 

The melancholic and sublime beauty in Glasgow is unique but its story is shared by a wider European condition. Once the workshop of the world, Glasgow invented like no other city and manufactured almost everything. Today the last vestiges of industry are close to closing. It may be seen as post-industrial Europe in extremis but it is by no means terminal. But within the multiple layers of urban and industrial space, architecture and infrastructure lies great potential for re-invention.


    The great economic and intellectual growth of the industrial revolution produced an extraordinary new urban centre; a grid city made of darkened red sandstone and cast iron buildings which may be seen as the prototype of the great American of the late nineteenth centuries such as Chicago. However, many of these great buildings stand empty.

 

 

    Yet as heavy industry has waned, there has been an extraordinary cultural renaissance, in art and music especially, and the city is looking for strategies for giving traction to these grass route revivals at an architectural and urban scale. The decline of industry has left a new spatial condition where the city’s creative nature can recolonize the voids left by industry. The city offers the possibilities of a new, retrofitted garden city.

 

The studio has been invited by Glasgow International Art Festival to carry out a research project into re-use and reinvention of the voids and gaps in city left by diminishing industry. We will start with a collaborative survey of Glasgow to produce an Atlas; a new tool for re-imagining the city where growth and decay are revealed in natural equilibrium. Few cities are so defined by what they make as Glasgow. From the threads of textiles to all things iron, the city’s humanity and ingenuity is cast deeply into its physical fabric. The Atlas will transform naturally from observation into more synthetic and speculative architectural proposals. The Atlas initiates an iterative cycle between observing, drawing and making in which many possibilities are already inscribed what already exists. Indeed the whole notion of difference between new and old disappears conceptually and literally. As Bruno Latour has said, there is no such thing as design today, there is only re-design.

Please sign up for following courses;

Architectural Design VI-X and Integrated Discipline Construction



There will be a short obligatory visit to Glasgow 22nd till 26th February (cost 350-500 CHF).

 

If you need a visa to enter UK, please contact us on zimonjic@arch.ethz.ch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glasgow Atlas

1/18  

Parade

1/15  

Is it possible to imagine the city beyond use? Is it possible to create architecture without programme? Much of city life is carried out oblivious to the intended uses of its builders. The Flaneur’s dérive around the wide Parisian Boulevards had little concern for Haussmann’s military dimensions. Many unruly activities such as festivals and protests have ironically enjoyed the benefits of spaces made by structured institutional power. Today, in the centre of Zurich the military is leaving one of the largest open spaces in the city after nearly a century and a half. The potential value of the Kaserneareal has not gone unnoticed. Theatres, temporary restaurants and workshops have started occupying informally unused spaces while the whole site has been the subject of speculation for over two thirds of its life as a military compound.

 

 

Since 1911, hundreds of architectural proposals have anticipated the end of military occupation forming collection of scenarios to suit every political and architectural taste. High density commercial development have suggest a plausible extension of the real estate market while artists studios and performance spaces cater for the bohemian left. Several parks have continued the debate between the formal and informal in landscape history. Even the ludic periods of the twentieth are represented with a lake over the whole area (like Zurich needs a lake) or apparently, the Great Pyramid of Giza would fit the parade ground exactly or most strange of all, a sample of medieval Niederdorf grafted over the open area could have been a solution for contemporary Zurich.

 

 

History has either been accepted as unalterable fact (symbolised by the heavy graphic of the masonry plan) or simply erased in the various proposals in an architectural shorthand to distinguish political between the radicals and the conservatives. The more subtle changes, ruptures and decay in the city fabric from which meaning is grows is overwritten by the all too easy promises of new programme or empty restoration.

 

 

While the collected visions for Kaserneareal certainly display a refreshingly varied imaginative field, they share a general disregard for what is already there, for an urban reality and city life of complex architectural and social layers extending far beyond the military site. The Kaserne has generated and sustained a highly specific neighbourhood in the surrounding streets dedicated in large part to the lascivious needs of the military which forms the context as much as the historically protected monuments.

 

 

To bring a new life to the place is more than simply a process of filling the white void in the blackened city plan, it is about creating a new reality. The primary action in offering a meaningful and radical future is in the record of what exists. The survey drawings sow the seed from which new situation will grow outside of tabula rasa rhetoric or conservative renunciation. The process of renewal starts with the act of recording. To draw is to try meticulously to retain something, to make it survive but also to change it.

 

 

We will aim to develop proposals for the area based on an idea of growth. Like the gardener who must carefully select the shoots to prune to promote healthier growth of the whole plant, we will pay great attention what is there, to distinguish potential from what stands in the way of a future. We will explore forms of drawing which combine the duality of architectonic order, the process of construction and assembly of material in space with the passage of time, with decay and the traces of life oblivious of what programme they are supposed to be aligned to.

