Archives

METROPOLITAN FORMS AND CONSTELLATIONS
06.05.2021
with Milica Topalović and Stefano Boeri
Fondation Braillard Architectes announces the event in the frame of the conference cycle Transition Design for Greater Geneva.

The ecological transition to a carbon-free society is the only answer to the challenges of global warming. It is a fertile path for our cities, villages and territories in search of new development scenarios and lifestyles. How can we design a trajectory based on actions that are both desirable, low in resources and scalable for the territory of Greater Geneva?

Milica Topalović will present Grand Genève et son sol, a new territorial planning and design approach giving shape to a more equitable, polycentric, self-sufficient and regenerative landscape, composed of both built and unbuilt lands.

Four events in the conference cycle
Transition Design for Greater Geneva

SOIL AS COMMON PROJECT
04.02.2021
with Florian Hertweck and Paola Viganò

NETWORKS AND ENERGY
04.03.2021
with Marc Armengaud and Oscar Buson

COMMON RESOURCES
08.04.2021
with Franck Hulliard and Nathalie Mongé

METROPOLITAN FORMS AND CONSTELLATIONS
06.05.2021
with Milica Topalović and Stefano Boeri

The conference cycle aims to share and debate ideas gathered in the frame of Consultation Grand Genève 2050 with the public, and to highlight cross-cutting themes and approaches elaborated by the participating teams.
FERAL ATLAS
26.04.2021
Anna L. Tsing in conversation with Marija Marić and Nils Güttler
Feral Atlas invites you to navigate the land-, sea-, and airscapes of the Anthropocene. We trust that as you move through the site—pausing to look, read, watch, reflect, and perhaps occasionally scratch your head—you will slowly find your bearings, both in relation to the site’s structure and the foundational concerns and concepts to which it gives form. Feral Atlas has been designed to reward exploration. Following seemingly unlikely connections and thinking with a variety of media forms can help you to grasp key underlying ideas.
ON PERIPHERALISATION: EXPLORING AGENCY IN THE “UNINHABITED” TERRITORIES OF ARCADIA
16.04.2021
Metaxia Markaki
What is the future of peripheral landscapes and radically depopulating mountainous regions and how do we, as architects and urban researchers, address the challenges of those regions?
Extending the focus of urban research beyond the traditional city boundaries, this lecture will discuss  processes of urbanisation that occur at peripheral landscapes, seemingly intact areas of nature and uninhabited land. In particular, it will revisit the mythicised landscapes of Arcadia in Greece, framing a contemporary, radically depopulating mountainous region at the southern outpost of the Balkan peninsula.
How can one critically investigate the formation of a peripheral landscape in relation to a broader historical, political, and geographic context? What social and ecological pressures emerge and which agencies are at stake?
RECIPROCAL LANDSCAPES: STORIES OF MATERIAL MOVEMENTS
12.04.2021
Jane Mah Hutton in conversation with Galaad Van Daele
How are the far-away, invisible landscapes where materials come from related to the highly visible, urban landscapes where those same materials are installed? Reciprocal Landscapes: Stories of Material Movements traces five everyday landscape construction materials–fertilizer, stone, steel, trees, and wood–from seminal public landscapes in New York City, back to where they came from. Bringing two separate landscapes–the material’s source and the urban site where the material ended up–together, the book explores themes of unequal ecological exchange, labor, and material flows. This talk will provide an overview to the book project, focusing on stories of steel and wood.
OPERATION BETON
29.03.2021
Sarah Nichols in conversation with Guillaume Habert and Donald Mak
What is embedded in material or, respectively, architecture? Addressing this question reveals the entanglements that bring architecture into being—organizations and knowledge, energy and labor, and extraction and emission. By taking up this lens, building can be thought of as a long process of formation that happens through both material and immaterial means, neither beginning nor ending with the construction site but rather stretched across territories and through time, intimately linking seemingly disparate agencies together.

By studying approximately a century of cement and concrete in Switzerland, this talk will examine the relations between institutions, discourse, and technology as they intersect in the material. The establishment of organizations, ideas, and techniques from the late 19th century through the end of the interwar period will be shown to have enabled the mass deployment of concrete in the Postwar period.

Over the period of study, concrete went from being a material used occasionally to one that is ubiquitous. This talk will thus also grapple with the challenges of studying ubiquity to show how concrete—organizationally, technically and conceptually—broke with previously held notions of scarcity and became a material without limit.
OIL SPACES: EXPLORING THE GLOBAL PETROLEUMSCAPE
15.03.2021
Carola Hein in conversation with Neeraj Bathia
In this lecture, Carola Hein introduces the concept of the petroleumscape, a layered physical and social landscape that reinforces itself over time through human action. The petroleumscape includes different types of interconnected spaces—industrial, administrative, retail, and infrastructural—that are usually considered separately. The lecture examines what aspects of the petroleumscape have been highlighted, downplayed, and hidden as corporate, state, and other relevant actors have attempted to shape perceptions of petroleum and the landscape of which it is a part. Hein also outlines five key stages in the petroleumscape’s development, beginning with the innovations in obtaining petroleum that took place in Pennsylvania in 1859, when petroleum served primarily as a source of lighting fluid, and ending with recent attempts to overcome petroleum dependence.
A GENERAL THEORY OF ISLANDS
01.03.2021
Joshua Comaroff in conversation with Faiq Mari
The island is the territorial paradigm of the age. Increasingly, the border of the state is replicated at sites other than its perimeter, both beyond and within. Lines of disjunction and transformation appear at peripheral outposts, in cities, and in non-physical spaces. In this process appear zones of frightening potentiality, “un-places” that serve to explore the full potentials of illiberalism. I will discuss this through the example of Singapore’s self-creation, as an alternative to existing national models. This has not merely to do with land scarcity, but also with the imaginary of bounded space and boundless invention, an “intelligent island” that plays upon a long history of cultural fantasy. Through this case, I will discuss the particular role of the island in the aftermath of the internationalist world order—an archipelago of utopias, prisons, bubbles and exception zones, made of sand and silicon.
Regards Croisés
17.02.2021
Carole Schmit and Milica Topalović on Leonor Antunes
Mudam invites people from a wide variety of fields to take a personal look at the museum’s exhibitions. Two architects who met twenty years ago during their postgraduate studies in Amsterdam, Carole Schmit (Luxembourg) and Milica Topalović (Zurich) will, on 17 February 2021 at 7 p.m. offer an interpretation on Leonor Antunes’ work, by mixing and sharing research impressions from their own body of references. It is a virtual conversation in real time composed by the principle of controlled chance operations, dealing with issues such as architecture details of their own designs and readings on figures that influenced their respective work.

The performance will be open to the public, either via livestream or by attending the event physically at Mudam, where the audience will have two choices: sitting in the Mudam Auditorium and enjoying the media performance on a big screen with digital audio, or accessing Leonor Antunes’ exhibition on view in the pavilion. The exhibition space will be simultaneously captured in real time via Zoom video recording, as the two architects are in conversation. During the forty-five to sixty-minute event Dora Thiry, a young Luxembourgish dancer, will perform in the exhibition space.

Carole Schmit is Guest Professor of Architecture at the University of Luxembourg and works at the same time for the Administration of Public Works. For about fifteen years she has developed in her office Polaris for her design and research projects an architectural syntax based on the influences related to street culture, conceptual art and anthropological studies. Over the time her concern for ecology and economy within architectural design practice have added more layers to her work. Together with her partner François Thiry, she develops ideas such as The Threatened City, a dystopian projection due to the consequences of climate change on European cities or The Ordos Effect, a storytelling phenomenon based on communication devices far more powerful than the past Bilbao-effect. Her designwork has been published in different magazines such as Wall Street Journal (New York), The New York Times, (New York), Paisea (Valencia, Spain), Mark (Netherlands), Contemporary (London), Technique et architecture (Paris), Arch+ (Suisse), A10 (Germany), A+ (Bruxelles), Abitare (Milano), Arhitectura (Bucarest), DDO(Lille) and different media in Asia-Pacific. She has published herself articles about art, architecture and urbanism in international and local media. She contributed to the editions of Mutations with the project USE – Uncertain States of Europe with Multiplicity published by Actar (Barcelona) in 2000, or Unseen I slipped away with Maurice Nio published by 010 (Rotterdam) in 2003, or Our House with François Thiry published by Maison Moderne (Luxembourg) in 2014.

