Fall '17

Urban Prototype

New Typologies to Reclaim Public Space

Design Studio

  • 19.09.17
  • ETH Zurich, ONA
  • Urban-Think Tank Chair of Architecture and Urban Design
    Prof. Alfredo Brillembourg & Prof. Hubert Klumpner
    Diego Ceresuela Weismann, Melanie Fessel

    Advisors: Michael Walczak, Integral Ruedi Baur

    Research Partners: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Secretaría Distrital de Planeación (City of Bogotá), Embassy of Switzerland in Bogotá, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)


The studio will explore new building typologies for reclaiming the public spaces and urban landscapes in the area of Plaza de Los Mártires along a newly planned metro line in the city of Bogotá.

Students will design an alternative architectural project by creating urban prototypes for the Colombian capital of Bogotá. Replicable typologies, integrated infrastructure, and innovative urban scenarios will be generated that challenge conventional approaches to urban development, mobility, and open space. Bogotá is an emerging city that faces many of the same problems that come with the pressures of the global urbanization process in the 21st century. A post-conflict city in transition, one that is seeking a new identity in the midst of a peace process, is apt for a reformulation of its fragmented urban fabric in the central city. In this context, the design studio is seeking advanced opportunities to create an inclusive urban vision for the next metropolis.

The public space in the city of Bogotá was lost decades ago to social and political turmoil, and it is now, that this space will have to be reconquered. The focus area will be in the historic center, and its network of streets, squares, parks, and their adjacent built environment around Plaza de Los Mártires and Avenida Caracas. Along this main artery of the city, the new “Metro de Bogotá” is currently in the planning process, an elevated metro system that will drastically be changing the urban fabric and value of real-estate in the area. This urban revolution is creating the immense opportunity to develop an experimental city vocabulary in the three-dimensional cityscape thinking through various scales and hybrid programming.

Supported by the Chair of Landscape Architecture of Prof. Christophe Girot, the studio will collaborate with representatives from the City of Bogotá’s Planning Department, associated local and international partners and experts from the Universidad Nacional in Bogotá.

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.