Fall '16

Action! On the Real City


Elective Course

  • Start 22.09.2016
  • ETH Zurich, ONA E30
  • Professor Alfredo Brillembourg & Professor Hubert Klumpner
    Marie Grob, Diego Ceresuela-Wiesmann, Rebecca Looringh-van Beeck
  • ECTS Credits: 2
  • Thursdays: 15:00 - 17:00
  • Collaborators: Vesna Tomse and the Verein Wunderkammer


A full urban block in the center of Opfikon’s up-and-coming Glattpark area, only minutes away from ONA, is the site of intervention for this semester’s elective. Students will learn how to develop and realize ideas for rapid change in context of both existing initiatives and future plans. Becoming curators of their city, they will negotiate, edit and intervene. Students will explore the relationship between visionary goals, planning regulations and operational possibilities.

Learning from previously successful projects in Zürich and case studies from around the world, the course will share insight into how temporary action can ignite cumulative urban regeneration and influence future development.

How can we increase urban value through an open and inclusive process? And how can we improve upon current planning paradigms via active experimentation?

The course is run in collaboration with the ‘Wunderkammer’ project, lead by Zurich’s very own Jane Jacobs, Vesna Tomse, who is well-known for her ability to rejuvenate public open space through activating bottom-up initiatives. Supported by Stadt Opfikon, the project’s mandate is to transform the undeveloped site into an area of opportunity through incremental change and community buy-in.

The course will begin with a voluntary trip to the renaissance castle of Ambras to experience a Wunderkammer firsthand. This will be followed by a guided site visit during which students will be introduced to Glattpark, its recent developments and the Wunderkammer project’s ambitions. The first exercise will be to document the potential and hidden qualities of the area. Then, after defining a collective design charter, students will work towards developing on-site physical interventions as decision-making tools. The goal of the studio is to define a more grounded process for community driven design and trigger incremental change. To continue investment in the site, students’ work will be showcased at a concluding exhibition and event.

For more information on Verein Wunderkammer: wunderkammer-glattpark.ch