Milica Topalović is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Territorial Planning at the ETH Zurich Department of Architecture. Her work is concerned with territories beyond-the-city and urgent transformation processes they are exposed to, through the movement of capital, social restructuring, and environmental change. She undertook a range of territorial studies around the world, in remote regions, resource hinterlands, and countrysides, in an effort to decenter and ‘ecologise’ architect’s approaches to the city, the urban, and urbanisation. From 2011–15 she held a research professorship at the ETH Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore, studying the relationship between a city and its hinterland. In 2006 she joined the ETH as head of research at Studio Basel Contemporary City Institute, where she taught research studios on cities and on territories such as Hong Kong and the Nile Valley. Topalović graduated with distinction from the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade and received a Master’s degree from the Dutch Berlage Institute for her thesis on Belgrade’s post-socialist urban transformation. Since 2000, she worked on projects in different spatial scales and visual media. Her work has been published in various international journals, including Harvard Design Magazine, New Geographies, and Architectural Design, as well as in various anthologies. She has co-authored (together with Roger Diener et al) The Inevitable Specificity of Cities (Zürich 2015) and (together with Uta Hassler) Constructed Land. Singapore 1924–2012 (Zürich 2014). Her book Hinterland: Singapore Beyond the Border is forthcoming.
Soil as Common Project
04.02.2021
Florian Hertweck
The ecological transition to a carbon-free society is the only answer to the challenges of global warming. It is a fertile path for our cities, villages and territories in search of new development scenarios and lifestyles. How can we design a trajectory based on actions that are both desirable, low in resources and scalable for the territory of Greater Geneva?

The lecture takes place in the context of the conference cycle “Designing the transition of Greater Geneva” hosted by the Foundation Braillard Architects, in partnership with Département du territoire du Canton de Genève and the Pôle métropolitain du Genevois français.
It aims to share and debate ideas gathered in the Consultation Grand Genève 2050 with a broader public, and to highlight cross-cutting thematic approaches elaborated by the seven participating teams.

The team of Prof. Milica Topalović ETH Zurich D-ARCH Chair of Architecture and Territorial Planning, Prof. Dr. Florian Hertweck University of Luxembourg FHSE Master in Architecture, and Raumbureau A+U will present the project “Grand Genève et son sol­– a territorial strategy for a more self-sufficient and polycentric cross-border region set on the ideas of common land.

Four lectures of the conference cycle
“Designing the transition of Greater Geneva”

SOIL AS COMMON PROJECT
04.02.2021
with Florian Hertweck and Paola Viganò

NETWORKS AND ENERGY
04.03.2021
with Marc Armengaud and Oscar Buson

COMMON RESOURCES
08.04.2021
with Franck Hulliard and Nathalie Mongé

METROPOLITAN SHAPES AND CONSTELLATIONS
06.05.2021
with Stefano Boeri and Milica Topalović
Agriterritories
25.01.2020
Milica Topalović
What is the future of the manifold landscapes and territories across the world, entangled with contemporary cities through water and food flows, labour movements and other linkages? How is human and non-human life in these environments affected by cities and by urbanisation? Architectural discourses remain largely focused on buildings and on cities, while these extended territories are equally exposed to rapid and far-reaching transformations with massive social and environmental implications. How can architects respond to these urgent changes? Can architecture become ecological, and go beyond-the-human and beyond-the-built, to engage with the environment as a whole?

In recent years, a crucial theme remaining in the blind field of architecture is agriculture. With nearly half of the total land area on the planet currently dedicated to some form of agricultural production, agricultural landscapes might be the most urgent field of action to address the problematic of sustainability. Many types of agricultural practices have been linked to increasing risks for climate change, exhaustion of water and natural resources, depletion of soil fertility, as well as disadvantaging local population, and affecting quality of life. An awareness of the consequences of industrialisation of agriculture, including its addiction to fertilisers, pesticides and fossil fuels, has been growing. These issues stand at the core of the climate and biodiversity crises, and they call for new approaches in architecture too.

The last series of Landscape Exchange is will open up a discussion on urban transformation of contemporary agriterritories, including the city’s hinterlands and “rural” countrysides. Our guest is Milica Topalović, an architect, researcher and Associate Professor of Architecture and Territorial Planning at the ETH Zurich Department of Architecture. Milica will speak about the methods and themes of her territorial investigations and projects on countrysides of Singapore, Nile Valley, and Switzerland.
Dirty Theory: Dirt and Decolonisation
26.11.2020
Hélène Frichot
Even though its collected materials were based on thoughts gathered in an electronic folder over a number of years, the brief book Dirty Theory: Troubling Architecture (2019) was written in a rush of enthusiasm and constitutes little more than a collection of notes to self. The final chapter before the conclusion fleetingly raises the question of dirt and (de)colonisation, which inevitably leads to questions of practices of extraction. Extraction and extractivism not only direct attention to mass disruptions and redistributions of the earth’s surface in this geological epoch of the so-called Anthropocene, including associated impacts on mental and social ecologies, but constitute a burgeoning terrain of discourse across the Environmental Humanities. This lecture aims to deepen the discussion raised in the relevant chapter of Dirty Theory, with a focus on the extraction and subsequent transmogrifications of dirt that take place when mobilised from one site to the next. The mobilisation of dirt impacts social relations, benefiting some, disadvantaging others according to the persistent violence of a colonial logic subsequently fast-tracked within a neoliberal integrated world capitalism. This notion of how dirt in one location is revalued as an object of reverence (for use and exchange) elsewhere, is something that was already ventured in Mary Douglas’s famous ethnographic work on the sacred and the profane. It is a material transformation that becomes vivid in the recent work of Jane Hutton on reciprocal landscapes (2020). This lecture will discuss how the transmogrification of dirt pertains equally to dirt understood as concept and as a material, and how dirt cuts along intersectional lines of gender, class, and race. In conclusion, I hope to open up the discussion to new methodological directions that a dirty theory might invite.

Architectural theorist and philosopher, writer and critic, Hélène Frichot is Professor of Architecture and Philosophy, and Director of the Bachelor of Design, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning University of Melbourne, Australia. She is Guest Professor, and the former Director of Critical Studies in Architecture, School of Architecture, KTH Stockholm, Sweden. Her recent publications include Dirty Theory: Troubling Architecture (AADR 2019) and Creative Ecologies: Theorizing the Practice of Architecture (Bloomsbury 2018).
Arable Lands Lost Lands
12. 11. 2020
Charlotte Malterre-Barthes
Approaching land as a finite resource and investigating the decline in available agrarian land, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes uses land reform in Egypt as a case study to identify urban growth as the consumer of agrarian land by accentuating the dynamics arising from relationships between land tenure, agriculture and urbanisation.

Malterre-Barthes is an architect, scholar, and assistant professor of urban design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Principal of the urban design agency OMNIBUS, she directed the MAS Urban Design at the Chair of Marc Angélil (2014-2019), and holds a PhD from ETHZ on the effects of the political economy of food on the built environment, case study Egypt. She recently published Migrant Marseille: Architectures of Social Segregation and Urban Inclusivity (Berlin, Ruby Press), and co-authored Eileen Gray: A House under the Sun (London, Nobrow), Some Haunted Spaces in Singapore (Edition Patrick Frey) and Housing Cairo: The Informal Response (Berlin, Ruby Press).
Linking Soils Across the Urban-Rural Nexus
29.10.2020
Johan Six
Around the world, but especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, unprecedented urban growth is placing enormous burdens on governments by the growing demand for infrastructure, services, and basic needs such as housing, water, sanitation, and food security. As a consequence, informal settlements, unplanned urban zones and peri-urban are growing rapidly and their underserved communities have limited access to potable water or municipal sanitation services and suffer from chronic food insecurity. At the same time, rural outmigration is driven by a decreasing ability to maintain a satisfactory and sustainable livelihood in rural areas. Although a complex issue driven by many factors, the degradation of soils and loss of soil health through nutrient mining plays a major role in this phenomenon. African farmers, hindered by a lack of financial capital, are unable to apply soil amendments and fertilizers at the rates necessary to maintain soil health, agricultural productivity, and hence their livelihoods, forcing them to search for economic opportunity elsewhere.

In this lecture, Johan Six will present recent work conducted in four different city region food systems across Sub-Saharan Africa (Arba Minch, Ethiopia; Kigali, Rwanda; Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Msunduzi, South Africa). Through these cases he will link soil health to waste reduction in order to improve both rural and urban livelihoods by catalysing a circular economy based on carbon and nutrient transfers from the rural to the urban and back to the rural parts of city region food systems. He will ultimately outline how critical to this goal is the establishment of a vibrant and inclusive transdisciplinary innovation platform based on local stakeholders in each of the city regions.

Dr. Johan Six received his PhD in Soil Science in 1998 from Colorado State University. His PhD research was conducted at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL). His research focused on the mechanisms underlying greenhouse gas mitigation by no-tillage practices. Dr. Six remained as a Research Scientist at NREL from 1998 until 2002. He led and was involved in many projects investigating the effect of land use change and management on greenhouse gas fluxes in agricultural, grassland and forest ecosystems. At UCDavis (2002-2012), Dr. Six further developed this line of research with a focus on the feedbacks between ecosystem management options (e.g., tillage, cover cropping, green manuring, sustainable farming, and grazing), global change (e.g., elevated CO2 and climate change), and biogeochemical cycling. Since 2013, Dr. Six is the chair of the Sustainable Agroecosystems Group at ETH-Zurich, where he has continued the research program developed at UCDavis, but with more of an emphasis on landscape analyses and global Food Security. More specifically, he studies the complex interactions between soil (e.g, structure, texture and mineralogy), plants (e.g., diversity, nutrient uptake, and root growth), soil biota (e.g. fungi, bacteria, and earthworms), and the carbon and nitrogen cycles in terrestrial ecosystems, especially agroecosystems. His general approach is to conduct experimental work from the micro- to landscape scale and subsequently integrate it with modeling to interpolate and extrapolate it to the regional and global scale. The modeling has also as goals to identify gaps in our knowledge, generate testable hypotheses, and test the mechanistic bases of biogeochemical models. Furthermore, many projects he conducts are in collaboration with economic and social scientist to holistically assess the sustainability and resilience of agricultural production and food systems.

