Design Studio
Spring 2022

RheinauA Landscape of Care: Beyond the Utopian IslandLazar Riva and Lelan Yung

A village of “otherness” begs the question of origins and roots. Only when this is realized can the whole picture of Rheinau be unfolded. Through eras reaching as far back as the Middle Ages, this land—in a geographically unique situation—has served varieties of purposes as a centre for religion, social therapy, and in recent times, biodynamic agriculture. Hosting these activities (or remnants of), along with the agenda of a largely commuter-inhabited village today creates a heterogenous atlas of building typology, topography, and lifestyles.

This mosaic of land use is an exceptional scenario for a commune in the Canton of Zurich. With the support and realization that new worlds are possible beyond the private enterprise, imagining Rheinau’s full array of socioeconomic program as a self-sustaining, mutualist system could become a potential model for village life.


Elevation: 370 m.a.s.l.
Surface: 8.9 km2
Population: 1316 inh.
Population density: 147 inh./km2
Population growth: 1.1 %
Average yearly income: 72,743 CHF/yr.
Population over 65 years old: 20.6 %
Share of foreign population: 19.7 %