Spring '17

City of Gold

March 18 - 26

Seminar Week

  • Kostenrahmen: E
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Urban-Think Tank Chair of Architecture and Urban Design
    Prof. Alfredo Brillembourg & Prof. Hubert Klumpner
    Danny Wills, Hans-Christian Rufer

    Advisors: Bronwyn Kotzen, Rebecca Looringh-van Beeck
  • Research Partners: University of Johannesburg, Graduate School of Architecture Unit 16, 26'10 south Architects (Anne Graupner, Thorsten Deckler, Paul Devenish)


Johannesburg’s inner city today is densely populated and diverse—characterized by pockets of inclusion and exclusion, but shaped by transient migrant and immigrant communities attempting to claim a stake in sub-Saharan Africa’s rapidly growing economic hub. Development of the area has often been subject to contradictory approaches evident in the coexistence of highly secured, neatly manicured banking and office compounds, and the cluttered sidewalk exchanges of the vibrant—and often illicit—informal economy. This emergent urbanism, produced at the intersection of top-down planning and bottom-up improvisation, cannot be meaningfully addressed by traditional planning models and demands critical investigations into the future vision of inner city Johannesburg.

Students will travel to Johannesburg as an extension of the Urban-Think Tank Design Studio to investigate the architecture, urbanism, culture, and social exchange in Johannesburg with a specific focus on housing. City and architectural tours, museum visits, lectures and talks from local experts will constitute the majority of the trip. With students from the University of Johannesburg Graduate School of Architecture, we will take part in a series of on-site mapping workshops to collect urban ideas and input from residents, interdisciplinary experts, community groups, NGOs, and the private sector.

Enrollment in this seminar week is NOT required but is highly recommended for students in the Radical Jozi Design Studio.  The trip is open to max 15 students, but space is unlimited for students enrolled in the design studio. If enrollment is full online, please contact Danny Wills (wills@arch.ethz.ch) to sign up.

Each passenger traveling across any international boundary is solely responsible for obtaining all necessary travel documents, including any required visas, a valid passport and for complying with the laws of each country flown from (the departure country), through (any transit country) and into (the destination country). Neither the ETH Zurich nor the travel services provider nor the booking office can be charged for inconvenience and costs as a result of failure to obtain a visa.