Dichte Geschichte
The discussion about “density” in Switzerland is nothing new, to the contrary.  It as old as the phenomena of intense urban growth, land speculation, urban sprawl, and the loss of fertile ground to construction—it is deeply rooted in the Swiss planning tradition. However long before the concept of “density” had been articulated in the Swiss planning discourse, radical ideas and projects have already emerged as endeavours to meet accelerated growth of urban population, and to deal with the resulting pressure on cities and on land.

In the frame of the DICHTELUST exhibition at the Swiss Architecture Museum we will attempt to challenge the prevalent understanding of “density” by revisiting a series of projects, selected to illuminate critical histories of urban and territorial planning in Switzerland during the last century. The projects are part of rich anthology of ideas originating in different historical moments, based on different ideological lenses and illustrative of different design intentions, but they all have in common the urgency of the rapid urbanisation of the Swiss territory. It is fascinating that these projects continue to bring critical perspectives to the contemporary urban debate, in offering alternative positions on “density”. They demonstrate thought-provoking approaches to how urban growth can be conceived of beyond the focus on “density”, by showing more complex and more nuanced spatial imaginaries that integrate multiple dimensions of the territory, from social and political to ecological.

Architecture of Territory participates in the exhibition with a series of silkscreen prints created in the framework of the thesis elective course Projects on Territory: 

Land as a Common Resource. Based on Hirzbrunnenquartier, Hans Bernoulli (1924-30).
Research and silkscreen by Brigitte Clements and Flurin Steiner.

Re-founding a City in its Territory. Based on Plan d’urbanisme du canton de Genève, Maurice Braillard (1935-36).
Research and silkscreen by Anna Moroni.

Switzerland as One City. Based on Dezentralisierte Grossstadt, Armin Meili (1941-44).
Research and silkscreen by Michi Gieben and Matilde Negri.

Satellite Cities vs Urban Sprawl. Based on Die Neue Stadt, Max Frisch, Lucius Burckhardt, Markus Kutter (1955).
Research and silkscreen by Katarina Savic and Delia Wymann.

Islands of Density in the Periphery. Based on Werkbundsiedlung Neubühl (1930).
Research and silkscreen Lorine Grossenbacher and Salvatore Tummarello.

Return to the Old City. Based on Die Stadt Zurich, Aldo Rossi (1978).
Research and silkscreen by Ileana Dan and Rafael Gherdan.

Glattahlbahn, Retrofitting Suburbia (1990-2010).
Research and silkscreen by Beatrice Kiser and Corina Tripet.

Linth and Limmat, a Story of Landforms (1806-2013).
Research and silkscreen by Andrew Suiter and Wenjie Zheng.

The thesis elective course Projects on Territory focusing on histories of urban and territorial design in Switzerland has been conducted jointly by the professorships Marc Angélil and Milica Topalovic, and taught by Metaxia Markaki and Ferdinand Pappenhein, with the support of Sascha Delz, over the course of three semesters: Autumn 2017, Spring 2018 and Autumn 2018.
Vernissage 23 November 2018, 19:00h

S AM Swiss Architecture Museum
Steinenberg 7
CH-4051 Basel

Exhibition Team
Concept and realisation: Metaxia Markaki, Ferdinand Pappenheim
Student assistants: Oliver Burch, Michi Gieben

Teaching Team
Professorships Marc Angélil and Milica Topalovic
Metaxia Markaki, Ferdinand Pappenheim, and Sascha Delz
with the support of the silkscreen artist Esther Schena

Special thanks for the inspiration and support to Dynamo Siebdruckwerkstatt in Zurich.