Dr. Six is a Chancelor’s Fellow of the University of California – Davis, a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Philippe Duchaufour medallist in Soil Science of the European Geoscience Union, a Distinguished Ecologist of Colorado State University, and on the 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019 Highly Cited Researchers list of the Web of Science.

 
Urban Soils Mapping: Case West Lausanne
15. 10. 2020
Antoine Vialle
Motivated by ever-increasing soil degradation and artificialization due to past and present urban growth dynamics, the current trend of spatial planning policies at the European and Swiss levels is promoting increased soil protection, by avoiding new developments on agricultural – natural land, and by reorienting development towards existing urban areas that must be densified and restructured. This objective, which is formulated as ‘inward urbanization’, not only puts pressure on the soils situated within urban areas, which are cast as priority development targets, but also give a strategic role to this significant component of anthropogenic ecosystems, the multifunctionality of which must be considered as a crucial driver facing cities’ forthcoming social-ecological transition.

However, urban soils are insufficiently studied as a long-term record of environmental history and heavy anthropization. In this context, the originality of this research is to consider urbanization not only as consuming and degrading, but also as transforming and producing soils, and to provide a methodology for the study of anthropedogenesis as a coevolution process of urban forms and soil functionalities, both in historical – retrospective and projective ways. Spatial development and urbanization appear therefore not only as a threat to soil capital, but also as a key lever on which it is possible to act in order to valorize this resource.

Such a narrative integrates various facets of land use, including one-off construction techniques and recurring maintenance practices, planning tools, and morphologies, into a specific ‘project for the ground’ which brought forth the mixed mesh of the Swiss Plateau ‘city-territory.’ Ultimately, in light of the ongoing planning policies, the dynamic vision conveyed by these intertwined soil–urbanization coevolution trajectories outlines opportunities and strategies and for the regeneration of the resource deposit made up of both West Lausanne’s urban fabric and its soils. Such opportunities and strategies, which aim at a sustainable implementation of the inward urbanization principle, rest in the understanding of both West Lausanne city-territory and its urban soils as ‘palimpsests’ forming a dynamic system.

Antoine Vialle is Architect (2007) and Former Fellow of the French Academy in Rome—Villa Medici (2010—2011). He has been Scientific Assistant and Lecturer in various schools since 2011 and is currently developing a PhD on the soils of the Swiss city-territory at the EPFL Laboratory of Urbanism with Profs. Paola Viganò (EPFL Lab U) and Éric Verrecchia (UNIL IDYST). In 2019, he was Doctoral Visiting Student at the MIT Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism in Cambridge, MA.
Critical Zones: Sensors for Ghost Landscapes
01.10.2020
Alexandra Arènes
Ghost Landscapes refer both to abandoned and ruined lands, but also to territories from which resources are extracted for use in other countries. Recognizing these ghosts is a difficult task because there is no clear definition of their boundaries, scales and composition. At least if we only try to represent them with traditional maps and satellite instruments that give us views from above. To better understand what a landscape is made of and what their trajectories are, we need other sensors: to understand the composition and behavior of landscape entities that we took for granted, such as rivers, soils, trees, which once we follow them with the instrumentation of earth scientists appear in a completely different form. Critical zone sciences are meant to help us understand critical places on earth where life is threatened, where the roles of actors, human and non-human, are unclear, but far from giving clear answers, critical zones leave us in a state of uncertainty. Perhaps this uncertainty is the real challenge of this century for architecture at the time of the Anthropocene. Through her fields trips to sites where scientists are working, and through visual research and an exhibition, she will describe what she found in the critical zone observatories that might render us sensible to the dynamics of the damaged Earth.

Alexandra Arènes is a French landscape architect and now a PhD researcher at the University of Manchester. She co-founded SOC (Société d’Objets Cartographiques) in 2016, a think tank on earth political design, drawing on scientific and public enquiries, and producing workshops and exhibitions. The studio designed the installation CZO space at the ZKM (Museum for Art and Media, Karlsruhe) for the exhibition Critical Zones. Observatories for Earthly Politics (curated by Bruno Latour, 2020), the result of close collaboration between science and art. She has also contributed to theater research (INSIDE, Back to Earth, Où atterrir?), and co-authored the book Terra Forma, Manuel de Cartographies Potentielles (B42, 2019)
Automated Urban Design
04.05.2020
Pascal Müller in conversation with Fabio Gramazio
In the year 1963, Alexander wrote that “most of the difficulties of design are not of the computable sort”. Today, almost six decades later, we arrived in the age of urban computing, social media and machine learning. So, does Alexander’s statement still hold true now? In this talk, we present systems for computer-aided urban planning and critically discuss the (societal) implications of these technologies.

Pascal directs the Esri R&D Center Zurich where new technologies for urban planning and 3D mapping are developed. He is the original author of CityEngine, which is used in film productions (Blade Runner 2049, Zootopia, …) and urban design (by HOK, SOM, Foster+Partners, …). In 2008, Pascal co-founded the start-up company Procedural which 3.5 years later was successfully sold to Esri. Previously, in his PhD at ETH Zurich, he pioneered novel methods for the procedural modeling of cities and buildings which are now part of CityEngine, ArcGIS Urban, and ArcGIS Pro. Pascal has published more than 50 scientific papers including SIGGRAPH and has held numerous invited talks at conferences, universities and companies all over the world. His body of artistic work includes short movies, music videos, over 50 live visuals performances, and interactive museum installations including Ars Electronica.
Viral Archaeology: An Epidemiological History of Modern Architecture…
27.04.2020
Ines Weizman in conversation with Diana Alvarez Marin and Elli Mosayebi
Erupting towards the end of WW1, the Spanish Flu was the first truly global pandemic in modern history. Indeed, the speed of its spread around the world was accelerated by the newly opened air transport routes and other lines of trade and military supply. The pandemic has also preceded the emergence of modern architecture in the post WWI era. This lecture is the first chapter in a newly inaugurated project seeking to bring the current pandemic into architectural perspective. The story will start at the Bauhaus. The school so closely associated with clean polished surfaces, air and light – has found its first home in 1919 in a building that still housed a hospital for the war wounded, soldiers and medical staff, as well as for the victims of the flue. The patients in this hospital also brought together the war and the pandemic. Paradoxically, despite the difficult realities of its foundation, the school and the hospital might have been the unlikely alliance that helped to bring about a new movement. The Bauhaus’ hundred years history, as this talk aims to show, thus weaves together typologies and pathologies.
Politics of the Technological Fix in South African and Indian Urbanism
30.03.2020
Ola Söderström in conversation with Daniella Zetti and Jörg Stollman
This talk draws on an on-going research project on the provincialisation of the smart city narrative in South Africa and India. The aim of this research is to move beyond the rehearsed critique of the smart city as a ‘technological-fix-narrative’ to urban problems. If this critique remains largely valid when confronted to actually existing smart cities, it also largely simplifies the ‘smart city effect’, especially in cities of the Global South. The talk will first show how smart city narratives have been rolled out and taken up by South African and Indian municipalities during the past fifteen years. It will then show how this apparently powerful and highly mobile policy also works as a throw-away ‘lexical glue’ to designate widely different urban initiatives such as road improvements or slum upgrading. Finally, this talk will focus on and discuss various relational forms of ‘techno-fixes’ emerging in the interplay between municipalities, NGOs and urban activists. The conclusion of the talk and its cross-cutting argument is that struggle over data-power and legitimate knowledge as well as politics of technological fix are central processes in present forms of smart urbanism on the ground.
Concepts for Mobile Architectures: Reflections on the Algorithmic Condition from a Creative Humanities Perspective
02.03.2020
Iris Van der Tuin and Nanna Verhoeff in conversation with Benjamin Dillenburger
The algorithmic condition (Colman et al. 2018) shapes practices of knowledge production within humanities scholarship and in design and cultural professional practice. In this contemporary condition, parameters for the availability and exchange of information and knowledge are shifting, thus blurring disciplinary and institutional boundaries, functions, and practices. With the shifting of parameters, and among the changing of these boundaries, functions, and practices, come into being new ways of working within, and between, humanities scholarship and arts & design practice. This convergence that generates what we call ‘creative humanities’ yields emerging and transforming genres and platforms for exchange within the academy and at the intersection of academic and creative practice, ultimately affecting the audiences of academies, art institutions, and makerspaces. From this perspective, we are interested in the meeting point of both domains, and the subsequent new conceptual frameworks developed for or reactivated by contemporary societal challenges surrounding for example issues of ecology, technology, truth, and value that share currency in both cultural inquiry and the fields of arts and design. In this talk, we sketch a triptych of critical concepts for the creative humanities that we see as relevant for what can be provisionally framed as ‘mobile architecture.’
Human Range
24.04.2020
Theo Deutinger in conversation with Andreas Ruby and Andreas Kofler
The history of turning land into territory and people into citizens is directly linked to the history of military technology. Owning or even just maintaining territory is and always has been linked to the ability to defend it. The increase in human range has led to the rise of individual power. Today, one person with a firearm covers the same range as 1,300 Stone Age people—the size of an army brigade. The result is an increasing overlap in ranges of power. The lecture Human Range wants to discuss the relationship between humans, technology and land with the example of the “sphere of influence”.

