Urban Qualities in Landscapes – The Travelling Architect

Posted on

In the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich, including at the Chair of Professor Vogt, seminar trips take place twice a year. These are planned independently of the current design semester.

We understand a travel seminar not as a sightseeing tour but rather as a guided examination of public open spaces, mainly concerning the tension between the city and the landscape. We are not tourists; we are travelling architects. The clear contrast between city and countryside is disappearing more and more. The landscape is becoming urbanised and there is hardly any untouched nature to be found. All landscape spaces are the result of human intervention: there are landscapes that have the marks of a design as well as a redesign that can be read just like agricultural land and infrastructures. The Seminar Week cycle of the Chair is devoted to this area of tension with the main theme: Urban Qualities in Landscapes.

Content-wise, the seminar trip is oriented to the main themes of the Chair and offers the possibility to delve into these in depth and on site. Last semester’s seminar topic dealt mainly with the notion of craft, with a special focus on the manufacture of products and the resources it requires. Other problem areas addressed were the processes of change and adjustment that subordinate a particular handwork tradition and its artisans, as well as the effects these have on the use and formation of the landscape.