 

 

 

The drawings will collectively form an Atlas which is both record and provocation. The Atlas may present Kaserneareal as a latent ruin, suspended between original use and a future potential in a state of architectural liberation. The Atlas will later be used to develop something much more synthetic and speculative. What is excluded from the survey is as significant as what if represented and in this process the intervention is initiated. Perceptual transformation in the Atlas is followed physical, architectural interventions. These may be radical or subtle adjustment, barely perceptible but the process of change continues. The Atlas initiates an iterative cycle between drawing and making: a cycle in which the set of possibilities are already inscribed, the spaces, tectonics, architectural orders alongside the breakages, erosions and lacunas of the city. The methods leads to the making of a new architecture. What starts as observation will transform into independent strategies. Indeed the whole notion of difference between new and old disappears conceptually and literally. As Bruno Latour has said, there is no such as design today, there is only re-design.

 

 

 

The project may be a cris de coeur for the city spaces where Calvino’s solitary Marcovaldo may find peace below the flickering neon signs or where festivals will stir the crowd, a new heart whose boundaries may only be found in the sandy cracks between paving stones leading into the streets beyond or as an island; perfect, dense and isolated. In the Atlas you will be seeking a new piece of the city, one which has been hiding in plain sight, beyond use.

 

 

Please sign up for following courses;

Architectural Design V-IX and Integrated Discipline Planning

 

 

Constructing the World II

1/7  

The story of materials and making is also the story of architecture, of art, technology and labour. This semester we will return to a pre-modern idea where art and technique mean the same thing and where the maker is at the centre of architectural production. In this case the maker will be neither the individual author or craftsman but the whole design studio, and together we will design and build a permanent structure. We will expand previous experiments in construction, re-use and bricolage into a complete architectural project which will integrate design, landscape, technology and art into one single collaborative project. The outcome will be the sum of intelligent hands.

 

Technique and technology come from the Greek word techne meaning ‘a general ability to make things intelligently 1. The original meaning of art, from the Latin artem or ars, was much the same, namely skill. But with the development of the machine the two terms were pulled apart into opposing concepts which remain with us today. The author/artist abstracts notions of intelligence, creativity, sensitivity and expression while the artisan or craftsman refines techniques of making through continuity, practice and tradition. We will draw these concepts together into a common source for the architectural imagination.

 

 

We have been commissioned by the Verein Zolliker Kunstfreunde to design and build a belvedere in Zollikon at the intersection of several landscape trails overlooking the lake. We will work collaboratively to produce a permanent public landmark for walkers to pause and view the surrounding landscape.

The programme does not require previous experience in carpentry or craftsmanship (although all experience is valuable) but it does require a willingness to think through making, to be physically and intellectually engaged in the complete collaborative task.

 

 

Alongside the collective core, each student will be required to develop an individual case study focusing on a specific topic elaborated from the common project. The case study will be an illustrated written thesis of 7,000 to 10,000 words researching and reflecting on either aspects of material and technical knowledge or on the history and theory of landscape, craft or construction. Each case study will be individually tutored throughout the semester.

 

The design studio is integrated with a construction based seminar week based in Zürich & Zollikon. We will carry out a series of workshops that are thematically related to our building project and will give insights into history of timber construction as well as hands-on advise on timber crafting.

 

Please sign up for following courses;

051-1116-13U  Architectural Design V-IX

151-1242-13L Integrated Discipline Construction (focal work)

Seminarweek Studio Tom Emerson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Constructing the World I

1/15 John Soane - 1925 

The Atlas and the Collection

 

‘The ruin is a site not of melancholy or mourning but of radical potential – its fragmentary, unfinished nature is an invitation to fulfil the as yet unexplored temporality it contains. Ruins are freighted with possibility, even with utopian promise.’

Brian Dillon on Ruins

 

It has been said that we live in times of ruination. The recent collapse in global economics combined with ecological peril gives us lots to be fearful about and architectural ruins of our age are not Romantic follies in constructed picturesque settings but what remains from our declining industrial age. However, perhaps we can draw more optimism from the condition of decay and decline and find in our contemporary ruins spaces for an alternative future where growth and decay are restored to a natural balance or as George Simmel proposed, to an accommodation between nature and culture.

 

 

The ruin transcends programme whether real of simply imagined. Use has been suspended placing the architecture in a state of exalted liberation. People and life is replaced with the pathos of decay. Former users have moved on and their memory fades with the architectural details eroded by weather, by recolonisation of nature which waits for no one or by simply becoming quarry through neglect. Both states open potential but more importantly conflate production and decay, usefulness and erasure leaving a future free from predetermined expectations. Liberal capitalism doesn’t allow for ruins which is what makes them so essential. But they may still be invented. All meaning can be projected on the ruin as an allegory for global and regional political forces.