 
Silent Collisions—Thinking the Urban and the Rural in the Albanian Context
18.02.2020
Falma Fshazi
In this lecture Falma Fshazi will present the history of urban rural relationships in Albania. As a historian, she uses her research on citizenship, national identity, youth activism and the concepts of power and politics to reflect on territorial identifications of urban–rural collisions. She raises the question on rural and urban becoming symbiotic social constructions and unhappily coexisting realities.

FALMA FSHAZI has been working as research and teaching staff in Istanbul and Paris since 2005. She obtained her PhD in History and Civilizations from Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales Paris in 2012. She has collaborated for a few years with the Mayor of Tirana then the Albanian PM Edi Rama. Fshazi is now a member of the Chair of Architecture and Urban Transformation in ETHZ.

ONA G35

Tue, 18 Feb, 2 pm
Keller Easterling – Medium Design
27.11.2019
in conversation with Marc Angélil, Arno Brandlhuber, Charlotte Malterre Barthes and Milica Topalović
KELLER EASTERLING is an architect, professor at Yale, and one of the most eloquent theorists of architecture and design.
In ‘Medium Design’ (Strelka Press, 2018) Easterling argues that design tools are often inadequate to address contemporary chemistries of power. Medium Design treats space as an information system and a mixing chamber for social, political, and technical networks. It inverts a typical emphasis on object over field, in order to prompt innovative thought about both spatial and non-spatial problems. The session
is made possible by the S AM Swiss Architecture Museum.
Parliament of Plants – A post-anthropocene view on nature and people
19.11.2019
Céline Baumann
The plant kingdom is in fact a republic and the Parliament of Plants grants Nature its own representative body. By giving a voice of the botanical world, the Parliament of Plants tackles issues of races, gender, normativity, and inclusivity through an intersectional lens. It opens a post-anthropocene space for reflection, challenging the belief that matter and intelligence should be dissociated and regarding flora as more than a mere commodity. It explores the power of trees, shrubs, flowers, and herbs as a source of inspiration, providing alternatives to the way we design and act, whether on the scale of a territory, a public space or a private garden.

CÉLINE BAUMANN is a French landscape architect based in Basel. Her eponymous studio operates in the fields of urbanism, landscape architecture, and exhibition. She aims through an intersectional lens to create dynamic open spaces, informed by the interactive ecology between people and nature. This design work is complemented by a commitment to writing and research, allowing her to explore the collective value of nature and its impact on individuals.

Baumann is currently Future Architecture alumna, Akademie Solitude fellow, and recipient of the youth awards of the International Federation of Landscape Architects Europe. Her work has been presented in institutions including the Oslo Architecture Triennale, the the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana and the Swedish University of Agricultural Science in Alnarp.
From Self Sufficiency to Food Security — Notes on the Swiss Experimental Heritage
29.10.2019
Elena Cogato Lanza
Through this lecture Elena Cogato Lanza presents the Swiss Plan Wahlen, a regime of intensive food production and food rationing, introduced during the Second World War in an effort to increase food self-sufficiency of the nation. The talk establishes a degree of symmetry between the historical struggle for food self-sufficiency and the contemporary effort to achieve food security. Elena Cogato Lanza identifies three points on an « active » heritage, and it shows how in her current research activity she tries to establish new analytical and perspectival tools in approaching food security from a design and planning point of view.

ELENA COGATO LANZA has been working since 20 years in interdisciplinary research projects, involving principally the domains of architecture, landscape, environmental engineers, and sociology. Graduating as an architect from Venice and following a PhD thesis at EPF Lausanne on the “networks and materials of urban planning in Geneva in the 1930s”, Dr. Cogato Lanza has since been a research fellow at the Department of Architecture EPFL, the Institute of Geography, University of Neuchâtel, and the Fondation Braillard Architectes, Geneva. She is Maître d’enseignement et de recherche at the Laboratory of Urbanism, EPFL and the president of the foundation board at Fondation Braillard, Geneva. Along with her research and teaching activities, she is engaged in the editorial field, as founder of the collection vuesDensemble for Metispresses, and as a member of various international editorial boards.
There is no more land, there is only sand*
03.12.2018
Milica Topalovic at Critical Urbanisms, University of Basel
The process of Singapore’s transformation from a backwater colonial port, predominantly rural, to the new nation of industrial middle class housed in public high rises, was dubbed a “territorial revolution” with many layers: the social, political and economic dimensions of the national territory have been sculpted by the hand of the state, using topography as the main medium.
Singapore also shows that construction of urban land usually doesn’t come without a (vast) hinterland. The city-state is known as the world’s largest importer of sand for construction, as is located at the center of the sand-trade region whose radius extends to South China, Cambodia, and Myanmar. With nearly a quarter of its land area, around 140 square kilometers, added over the years, it has been estimated that three-quarters of this is “built on foreign soil.”

The lecture is part of the series:
URBANISM IN CONFLICT: CITIES, CONFLICT, AND CONTESTATION
by CRITICAL URBANISMS, Urban Studies, University of Basel

Conflict is associated both with democratic politics and with hegemonic forms of violence. This seminar and lecture series will explore how antagonisms shape cities and citizenship, and how cities and citizenship are, in turn, shaped by antagonisms. We propose that “fractiousness” be considered as a mode of inhabiting cities—indeed, as a mode of citizenship—but also as potential a mode of eroding citizenship and urban fabric. Guest lecturers from a range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities will address issues ranging from participatory democracy and technologies of environmental justice to ethnic violence and migration.
Territories of Urbanisation: Mapping Projects
29.-30.11.2018
Milica Topalovic, Hans Hortig and Philippe Rekacewicz
During the last decades, the boundaries of the urban have been exploded to encompass vast territories far beyond the limits of even the largest mega-city regions. Through this process of extended urbanisation, novel patterns of urbanisation are crystallising in various environments, in agricultural areas, in the space of seeming wilderness and in the oceans, challenging inherited conceptions of the urban as a bounded zone and a dense settlement type. These observations suggest a radical rethinking of inherited cartographies of the urban, at all spatial scales.

Starting from this observation, a set of collaborative interdisciplinary projects in which new cartographic methods served as key instruments of research and representation of processes and territories of extended urbanization have been developed over the last decade. Departing from the ground-breaking work Switzerland: An Urban Portrait by Studio Basel, we will shed light on more recent projects such as Singapore Hinterland—Milica Topalovic at the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL), the collaborative exhibition Cartographies of Planetary Urbanisationpresented at the Shenzhen Biennale (N. Brenner, C. Schmid, M. Topalovic) and the FCL project Territories of Extended Urbanisation—C. Schmid and M. Topalovic. We will further discuss the mapping processes of two projects —Territories of Extended Urbanisation and Singapore Hinterland— to describe the challenges of combined qualitative and quantitative mapping.

The panel tries to show how mapping could be understood as a collective process enabling discussions, theoretical development and production of knowledge in interdisciplinary academic work.

