Urban Dwelling 3rd/4th Year Architectural Design Studio
University ETH Zurich
Date 2007- 2010
Professor Felix Claus
Assistants Medine Altiok, Benedikt Boucsein, Axel Humpert

Public Town building: AMSTERDAM / 2007
In an age that seems more interested in form than content, we will research the possibilities of architecture to serve and represent society by designing a public building. The programme consists of the different functions required by a small town of 20.000 inhabitants: town hall, library, theatre, combined with more commercial activities as shops, hotel+restaurant, apartments etc. These programmatic requirements are neither restrictive nor limitative but are merely used as the generator of the SPECIFIC and INDIVIDUAL concept of the architectural project that addresses the central hypothesis: Can architecture offer quality to legitimize any specific form?

Townhouse: YOKOHAMA / 2008
Yamashita Pier, one of many such sites in Yokohama harbor, is in functional flux and currently under high pressure to be redeveloped. During the last semester, the class of Prof. Kees Christiaanse drew up an urban strategy for the whole area. This plan will serve as the starting point of our studio. During the studio, we will focus on designing townhouses on the rules of the master plan, and great care will be given to the genius loci of Yamashita Pier. Each student will choose his task from a given set of precisely defined programs, ranging from single-family houses over social housing to upscale dwellings with office functions. The level of necessary detailing will be determined by the size of the chosen object. We will reinterpret a feature typical of Yokohama from the perspective of European townhouses.

Row house: ZÜRICH, LONDON, PARIS / 2008
The central theme will be the type of the inner-city row house. Students will be able to choose between three sites in the centers of Zurich, London, and Amsterdam. Each student will work out a detailed and concrete project on lane, canal or street. As one of the oldest urban types, the roughhouse still carries great potential for our cities. By working on the projects we will make statements on how these potentials can best be utilized today. For doing so, we will have to gain a broader view of the theme and think beyond the context.

Apartment: BERLIN, MADRID, PARIS / 2009
During the 19th century, the development of Europe’s great cities resulted in dense building blocks of an often speculative nature. Today, these quarters and flats usually meet high standards in terms of structure and location for inner-city dwelling and working. For our work on the subject of the city apartment, we have chosen three sites in the centers of Paris, Madrid, and Berlin, where a gap in a perimeter block of the 19th century will be filled in. Discussion and analysis will focus on the typological and architectural properties of the inner city apartment house. This is especially important as we do not aim at re-inventing the apartment house type. We rather want the existing qualities of this type to be consistently adapted to contemporary needs and building methods. The projects will focus on the configuration and materialization of an exemplary apartment as well as the relationship between facade and entrance to the street.

Apartment House: ZÜRICH, PARIS, MILAN / 2009
In fall 2009 we will work on the freestanding urban apartment house. On three prominent sites in Zürich, Paris, and Milan, students will deal with a complex urban context, designing a place for urban living with a single entrance, several apartments, and ground-floor commercial uses. There are no pure typological examples for the type of building we will deal with: Freestanding intra-urban structures accessed through a single entrance for several tenants with their volume, openings, ground-floor uses, courts as well as overall height strongly related to the context. Design work in the Studio will be accompanied by research on historic and current examples of the freestanding apartment house.

Highrise Apartment: CHICAGO, TOKYO, ZÜRICH / 2010
During the spring semester of 2010, we will work on the apartment high-rise type on three sites in Chicago, Tokyo, and Zurich. Main topics of the studio discussions will be the interaction of plan and structure, the position of the building within its urban surroundings and the relationship of the building’s ground level uses to the surrounding public space. Each student will work out an individual project on one of the three sites, with the objective to give an independent and typologically clear answer to the questions discussed. We will also discuss historical and current examples of apartment high-rises as well as constructive and economic aspects.