The Great Interior II - Albis Arena

The Great Interior II

Albis Arena

FC Zürich v. FC Lausanne, Letzigrund Stadium, 1968

“Ecological awareness is just another name for context explosion.”


"we simply can’t be on the outside looking in"


Being Ecological, 2018, Timothy Morton

Far from being banal, mono-functional spaces away from the richness of metropolitan culture, the edge of cities are vital and multi-layered territories where work, leisure and sport are integrated in productive and ecological landscapes that have a great deal to offer contemporary life. The diversity of architectural types and landscapes documented in the Friesenberg Atlas could be seen as attempt to describe the nature of place. The design for Vereins made last semester have also demonstrated how small community organisations live together, interconnected with infrastructures, diverse topographies and ecologies to create a natural territory. And how even the smallest interventions can transform an ecosystem. Adjustments to walking patterns, to enclosures and openings on the surface change everything below or besides. Reimagining former architectures can create new things from the ends of others. It is a big space and a small space. Like the Eames’ The Powers of Ten, it is logarithmic, oscillating between the miniscule and the epic. Drawing the Atlas led the way with lines that literally describe the walk through the city, the blade of grass points to the lie of the land. Most of all, the Atlas and Verein have shown, far from being amorphous spaces, powerful spatial structures can bring beauty, biodiversity and human action into what can be seen as The Great Interior. This semester, we shall explore how larger structures bring another social, material and spatial disciplines to these edge spaces. We shall design an arena, a public building for performing and watching sport (and perhaps more). With origins as landscape structures in ancient times, arenas are typically defined by ground; dug in, cut and sculpted earth and stone. Then they rose out of the ground as pure-structure never fully enclosed. We will look for how structure and materiality can be the conceptual and technical engine of architectural design.

We shall frame the design process in terms of the complex and very much contested field of energy. What is embodied energy? It concerns the body of course, the athlete and the human physicality the arena celebrates. But it also concerns the urgent field weighing and measuring our resources as we attempt to recast our use of resources. It concerns design. The body may be analogous to our material world; fragile, weak, requiring extreme care to ensure its health, wellbeing and happiness. But also strong, inventive, resourceful and capable of extraordinary good just as it can inflict untold violences. How are these measured and calculated and what value does it have as our culture runs blindly towards catastrophic climate change? How do we design another great interior?

Friesenberg Boundaries, Friesenberg Atlas, Sherman Lam & Caspar Bultmann
Albisgüetli Parking Lot, Friesenberg Atlas, Simona Mele & Jeremy Waterfield
Kolbenhof Riding Hall, Friesenberg Atlas, Gabriel Mösch & Lorenzo Cruz
Üetliberg-Park, Friesenberg Atlas, Andrej Harnist & Emanuel Pulfer
Känguru-Wiese, Friesenberg Atlas, Lara Biesser & Blanca Bosshard
Üetliberg as an island, Friesenberg Atlas, Andrej Harnist & Emanuel Pulfer
View from Panoramaweg, Friesenberg Atlas, Ikonija Stanimirovic & Ann-Sophia Kirchhofer
Albisgüetli Aims, Andrej Harnist & Emanuel Pulfer
Eidgenössisches Schützenfest, Albisgüetli, 1963
Knabenschiessen, Albisgüetli, 1992
Albisgüetli Shooting Range, Satellite Photo
'Hand of God', 1986
Old 'Joggeli', Basel
Nou Camp at night, Barcelona
First Letzigrund, Zürich, 1938
Theather of Bachus, from: James Stuart and Revett Nicholas, 'Die Alterthümer zu Athen' 1829
Théâtres antiques, Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand, 1801
Offene Rennbahn, Oerlikon, 1962
Utogrund, Zürich, 1980
Espenmoos, St. Gallen, 1980
Forestry on Üetliberg, 1947
Estadio Azteca under construction, Mexico, 1966
Tree Nursey on Üetliberg
Wood construction techniques: Esteras, Pachacamac Atlas, Juliette Martin & Gabriel Fiette
Wood construction techniques: Esteras, Pachacamac Atlas, Juliette Martin & Gabriel Fiette
Historic trade map, Glasgow Atlas, Lara Icöz & Lukas Maurer
International Balloon Race, Inauguration of Letzigrund Stadium, 1958
Knabenschiessen at Albisgüetli, 1966
The Rolling Stones at Hallenstadion, Zürich, 1967
Stade municipal de Bordeaux, Entrance
Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, 1930
Offene Rennbahn, Oerlikon, 1920
Stade du 'Matin', Colombes
Hardturm, Zürich, 1950
Yankee Stadium, 1969
Ali v. Liston, Lewiston, 1965