CONFERENCE
Mappings as Joint Spatial Display

At the interface between sociology of space, architecture, urban studies and geography, the conference aims to raise an interdisciplinary methodological discourse about the instruments of mapping for the research on space by confronting two specific and so far disconnected methodological discourses on data integration: the sociological discourse on joint displays and the discussion about mapping from the spatial sciences.
To Unbreak By Breaking: Design Against Enclosure
13.05.2019
Emily Eliza Scott in conversation with Christoph Kueffer
The dream of unbroken enclosure is personified, among other, in the endless proliferation of climate-controlled interiors and gleaming architectural facades that mark the neoliberal city. Indeed, the contemporary moment is increasingly characterized by stark divisions between various insides and outsides. This talk, drawing on counter-examples from critical art and design, advocates for practices that—rather than giving shaping to the new or the tightly sealed—instead foreground leakage, in the process serving as sensors of the present in its volatile complexity.
Mirroring Effects Book Launch
06.05.2019
Marc Angelil and Cary Siress in conversation with Hans Frei and Something Fantastic
Mirroring Effects: Tales of Territory, written by Marc Angélil and Cary Siress, investigates political and economic practices concerning environment-making in the contemporary world. The presented case studies unfold as real-life tales chronicling mutually reinforcing processes that bind urbanization to capitalism. Taken together, the tales narrate the ongoing restructuration of built and lived spaces in diverse regions of the Global North and Global South, charting the course of capital-led development in settings such as Addis Ababa, Mumbai, Cairo, São Paulo, Berlin, Paris, and Shanghai. The stories told, if casually overheard, could just as easily be misconstrued as the stuff of incredible fables. But real they are.
Urban Nature
29.04.2019
Harry Gugger in conversation with Irina Davidovici and Barbara Costa
Harry Gugger studied architecture after an apprenticeship as a toolmaker and stopped studies in machine engineering and German literature. From 1984 to 1989 he studied at the ETH Zürich with Flora Ruchat and at the Columbia University in New York with Tadao Ando. 1990 began his collaboration with Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. As a partner, he helped to develop Herzog & de Meuron from a small office to a global company.
Among many other projects, he was in charge of: Signal boxes I and II (1991-1994 / 1995-1999) and Engine Depot (1991-1995) in Basel; Library of the University Eberswalde (1994-1999); Tate Modern in London (1995-2000); Schaulager Basel for the Laurenz Foundation (1998-2003); Caixa Forum, Madrid (2001–2008) and the Laban Dance Centre in London (1998-2003), which was awarded the RIBA Stirling Prize 2003. In 2004 Harry Gugger received the Swiss Art Award Prix Meret Oppenheim.
Architecture and Urban Climates
15.04.2019
Sascha Roesler in conversation with Alice Hertzog
While 20th-century architecture learned to “control” the climate of a building, the architecture of the 21st century needs to learn to “cope” with the climate of cities. There is an imperative for new forms of thermal “governance” (on other scales). In this lecture, important historical pioneers of such new architectural thinking will be highlighted. Urban climatology as science evolved in the early 20th century along with the genesis of new energy landscapes and new modern principles of planning. City climate research raised the novel question of the impact of the city on the local weather conditions; “the manner in which these great concentrations of human beings influence their climate” as climatologist Albert Kratzer stated in 1937.
Capitalism, Climate, and Geohistorical Crises
25.02.2019
Jason W. Moore in conversation with Nikos Katsikis
Jason W. Moore is an environmental historian and historical geographer at Binghamton University, where he is professor of sociology. He is author or editor, most recently, of Capitalism in the Web of Life (Verso, 2015), Capitalocene o Antropocene (Ombre Corte, 2017), Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism (PM Press, 2016), and, with Raj Patel, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things (University of California Press, 2017). His books and essays on environmental history, capitalism, and social theory have been widely recognized, including the Alice Hamilton Prize of the American Society for Environmental History (2003), the Distinguished Scholarship Award of the Section on the Political Economy of the World-System (American Sociological Association, 2002 for articles, and 2015 for Web of Life), and the Byres and Bernstein Prize in Agrarian Change (2011). He coordinates the World-Ecology Research Network.
THERE IS NO MORE LAND, THERE IS ONLY SAND*
03.12.2018
Milica Topalovic at Critical Urbanisms, University Basel
The process of Singapore’s transformation from a backwater colonial port, predominantly rural, to the new nation of industrial middle class housed in public high rises, was dubbed a “territorial revolution” with many layers: the social, political and economic dimensions of the national territory have been sculpted by the hand of the state, using topography as the main medium.
Singapore also shows that construction of urban land usually doesn’t come without a (vast) hinterland. The city-state is known as the world’s largest importer of sand for construction, as is located at the center of the sand-trade region whose radius extends to South China, Cambodia, and Myanmar. With nearly a quarter of its land area, around 140 square kilometers, added over the years, it has been estimated that three-quarters of this is “built on foreign soil.”
Tiergarten, Landscape of Transgression (This Obscure Object of Desire)
26.11.2018
Sandra Bartoli with Tanja Herdt
Tiergarten, 210 hectares of forest in the middle of Berlin and the oldest park in the city, is a place where many aspects of ecology, urbanism, heritage, daily culture, and politics are simultaneously present but also visibly transgressed. Over time, Tiergarten has become an island of anomalies that can be read as the radical expression of what is most urban and public in the city. Among many characteristics of Tiergarten isthat here, human history and natural history are constructed together to shape a model for future environments in an ever-expanding sea of urbanization. This lecture ranges from Tiergarten’s transgression as a key to shift established ways of talking about what is considered urban to elements of the biotope map of West Berlin, a far-sighted document of 1984 proposing to dissolve the alleged antagonism between city and nature.

SANDRA BARTOLI is a cofounder, with Silvan Linden, of the Büros für Konstruktivismus in Berlin. As a practice of architecture and research, an attention for high resolution and raw context, both found and constructed, is exercised. An example is the ongoing publishing series AG Architektur in Gebrauch (Architecture in use), started by the office in 2014, in which “use” is explored as an aesthetic category that informs the development and transformation of architectural space. Bartoli and Jörg Stollmann are the editors of the book Tiergarten: Landscape of Transgression, This Obscure Object of Desire (2018). She taught at the TU Berlin, the AdbK in Nuremberg, the adbk Wien, and is currently professor at the Munich University of Applied Sciences.
Water Works
19.11.2018
Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg with Dirk Hebel
Water Works explores a paradigm shift in how water is integrated into our lives at the scale of our households, our neighbourhoods and our city. The lecture will compare water strategies for two similar-sized cities, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and Chennai in India, and two realised urban prototypes in Essen, Germany and London, UK. All four cities have traditional centralized water management systems. These large-scale systems are often invisible, incomprehensible and vulnerable to failure. Instead, by collecting, treating and distributing (waste)water directly where it is produced, we can integrate natural water cycles into our everyday lives and make water tangible in the urban realm. Decentralized infrastructure not only builds resilience against floods, droughts and pollution but can also create beautiful green habitats and natural swimming pools.

OOZE (founded in 2003 by Eva Pfannes & Sylvain Hartenberg) is an international design practice based in Rotterdam, operating between the fields of art, architecture and urbanism. Their work explores how our lives and cities can be more synchronized with nature, and combines an elaborate understanding of natural, ecological processes with technological expertise and deep insights into socio-cultural behaviour. Their work has been realised, exhibited and recognised worldwide, winning the Dutch Basis Prix de Rome for Architecture in 2006, and in 2017 the UK Landscape Institute Award for best ‘Design for a Temporary Landscape’. Their ongoing project “Água Carioca” in Rio de Janeiro has been exhibited at Studio-X in Rio de Janeiro and the Sao Paulo Architecture Biennial (2017), and is the recipient of the Lafarge Holcim Awards Bronze 2017 for Latin America. They have been tutors at Eindhoven Design Academy and in 2015 Practitioners in Residence at Central St Martins, London. Ooze is currently working on the Water as Leverage program of the Dutch Government and 100 Resilient Cities in Chennai, India and is developing a strategy for the Dutch countryside as part of the Board of Government Advisors initiative ‘Bread and Games’.
Reassembling the Natural
12.11.2018
Anna-Sophie Springer with Dubravka Sekulić



The natural history museum was once a primary pedagogical space designed to give visitors a deep appreciation for the profundity of evolution; today, it is the institution that must adapt to support exhibition alliances capable of addressing disturbing realities such as ecosystem collapse and anthropogenic climate change. From this perspective, Anna-Sophie Springer’s presentation will address the exhibition-led research project Reassembling the Natural, while also presenting a the philosophical and curatorial strategies of the current exhibition cycle Verschwindende Vermächtnisse: Die Welt als Wald [Disappearing Legacies: The World as Forest, 2017/18] and other collaborations.

ANNA-SOPHIE SPRINGER is an exhibition maker, writer, editor, and publisher. Since 2011, she directs the boutique publishing imprint K. Verlag in Berlin, advancing new forms of the “book-as-exhibition.” In her research-based practice, Anna-Sophie works with cultural and scientific archives and collections to produce postdisciplinary ecologies of attention and care. She is co-principal investigator of Reassembling the Natural, an exhibition-led inquiry into biodiversity loss and land use transformation funded by Germany’s Kulturstiftung des Bundes, and a founding co-editor of the intercalations: paginated exhibition series, published by K. Verlag and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in the context of Das Anthropozän Projekt. Her research-based practice merges curatorial, editorial, and artistic commitments by stimulating fluid relations among images, artifacts, and texts in order to produce new geographical, physical, and cognitive proximities, often in relation to historical archives and the book-as-exhibition. Her previous curatorial projects include the series EX LIBRIS (2013) on how to make exhibitions engaging books and libraries at Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig (HGB); Galerie Wien Lukatsch, Berlin, and Arg.org. In 2015, she co-curated 125,660 Specimens of Natural History at Komunitas Salihara in Jakarta, Indonesia, in partnership with the Indonesian Institute of Science and funding by the Schering Stiftung. In addition to co-editing the intercalations: paginated exhibition series, Anna-Sophie is also the co-editor of Fantasies of the Library (MIT Press, 2016) and associate editor of the 8th Berlin Biennale, as well as the editor of numerous K. publications and the translator of books by Mark von Schlegell and Nina Power (both Merve, 2009/11). She received her M.A. in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and her M.A. in Curatorial Studies from HGB, Leipzig. In 2014, she was the Craig-Kade Visiting Scholar-in-Residence at Rutgers University. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Institut Kunst, Basel, and a Ph.D. student at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, where her research examines the financialization of nature and the role of natural history collections in a time of ecological collapse and mass extinction.


