Eth Teaching

Autumn '18

Urban Prototype Design Studio: Cartagena, Colombia

Urban Prototype

Design Studio

  • 18.09.18
  • 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: Pies Descalzos Foundation (Colombia), Fundación Santo Domingo (Colombia), State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO (Switzerland)


This design studio will address environmental issues and social inequality by exploring urban resettlement strategies and knowledge transfer spaces through new urban and building typologies in the context of Colombia’s emerging Caribbean region in Cartagena.

What is a design for an alternative school environment in the 21st century?

The design studio is seeking advanced opportunities to create an inclusive urban vision for the next metropolis. Hybrid educational facilities will be generated that reinforces education as a driver of change for a new typology of experimental children’s school integrating interdisciplinary learning, collaborative spaces, and hybrid programming.

Supported by the Barefoot Foundation, founded by Shakira, the studio will collaborate with associated local and international partners and experts from the fields of architecture, urban design and landscape architecture.

Colombia is an emerging country that faces many of the same challenges that come with the pressures of the global urbanization process in the 21st century. A post-conflict country in transition, one that is seeking a new identity in the midst of a peace process, is apt for a reformulation of its urban centers. Cartagena, located in the Caribbean region, where a big tourism industry is currently growing, is an example of extreme inequality and corruption. New high-rise developments along the coast, a history that protects part of the old city under UNESCO-Heritage, a newly built airport with increased passenger capacity, environmental issues such as flooding and most of the population living in slums with sub-standard conditions are all ingredients of Cartagena’s evolution.