 

 

Architecturally, the ruin is reminder of the passage of time, a remnant of the past yet, however paradoxical, it is also a fragment of the future. The collection is a representation of the world in fragments. The ruin and the collection are born of the same Romantic imagination to remake the work from what is around us. The structure of the city may be described by its plan, aerial view, institutions or moments however its meaning also emerges in time through encounter and experience. We shall look at the interiority of the collector’s world and the promise of the ruin to offer an alternative future to master-planning and the tabula rasa, an alternative which is more accommodating of difference, more caring of nature and traces of life which already form our landscape. We will examine what is already there and create a vision premised on a future urban landscape assembling old and new structures just as the collection comes to represent the world in disconnected fragments. The ideas will grow from the singular towards the plural, from the individual to the collective. Like the collector, we will work from the interior towards the city rather than from the city to the interior.

 

We will carry these themes throughout the semester, starting with a full-scale construction followed by a comprehensive and detailed design project to re-use a large distribution complex in Zurich Altstetten.

 

 

Together, we will build a tower housing an elevated room like a cave released from it enclosing mountain. The Monk’s Parlour buried at the rear of John Soane’s extraordinary house-museum in London, fuses objects, space and light into a layered universe of its own; one of memory, ancient and ruined but also one of abstraction and multiple horizons layered in deep labyrinthine top lit voids. We will reinterpret Soane’s inner world as a free standing pavilion reinvented for our contemporary world. Made from reclaimed timber, fabric and plaster, the structure will open the semester’s tectonic heart. Collective construction will lead to designing the room and the city – or more precisely, a room as a city.

 

 

The construction of the Monk’s Parlour will be followed by the design of another greater urban interior with the re-use the Schnellgutbahnhof in Altstetten, an interior at the scale of a landscape.

 

 

Like the ruins of the Colosseum, which for centuries were re-imagined to house a new Baroque Rome or Diocletian’s Palace, which was turned inside out and transformed from declining imperial residence to vibrant medieval city inside its walls. The seemingly endless structure of the Schnellgutbahnhof, now beyond use, has only potential. Its scale and texture are reminiscent of the Schrebergarten across the tracks. Can its future match the richness of life of the gardens?

 

 

Built in 1967 as a distribution warehouse for Zurich, it has gone from technological perfection to obsolescence in half a century. But while the use may be over, its great top lit halls (reminiscent of John Soane’s sublime zenithal spaces) and epic concrete structure remain. We will propose new uses and spaces, from the perspective of an imagined ruin. We will create an ideal, through the survey, from which to propose a precise intervention. Using the skills developed in making the pavilion, we will use large-scale models to focus on character, light, construction and materials.

 

 

Please sign up for following courses;

051-1115-12L - Architectural Design V-IX

063-1315-12L - Integrated Discipline Focal Work

063-1415-12L - Integrated Discipline Planning

 

 

A Town Tormented by the Sea

1/11  

 

The sublime landscape around Galway Bay on the west coast of Ireland is scarred by millennia of Atlantic erosion and centuries of human exploitation. Cliffs, rocky crenellations, canals to nowhere, bog pits, towering ruins form a strangely mystical landscape. Ireland is littered with structures abandoned as catastrophe led to mass migration, Galway leading the exodus to America. 

 


More recently the Celtic Tiger became famous as a modern economic miracle from 1995 until its sudden crash in 2008. Seemingly invincible, this new economic powerhouse, propelled by construction, produced developments everywhere from inner city regeneration to thousands of new stucco-ed neo-classical houses sprinkled over the countryside.
Today the tiger is dead and ghost estates of recently finished or incomplete villas stand silently with more in common with the ancient ruins on this wild landscape than their promised suburban idyll. Can we imagine another future for this landscape without leaving it behind or saturating it with the promise of growth and regeneration? We will explore the potential of Galway’s natural and working landscape and its infrastructure. Working with the cunning of the bricoleur we shall look for small adjustments, architectural strategies which accept absence and emptiness as a critical alternative to regeneration through fullness.

 

 

We will travel to Galway to survey the land and prepare an Atlas from which we will explore a new reality (500CHF - 600CHF).

 


I know a town tormented by the sea

And there time goes slow

That the people see it flow

And watch it drowsily

And growing older, hour by hour, they say.

"Please God to-morrow!

Then we will work and play"

And their tall houses crumble away.

This town is eaten through with memory

Of pride and thick Spanish gold and wine

And of the great come and go...