Geographies of Ecological Surplus
29.10.2018
Nikos Katsikis with Christian Schmid and Ilmar Hurkxkens
Cities and the positive externalities of agglomeration, have been widely recognized as generators of value. The latest UN Habitat stresses that agglomeration zones, although covering no more than 3% of the earth’s surface, contribute more than 70% of global GDP. But the concentration of population and economic activities in a minor percentage of the planetary terrain, is directly interconnected, through a wide set of metabolic interdependencies, with the bio-geographical organization of the “other” 70% of the total land surface utilized. These extensive and often specialized “operational landscapes” of primary production (agriculture, mining, forestry), circulation and waste disposal, constitute the material basis of planetary urbanization. This contribution aims to unpack the spatial configurations of human and extra-human (natural, or technical) work, through which operational landscapes become active agents in urbanization processes, revealing urbanization as condition of constant geographical re-organization of social and ecological value.

NIKOS KATSIKIS is an urbanist working at the intersection of urbanization theory, design and geospatial analysis. He holds a Doctor of Design degree from Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). He is Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Luxembourg in the program on Architecture, European Urbanization and Globalization, and Research Tutor at the Royal College of Arts, London. In parallel, he is affiliated researcher at ETH-Zurich Future Cities Laboratory and at Urban Theory Lab, Harvard GSD. At the GSD he is also on the editorial board of the journal New Geographies (since 2012), co-editor of New Geographies 06: Grounding Metabolism (Harvard University Press, 2014), and he has served as Lecturer in Urban Planning and Design (2014-2015) and Teaching and Research Associate (2010-2014, 2015-2016). He holds a professional degree in Architecture with highest distinction (2006) and a Master of Science in Architecture and Spatial Design (2009) from the National Technical University of Athens. His recent work includes contributions in Harvard Design Magazine, New Geographies and MONU; book chapters in Implosions / Explosions: Towards a Study of Planetary Urbanization (ed. Neil Brenner); Doing Global Urban Research (ed. Michael Hoyler); The Horizontal Metropolis (ed. Paola Vigano); the edited volume Manhattan: Grid for Ordering an Island (with Joan Busquets), Positions on Emancipation (with Florian Hertweck); and the forthcoming book with N. Brenner, Is the world urban? Towards a Critique of Geospatial Ideology.
Cairo Desert Cities book launch
16.10.2018
Charlotte Malterre-Barthes with Marc Angélil and Something Fantastic
Since the 1950s, Egypt has developed dozen new towns in the desert around Cairo. The book Cairo Desert Cities offers the first systematic exploration of these cities, analysing their architecture and urban form, their promise and shortcomings. Intended to satisfy a growing demand for housing, most of the desert towns have never been completed. Taking this condition of permanently emerging urban development at face value, the study identifies the potential of these towns through a series of design scenarios. Cairo Desert Cities underscores the value of re-engaging with modernist town planning, for wiping away the dust of past failures may uncover the contours of future opportunities. The book will be introduced with a short lecture and will be on sale for a special price at the following apéro.
Climavore: What Is Above Is What Is Below
24.09.2018
Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe with Katja Jug and Jennifer Rodenhouse
CLIMAVORE is a long-term project initiated by Cooking Sections in 2015.
It sets out to envision seasons of food production and consumption that react to climatic events. Different from the now obsolete cycle of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, CLIMAVORE rethinks the construction of space and infrastructure by focusing on how climatic alterations offer a new set of clues to adapt our diet to them. This lecture will explore different iterations of the ongoing project situating them within a larger body of work on the remains of Empire and postcolonial structures that have dictated the architecture of landscapes of food production and consumption.
Looking at recent work, the different projects will look at the relationships between human and more-than-human species, as well as the political construction of water scarcity.

 
US-MEXICO BORDER: THIRD NATION OR OCCUPIED TERRITORY
14.05.2018
Michael Dear with Benedikt Korf
After 2006, 650 miles of fortifications were constructed along the land portion of the US-Mexico border. The walls and fences had little or no demonstrable impact on US national security, drug trafficking, or undocumented immigration. Instead they caused immense environmental damage, disrupted life and trade along the borderline, and imposed a military-style occupation and detention ‘gulag’ upon border communities. The ‘twin cities’ that straddle the border represent a ‘third nation’ with more than 10 million residents and where over a billion dollars of binational trade crosses daily. The occupied third nation is now threatened by further fortifications that will seal the entire 2,000-mile border at a cost of $25 billion. An architecture and urbanism of occupation is instrumental in achieving this goal, which is roundly opposed by the majority of third nation dwellers.

The lecture will be followed by a conversation with BENEDIKT KORF.

MICHAEL DEAR is Professor Emeritus in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley, and Honorary Professor in the Bartlett School of Planning at University College, London. His graduate education was at University College London and the University of Pennsylvania. Before coming to Berkeley in 2009, he worked for two decades at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. His most recent book, Why Walls Won’t Work: Repairing the US-Mexico Divide was awarded the Globe Prize for ‘Geography in the Public Interest’ from the Association of American Geographers. His latest edited volume, entitled Geohumanties: Art, History, Text at the Edge of Place focused on emerging transdisciplinary intersections among geography, environmental design and the humanities. He is currently curating an exhibition entitled ‘Art of the California-Mexico Border’ at the Richmond Center for the Arts.

BENEDIKT KORF is a geographer and freelance consultant in international development. Completing his PhD  and a research fellowship at the Chair of Resource Economics, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, he has been a lecturer in geography at the University of Liverpool. Since 2007 he is Assistant Professor at the department Department of Geography, University of Zurich.
LAWS, POPS, AND OTHER INSTITUTIONAL DISCONTENTS
02.05.2018
Dubravka Sekulić
The talk looks on the examples of how law and regimes of managements have a capacity to enclose space, in order to propose a new site of design intervention that could counter these tendencies.

DUBRAVKA SEKULIĆ is an architect and researcher focusing on the topics of transformation of public domain in the contemporary cities, commons and spatial justice, and spatial implications of neoliberal planning. Dubravka exhibited and lectured about her work across the globe, including at aut.innsbruck (AT), Stroom, the Hague (NL), Superfront, Los Angeles (USA), AA, London (UK). She graduated architecture at Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade, where she was a lecturer. She was an East European Exchange Network fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany and a design researcher at Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
ARCHITECTURE AND NATURE
09.04.2018
Stefano Boeri with Anne Lacaton
How can Architecture include living nature as a constitutive element—and not as a simple decoration? How can architecture dialogue with the unpredictable and uncanny presence of nature? Can the inclusion of living nature inside architecture seriously contribute to reverse Climate Change (reducing air pollution, absorbing CO2 and increasing living species biodiversity)? Should we consider a kind of a non—anthropocentric urban ethic?

The lecture will be followed by a conversation with ANNE LACATON.

STEFANO BOERI was born in Milan in 1956, and is the founding partner of Stefano Boeri Architetti. He earned a master’s degree in Architecture from Polytechnic University of Milan and a PhD in architecture in 1989 from Iuav University of Venice. Stefano Boeri was the editor-in-chief of the international magazine Domus from 2004 to 2007 and Abitare from 2007 to 2011. He is the professor of urban planning at Polytechnic University of Milan. He has been visiting professor in many international Universities as GSD Harvard Graduate School of Design, Berlage Institute, Columbia University. From 2013 he is also the artistic director of MI/ARCH, an international festival of architecture promoted by the Politecnico Di Milano.

ANNE LACATON born in 1955 is one of the principals of Lacaton & Vassal Architectes, based in Paris, France. She graduated from the School of Architecture, Bordeaux in 1980, and obtained a Diploma in Urban Planning at the University of Bordeaux in 1984. She was Visiting Professor at the University of Madrid, Master Housing (2007-13); Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL Lausanne) in 2004, 2006 and 2010-11; University of Florida, Ivan Smith Studio in 2012; University of NY-Buffalo, Clarkson Chair in 2013; Pavillon Neu ize OBC-Palais de Tokyo, Paris, in 2013-14; Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) : Kenzo Tange 2011 & Design Critic 2015. Since 2017 she is also Associate Professor of Architecture & Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), based in Zurich, Switzerland.
LANDSCAPES FOR PROFIT, LANDSCAPES FOR LIFE
26.03.2018
Raquel Rolnik with Charlotte Malterre-Barthes
In contemporary cities, global finance has taken over land
and built space, submitting forms and uses to the logic, rythms
and culture of rent seeking capital. “Landscapes for profit”
correspond to real estate financial products which develop
over, destroying and displacing existing living places.
The lecture will retrieve the political economy of financialization
of urban space as well as the corresponding resistance
movements. Using examples of different cities in the world,
both in the north and in the south, and adopting
a historical perspective, the lecture will try to connect
architectures, forms of tenure and political power to understand
current struggles over the right to the city.

