Spring '18

Langstrasse with Love

Rogue Urbanism

Design Studio

  • 20.02.18
  • ETH Zurich, ONA
  • Urban-Think Tank Chair of Architecture and Urban Design
    Prof. Alfredo Brillembourg & Prof. Hubert Klumpner
    Melanie Fessel

    Advisors: Michael Walczak, Integral Ruedi Baur

    Research Partners: 5im5i, Community Group


This studio will explore new building typologies for addressing gentrification and immigration in one of Zurich’s last authentic inner-city zones of diversity and inclusion in the Langstrasse district.

Students will design an alternative architectural project by creating urban building prototypes within the interstitial spaces of the Langstrasse district of Zurich. Replicable typologies, integrated infrastructure, and innovative urban scenarios will be generated that challenge conventional approaches to urban development, mobility, and open space.

Zurich is a city that faces many of the same problems that come with the pressures of the global urbanization process in the 21st century. A city that is undergoing a gentrification process is apt for reformulating its remaining urban fabric of diversity and culture in the central city. In this context, the design studio is seeking advanced opportunities to create an inclusive urban vision for the next metropolis.

In the style of the Fun Palace experiment by Cedric Price, students will explore an approach to architecture and to time-based urban interventions by emphasizing flexible spaces, hybrid typologies, temporary interventions, informal arrangements and hedonism, adapting to the changing needs of a neighborhood in transition. Students will propose architectural projects that react to the existing built legacy while generating an overall urban vision that tackles issues related to immigration, gentrification, infrastructure, preservation, environment, mobility, tourism, and resource.

Supported by the Chair of Sociology of Prof. Christian Schmid, the studio will collaborate with associated local and international partners and experts from the fields of architecture, urban design and landscape architecture. The work produced will culminate in an exhibition of the D- ARCH at Bellevue under the curation of Prof. Schmid.

Learning Objectives

Students will undertake research by studying existing international test cases, formulating their design hypothesis, planning urban scenarios, modeling their designs through various formats, and communicating their intentions in a series of critiques and reviews. Students will be encouraged to develop an individual and critical position on the potential role of the architect to guide a design process within broader social, political and economic systems.

A series of lectures, screenings, readings, and discussions will accompany the design program. These will be given by selected experts from the fields of architecture, urbanism, landscape, building technologies and associated disciplines, as well as experts from the Urban-Think Tank Chair. Workshops and in-studio tutorials will be provided to train students in effective methods of representing complex ideas through visual media.