Mary Devenport O’Neil,1929

 

 

Galway Atlas

1/29  

 

 

 

Forst – News from nowhere

1/6  

Ein Wald von Schornsteinen mit langen Rauchfahnen bildet die charakteristische Silhouette dieser Stadt. Fabrik reiht sich an Fabrik, ganze Viertel bedeckend in allen Stadtteilen. Lokomotiven durchfahren die Straßen und schleppen Waggon um Waggon, auf Rollböcke gesetzt, in die zahllosen Fabrikhöfe.
    Erwin Stein

 

 

My formula for greatness… is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it – all idealism is mendaciousness in the face of what is necessary – but love it.

    Ecce Homo

 

 

According to one of the pioneers of conceptual art, Seth Siegelaub, only textiles go further than art in holding and revealing the meaning of the human condition. Certainly textiles and weaving have been a literal and metaphorical catalyst in architecture. Entire cities have developed around the textiles and entire building types have been invented for the weaving and trading fabrics. Indeed the origin of the flexible open plan framed office building is in the flax mill of the eighteenth century industrial revolution. The influence of textiles on architecture is just as profound in the evolution of the decorative arts from clothes to Semper.

 

 

We shall be looking at Forst, a city built on weaving but today threadbare and empty. It was once one of the biggest centers of world textile production but now lies ‘forgotten’ and half abandoned on the German-Polish border. The city and the surrounding landscape is the site of many interwoven histories. Half the city has disappeared, its materials and people living elsewhere, but Forst is still there, neither waiting nor acting, seemingly its only option to remain in a state between Amor Fati and Zweckoptimismus.

 

 

We will explore the potential of its empty industrial infrastructure. Working with the cunning of the bricoleur we shall look for small adjustments. Architectural strategies which accept absence and emptiness as a critical alternative to regeneration through fullness.

 

 

There will be a short site visit from Friday 7th to Monday 10th of October (240–450chf).

 

We will start the semester by building a structure for performance next to Escher-Wyss-Platz, Zürich and will collaborate with ZHDK to develop a series of events which our structure supports.

 

 

Forst Atlas

1/26  

 

Forst – The Atlas

 

1/14  

The Atlas comprises of 50 drawings and 50 photographs and constitutes the starting point for an intervention in Forst. It is inspired by Piranesi's 'Antichità Romane' and Robert Adam's survey of the Diocletian's palace and is both record and fiction at once. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trouvaille Sihlquai

1/3  

On the eve of the 20th century the lower Sihlquai in Zürich was reinvented as a grand boulevard of new technological infrastructure for the National Fair of 1883. Today only traces remain. Rediscovering these fragments of industrial archaeology will be the starting point for small riverside public buildings. Like the great electric pylons of 1883, our small structures will be catalyst for re-imagining the wider public infrastructure along the Sihl.

 

 

The studio will continue its primary concerns with tectonics and forms of urban and architectural bricolage. The studio will emphasise the duality between the model as miniature building and its presence as an autonomous artefact. We will start the semester with a 1:1 pavilion at the eth Zürich Hönggerberg.

 

Bricolage London

1/5  

'Bricolage may be, quite simply, the making of things in the full and liberating awareness of how little we know.'

 Irénée Scalbert

 

 

Bricolage incorporates several terms for making things through improvisation; dyi, tinkering, repair or making do and getting by. It is often associated with scarcity and amateurism and as such it has an awkward relationship to ‘high’ architecture. Bricolage is also about the freedom afforded by constraints. Imagination and invention are born of bricolage which is as much about a way of making things, as it is a general attitude towards knowledge and experience.

 

 

Repair and re-use are central to bricolage. We will work with an existing building transforming it with what we have around us. Short-term improvisation will be amplified to include longer-term strategies. The process of re-using an existing building invokes ‘the debris of history’ which will provide as much of the material for your project as the physical reality of the existing structures. We are surrounded by a talkative world full of signs where all things can be matched by an idea.

 

 

The site is a former cricket bat factory and timber merchant in Peckham. The buildings were squatted by Area10 (an artists collective) in 2002 and through exhibitions, performances and events over the past eight years have established themselves at the centre of Peckham’s cultural renaissance. Area10 was evicted in August 2010 and the future of the site is now contested.

 

Site Photo

 

The studio is primarily concerned with large scale physical modeling to develop spatial and tectonic strategies at an urban and architectural scale. Models will range from rough corrugated cardboard and glue gun assemblies to extremely ambitious and refined constructions. The studio will emphasise the duality between the model as miniature building and its presence as an autonomous artefact.

There will be a short site visit 8–10 October (cost 300–500chf).