The lecture will be followed by a conversation with CHARLOTTE MALTERRE-BARTHES.

RAQUEL ROLNIK is a professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of São Paulo, architect and urban planner, with over 35 years of scholarship, activism and  practical experience in planning, urban land policy and housing issues. In her career, she has held various government positions including Director of the Planning Department of the city of São Paulo (1989-1992) and National Secretary for Urban Programs of the Brazilian Ministry of Cities (2003-2007) as well as NGO activities, such as Urban Policy Coordinator of the Polis Institute (1997-2002). In  2008 Professor Rolnik was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing for a six years mandate, ending June 2014.

CHARLOTTE MALTERRE–BARTHES is an architect and urban designer. She is involved in research and teaching at the chair of Prof. Dr. Marc Angélil since 2011, and is currently completing a doctoral degree on Food and Territories, with Egypt as case study. She directed the cycle on Egypt (2014-2016) of the MAS in Urban Design, investigating formal and informal urban dynamics of Cairo, and currently direct the MAS Urban Design on Tangier/Marseille.
ECLIPSE—URBANISM BEYOND THE CITY
05.03.2018
Milica Topalović
Urbanism has historically been concerned with cities; only exceptional projects have dealt with territory and the territorial character of urbanisation. The eclipse is introduced as metaphor and method to approach urban territories beyond the city — only when the city itself is eclipsed, can the phenomena unfolding in its “shadow“ be adequately perceived and analysed. To reinvent urbanism in the age of the Anthropocene, a widening of its disciplinary field from cities to urbanising territories is required.

The talk with be introduced by Prof. Philip Urspung, dean of the Faculty of Architecture, ETH Zurich.

MILICA TOPALOVIĆ is an architect, urbanist, and an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Territorial Planning at ETH Zurich. Expanding the traditional focus of urbanism and urban studies, her research expertise is on territory and territorial urbanization beyond the limits of “the city”. She has worked on these themes since 2006, when she joined the ETH Studio Basel and directed urban research programs on international cities and on territories including Havana, Hong Kong and the Nile Valley. From 2011-15 she held research professorship at the Singapore-ETH Centre Future Cities Laboratory, studying the relationship between Singapore and its transnational hinterlands. She has also studied extensively informal urban transformation in Europe and the world. She is the author of Belgrade: Formal/Informal, and is working on the forthcoming book Hinterland: Singapore Beyond the Border. In her ongoing studio series at the ETH Department of Architecture she is conducting a series of investigations on European Countryside.
1K
26.02.2018
Momoyo Kaijima with Bas Princen
Atelier Bow-Wow has been working for the project 1K in Katori, Chiba, Japan. K1 is a new timber workshop where everybody can share a workspace together. In this lecture Momoyo Kaijima will explain how to create accessibility of resources through architectural design.

The lecture will be followed by a conversation with Bas Princen.

MOMOYO KAIJIMA was born in Tokyo in 1969. She received her undergraduate degree from the Faculty of Domestic Science at Japan Women’s University in 1991 and both her graduate (M.Eng.) and post-graduate degrees were from Tokyo Institute of Technology in 1994 and 1999. She was also a guest student at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH) from 1996-1997. In 2000 Kaijima became an Assistant Professor, and in 2009 an Associate Professor, at the Art and Design School of the University of Tsukuba. Like Tsukamoto, in 2003 she was a visiting faculty (as a design critic) in the Department of Architecture at Harvard GSD and between 2005 and 2007 she was also a guest professor at ETH Zürich. In 2010 she was the Architect in Residence at the University of Auckland. Since 2017 she is Assistant Professor at ETH.

BAS PRINCEN (1975 / NL) is an an artist and photographer living and working in Rotterdam and Zurich. He was educated as industrial designer at the Design Academy Eindhoven and later studied architecture at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam. Since then, through the use of photography, his work focuses on urban landscape in transformation, researching the various forms, outcomes and imaginaries of changing urban space. At the 2010 Venice Bienale of Architecture, Bas Princen was awarded the Silver Lion for his collaborative work with OFFICE Kersten Geers David van Severen. In 2004 he won the Charlotte Kohler Prize for promising young artists and architects in the Netherlands.
PORTRAITS IV—TERRITORY & POLITICS
27.11.2017
François Charbonnet with Daniel Niggli
In the chapter XVI of his Leviathan – Of Persons, Authors and Things personated (1651), Hobbes defines the person as he « whose words and actions are considered, either as his own or as representing the words and actions of another man […] » accordingly delineating two subcategories : that of the natural person – when the words are his own – and that of the artificial person – when these are representing the words and actions of another ; he further states : « Of persons artificial, some have their words and actions ‘owned’ by those whom they represent. And then the person is the ‘actor’, and he that owns his words and actions is the ‘author’, in which case the actor acts by authority – but is not the author […]. So that by authority is always understood a right of doing any act, and ‘done by authority’, done by commission or license from him whose right it is ».

The distinction between authorship and actorship expediently polarizes the paramount questions of the What?  and of the How?, of the content and of the form. The point is not to apply a literary notion to some emulative acceptation of its content, but rather to hypothetically submit a conceptual intendment to its potential adequation in the field of architecture ; and as such, Hobbes’ axiomatic statement informs us on the condition of  the architect, whose authority is fundamentally a licensed and commissioned one; as the tributary of given programmatic, economic and legal prerequisites and impelled through exogeneous necessities, architecture resolutely assigns its agent to performing a given act in the name and interest of (x) : the architect is a political actor.

FRANÇOIS CHARBONNET studied architecture at the ETH Zurich and collaborated with Terence Riley, Architects in New York (1997-98), Herzog & de Meuron (2000-03), and on a joint venture between Herzog & du Meuron and OMA – Rem Koolhaas (2000-01) before founding Made in with Patrick Heiz in 2003. He has also been a visiting professor at the EPFL Lausanne, ETH Zurich and the University of Lugano in Mendrisio, Switzerland. As of 2017 he is Visiting Professor at the Kyoto Design Lab, Japan.

DANIEL NIGGLI is founding member of the Zurich and Berlin based architectural practise EM2N. Their work has received several awards including ‘bestarchitects’, ‘Umsicht-Regards-Sguardi’, the ‘Auszeichnung Guter Bauten’ from the City of Zurich, the Canton of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft, they received the ‘Swiss Art Award’ in Architecture. Together with his office partner, Matthias Müller, they have been visiting professors at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, as well as in Zurich.
TRANSMATERIAL POLITICS
20.11.2017
Andrés Jaque with Andreas Ruby
The sequence started the moment that one of the young boys living in the family farm in Touba decided to emigrate to Madrid. At this point, the family matriarch at the farmhouse in Touba called one of the males living in Madrid, an older cousin of the boy. The cousin did not answer his cell phone but, instead, headed to a phone parlor where he could obtain better rates for international calls. There, he called the family matriarch to learn of the next arrival. He asked her to stress the need for the boy to walk all the way to either an African grocery store or a Senegalese restaurant in the Lavapiés district. The plan succeeded and, several months later, the young boy made his way to the African grocery in Lavapiés where he found people who put him in touch with his relative. He then took a place in a shared apartment with his cousin and four other Mouride men. It is important to consider the nature of the urban composition in which this event developed: not a city but a fragmented transnational assemblage. In this urban constellation, built devices – such as the apartments, mosque, phone parlors, African grocery stores, and Senegalese restaurants in Lavapiés – are activated in the urban scene only by interacting with a number of diverse technologies including cell phones, rugs, speakers, online platforms, and money transfer services. This urbanism is not shaped by the city itself – neither by its grid nor by the volumes and spaces its buildings create– but by an association of diverse devices that interact to produce an interscalar ecosystem of heterogeneous entities. Fragments of this constellation can be found in shared spaces collectively constructed in the minds and books of the Mouride believers. These fragments are connected by interaction and the performativity of urban dynamics. They gain continuity when phone calls are made, money transfers are ordered, and the relatives of recent immigrants are informed of arrivals. The urbanism by which the Mouride family is enacted is not fixed but performative. Such an urbanism challenges the ways we think politics is embodied in architecture.

In recent years, this issue has compelled a number of theorists and practitioners to align themselves with one of two positions: techno-determinism or techno-neutrality. The determinists argue that the form of the city and its architectural conditions cause societies to emerge in the ways they do. The neutralists, however, believe that architecture is a neutral actor that can potentially contain any social form. Whereas quantification has been the argument to insistently claim the disconnection of architecture from politics, and even to be the first step towards post-political architectural practices, in the account of the specific cases, quantification does not generate space of convergence and does not provide social coherence. Calculation-made enactments are hosted by different and evolving social demarcations, performed in desynchronized time sequences, and cater to diverse and, in many cases, confronted interests, ideologies, sensitivities, stakes, and programs. Parametric calculation, in these cases, is not providing consensus, nor a post-political society, but rather an urbanism of diverse mathematics.

