Teaching the Norm  

University ETH Zurich – Department of Architecture
Course Architectural Design Studio 1st year
Dates 2005/06
Professor Dr Marc M. Angélil
Assistants Medine Altiok, Inge Beckel, Dirk Hebel, Matthias Imgrüt, Marion Kalmer, Lukas Kueng, Zwi Kutner, Jesse Le Cavalier, Dominique
Leutwyler, Martin Matter, Patrick Maisano, Michael Martin, ChristophSauter, Deane Simpson, Cary Siress, Benjamin Theiler, Akay Zorlu,
Andrew Whiteside

            The history of architecture is always simultaneously the history of housing the human body and of establishing the norms involved. Based upon this thesis, the first-year course of 2005/06 introduced the subject of the architectural norm into the established curriculum. While investigating and ultimately also questioning the norm, the course used it as a new didactic tool and general parameter to examine content. A large number of over 280 students and their collective experience with the norms of everyday life was regarded as a potential for teaching the course.
            By investigating our discipline’s production of normality, we wanted to test whether the critical potential within the structure of the first-year course can be made architectonically productive at the beginning of the overall curriculum by applying it to the environment familiar to the students. The idea was to provide students with an understanding of architectural practice, which defines architecture as a place in which social, political and aesthetic systems of rules and regulations are negotiated.