ANDRÉS JAQUE is the founder of the Office for Political Innovation, an international practice that explores material politics in the intersection of design, research and activism. He is the youngest recipient of the Frederick Kiesler Prize for the Architecture and the Arts, and he has been awarded with the Silver Lion at the14th Venice Biennale and the Dionisio Hernández Gil Prize. He is Professor of Advanced Architectural Design at Columbia University GSAPP and Visiting Professor at Princeton University SoA.

ANDREAS RUBY is an architectural critic and theorist. From 1999 to 2001 he was editor of the architectural journal Daidalos. He has taught architectural theory and design at the University of Kassel, Cornell University, and the Ecole Polytechnique Féderale in Lausanne. Together with Ilka Ruby he founded the agency Textbild and the publishing house Ruby Press. Since 2016 he is director of the Swiss Architecture Museum.
TRACES OF THE MORE–THAN–NEOLIBERAL
13.11.2017
Jennifer Robinson with Christian Schmid & Benedikt Korf
Traces of the more-than-neoliberal: Comparing urban outcomes through tracing connections

Bringing the more-than-neoliberal into focus requires a move beyond the practice of tracking neoliberal policies and their localisation, observing their transformation and noting that in the process they reinvigorate the global “syndrome” of neoliberalisation. This way, we only ever “see” neoliberalisation. In this paper I will explore how taking a more explicitly comparative approach to tracing connections between places can bring into view elements of urban processes which a policy mobilities perspective notes but doesn’t treat as a basis for wider analytical insights. Thus, important features of urban processes might be viewed as “fellow travellers” or local variation, and assigned to a non-theoretical series of particular observations. Treating connections as a foundation or starting point for comparison can help to build stronger theoretical and political insights concerning a wider range of urban processes.

I have been calling this approach to comparison “genetic”, drawing on the spatiality of the urban itself as grounds for thinking with elsewhere, for a comparative imagination, following the way in which many urban phenomena are repeated across different contexts, emergent from the vast array of interconnected processes which constitute, perhaps, the virtual urban – all the possibilities that might give rise to “any urban whatever” – to paraphrase Maliq Simone. In the presentation I will draw on three cases of city strategies, in Johannesburg, London and Lilongwe, to consider how tracing genetic processes can support practices of comparing across quite different urban contexts. These “grounds” or justifications for comparison based on the interconnections amongst cities are only a starting point. They can direct us to explore how outcomes are “assembled” across an array of transcalar processes and actors which confound local-global distinctions and bring a much wider range of processes into view – beyond neoliberalization. They also need to be seen as part of a wider process of “assembling” a comparator across the diverse elements of cases, wider literature, individual researchers, evidence gathered, interlocutors, and, not least collaborators, residents, practitioners, who have their own productive “wild” comparisons to put into the mix (Guggenheim et al, 2016). Through this methodological tactic I suggest we can not only identify more-than-neoliberal dynamics and outcomes for wider comparative analysis, but also stretch understandings of the assumed forms of global circulations and of urban political agency which underpin analyses of neoliberalization.

JENNIFER ROBINSON completed her undergraduate, Hons and MA studies in Geography at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, followed by a PhD in Geography at the University of Cambridge. Before coming to University College, London as Professor of Human Geography, she worked at The Open University (1998-2009), the London School of Economics and Political Science (1996-1998) and at the University of Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal), Durban, South Africa (1990-1996). She is also active in the Urban Laboratory, a cross-University network for Urban Studies.

CHRISTIAN SCHMID is a geographer, sociologist and urban researcher. Since 1980, he has been active as video activist, organizer of cultural events and urban researcher. In 1999, he became the scientific director of the project Switzerland: An Urban Portrait at the ETH Studio Basel. He holds the Titular Professor of Sociology at the Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich.

BENEDIKT KORF is a geographer and freelance consultant in international development. Completing his PhD  and a research fellowship at the Chair of Resource Economics, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, he has been a lecturer in geography at the University of Liverpool. Since 2007 he is Assistant Professor at the department Department of Geography, University of Zurich.

 
RIGHT–WING SPACES
30.10.2017
Stephan Trüby with Something Fantastic & Charlotte Malterre-Barthes
With the rise of right-wing populist, anti-liberal and authoritarian political alternatives, architecture has also attracted the attention of right-wing ragers. The innocent-sounding word “metapolitics” has become a key term here. The German right-wing publisher Götz Kubitschek, for example, uses it to mean the extended field “of words, of thought, of style, of books, magazines, and events, of the habitual and the auratic”—a field that in his view needs fundamentally changing, in the interests of a cultural revolution coming from the right. STEPHAN TRÜBY will give a critical overview of the architectural metapolitics pursued by identitarian and alt-right movements internationally.

The lecture will be followed by a conversation with SOMETHING FANTASTIC and CHARLOTTE MALTERRE-BARTHES.

STEPHAN TRÜBY is professor of architectural and cultural theory at the Technical University of Munich. He studied architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) in London. His academic career has involved stints as visiting professor of architecture at the Karlsruhe University of Art and Design (2007–2009), director of the postgraduate spatial design programme at the Zurich University of the Arts (2009–2014) and lecturer at the Graduate School of Design of Harvard University (2012–2014). He was research director of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014 and is a regular contributor to the magazine ARCH+.

SOMETHING FANTASTIC is a young architectural practice committed to smart, touching, simple architecture. Its works include publications (Something Fantastic, Building Brazil, e. a.) teaching (ETH Zurich, e.a.) and design for private and institutional clients.

CHARLOTTE MALTERRE-BARTHES is an architect and urban designer. She is involved in research and teaching at the chair of Prof. Dr. Marc Angélil since 2011, and is currently completing a doctoral degree on Food and Territories, with Egypt as case study. She directed the cycle on Egypt (2014-2016) of the MAS in Urban Design, investigating formal and informal urban dynamics of Cairo.
THE PROPERTY DRAMA
25.09.2017
Arno Brandlhuber & Christopher Roth with Patrik Schumacher & Alex Lehnerer
In recent years ARNO BRANDLHUBER’S practice has been dedicated to the idea of legislation in architecture as a main factor for the built environment. This mindset resulted in built and theoretical investigations, such as the ARCH+ issue Legislating Architecture, and the 2016 film Legislating Architecture, made in collaboration with CHRISTOPHER ROTH. The film and its recent second chapter, The Property Drama, will be shown and discussed during the event.

The lecture will be followed by a conversation with PATRIK SCHUMACHER and ALEXANDER LEHNERER.

ARNO BRANDLHUBER is an architect and urban planner based in Berlin. In 1992 he started his first practice in Cologne, where he realized numerous projects including the Neanderthal Museum, Kölner Brett and Crystal. Since 2006, he has run the collaborative architectural practice Brandlhuber+, whose recent projects include Brunnenstrasse 9 and Antivill. He holds a professorship at ETH Zurich.

CHRISTOPHER ROTH works as an artist and director. His practice may be best understood as a proactive intellectual scholarship combining the factual and fictitious with both analytic and poetic qualities. Roth’s work seeks to understand how information, words, pictures, and ideas are received, travel, and are mediated at a constantly accelerating pace. His work has been included in several exhibitions and congresses around the world.

PATRIK SCHUMACHER is an architect and architectural theorist based in London. He is the principal of the architecture practice Zaha Hadid Architects and was the lead architect of ZHA’s first completed project – the Vitra Fire Station – and together with Hadid, has co-authored almost all the firm’s built works to date. He is also lecturing worldwide and recently held the John Portman Chair in Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

ALEXANDER LEHNERER an architect and urban designer, currently holds a professorship at ETH Zurich. Prior to that he was based in Chicago, where he was a professor at the University of Illinois, School of Architecture. His Zurich-based architectural practice, Ciriacidis Lehnerer Architekten, tries to understand architecture as cultural practice by relentlessly exploring urban and architectural conditions – their forms, ingredients, and rules.
There is No More Land, There is Only Sand*
20.08.2017
Milica Topalovic at the Johann Jacobs Museum
The process of Singapore’s transformation from a backwater colonial port, predominantly rural, to the new nation of industrial middle class housed in public high rises, was dubbed a “territorial revolution” with many layers: the social, political and economic dimensions of the national territory have been sculpted by the hand of the state, using topography as the main medium.
Singapore also shows that construction of urban land usually doesn’t come without a (vast) hinterland. The city-state is known as the world’s largest importer of sand for construction, as is located at the center of the sand-trade region whose radius extends to South China, Cambodia, and Myanmar. With nearly a quarter of its land area, around 140 square kilometers, added over the years, it has been estimated that three-quarters of this is “built on foreign soil.”