Milica Topalovic: Katalogdaten im Herbstsemester 2022

NameFrau Prof. Milica Topalovic
LehrgebietArchitektur und Territorialplanung
Professur Arch.&Territorialplanung
ETH Zürich, ONA G 41
Neunbrunnenstr. 50
8093 Zürich
Telefon+41 44 633 85 03
BeziehungAusserordentliche Professorin

052-1147-22LArchitectural Design V-IX: Power to the People - Energy and Territory in the Rheinland (M.Topalovic) Information Belegung eingeschränkt - Details anzeigen
Please register (Link) only after the internal enrolment for the design classes (see Link).

Project grading at semester end is based on the list of enrolments on 1.11.22, 24:00 h (valuation date) only. This is the ultimate deadline to unsubscribe or enroll for the studio.
14 KP16UM. Topalovic
KurzbeschreibungWho owns and controls the energy we use? During the semester we will explore the Rheinische Revier to find out how energy production has formed this landscape in the past and present, and to learn from the precedents. Renewable energy has the potential to regenerate the social and the ecological fabric of territory. Can we imagine landscapes where energy is not a product, but a common good?
LernzielNew Ecologies
New Ecologies is a studio series at Architecture of Territory dedicated to ecologising architecture. Ecological thinking, which foregrounds the interactions between organisms (or by extension between objects, or social and technical systems) and their environments, is applied in considering design practises in their social and environmental effects. The studio series is affiliated with the Future Cities Laboratory and the ETH EPFL Master of Advanced Studies MAS UTD. Citizens, experts, fellow designers and artists will accompany us in the process.

Process and results
The semester consists of investigative journeys and intensive studio sessions. Architecture of Territory values intellectual curiosity, commitment and team spirit. We are looking for avid travellers and team workers, motivated to make strong and independent contributions. Our approach enables students to work with a range of methods and sources pertaining to territory, including ethnographic fieldwork, literature research and essay writing, drawing techniques, videography, and online publishing. Experts and guests will help us on the journey. Students work in groups of two to three.

Seminar week
An investigative journey constitutes the core of the project. The seminar week will be dedicated to exploring the manifold facets of energy landscapes in the Rheinische Revier. With our guides we will traverse the territory, visit mining pits, old and new forests and villages and speak with locals, experts, activists and pioneers of energy transition. The common days are followed by a period dedicated to fieldwork in respective student teams. The seminar week takes place from October 22–30 (cost frame B). It is integrated, mandatory, and open to all interested students.

Lecture series: My Energy
Within the lecture series running in alignment with the studio, four guest speakers engaged in fields ranging from energy humanities and feminist political ecology, to urban history and urban design, will approach the notions such as energy transition, decarbonisation, genealogy of energy, and urban microclimates.
InhaltWho owns and controls the energy we use? The energy crisis looming over Europe this fall as a consequence of the Ukraine war has made it clear that European geopolitics and power asymmetries have been built on fossil fuels. Yet the discussions around energy transition usually revolve around reducing carbon emissions through technofix solutions, without questioning the broader politics of energy. The promise of energy transition, that renewable energies could be decentral, ecological and above all democratic systems, is rarely explored. To understand the potentials of such transition, we need to approach energy as a vital agent producing the territory. Does energy production have to lead to ecosystem devastation and enhance social inequity, or can it unlock opportunities for a different future? Can architects and territorial designers envision and design a more democratic, equitable and ecological energy landscape?

There is probably no better place to understand energy and its impact on human life and environment than the Rheinland. Between Cologne and Aachen, the region also known as Rheinisches Revier, is an agro-industrial flatland, scarred through decades of coal mining, stripped of natural diversity and speckled with energy infrastructures, both fossil and renewable. High voltage powerlines, power plants’ cooling towers, wind parks, huge bucket-wheel excavators, photovoltaic fields and biogas plants criss-cross the land and fill the horizon, creating an experience of a dehumanised territory. The need for energy, in particular coal, has massively altered this territory for already more than a century. Hambach, the region’s largest brown coal open-pit mine, has a surface area of 85 square kilometres—equal to the city of Zurich. The volume of earth excavated every year in that mine equals four times the volume of earth moved to build the Panama Canal.

The energy industry penetrates the ground and affects every aspect of life. Entire villages have been razed, heritage landscapes lost, communities resettled, primary forests cut, roads relocated and rivers rerouted. The single main actor in charge is the energy corporation RWE. It has been criticised as top-down and profit-driven by climate activists and networks of resistance, which have formed in the region to struggle for greater democratic transparency and an ecological agenda by means of peaceful demonstrations and occupations of hamlets and infrastructures. In 2018, 50,000 people came together to celebrate the rescue of the Hambacher Forst that was saved from the expansion of the mine with the means of persistent activist protests.

Germany’s intended “coal exit”—Kohleausstieg—until 2038, will transform the Rheinland once again as mining operations are phased out in favour of landscapes of renewable energy and recreation. There is a danger herein that renewable energy farms will simply replace coal-fired power plants, while maintaining the same imperatives of increasing profits, growth and energy consumption that have characterised the production of coal (Dawson, 2020). With this mindset, we may be able to reduce carbon emissions, but the accompanying crises of increasing social polarisation, resource exhaustion and biodiversity loss will persist. Can we use the current momentum of energy transition to envision a meaningful change?

During the semester we will explore the Rheinische Revier to find out how energy production—from coal and gas to solar, wind and hydro—has formed this landscape in the past and present, and to learn from the precedents. Renewable energy has the potential to regenerate the social and the ecological fabric of territory. Can we imagine landscapes where energy is not a product, but a common good? Power to the people!

The seminar week is at the core of the project. After dedicated field exploration, students will be asked to write their own project briefs and develop analysis and projects for energy landscape.
Voraussetzungen / BesonderesPlanning as an integrated discipline is included in this course.

Group work only.

Introduction: 20 September 2022, 09:00 am, ONA G35
Intermediate crits: 23 November 2022
Final crits: 21 December 2022
Extra costs: Approx. CHF 50.-- per student.
063-0703-22LArchitecture of Territory: Territorial Design in Histories, Theories and Projects Information 2 KP2VM. Topalovic
Kurzbeschreibung"Sessions on Territory" are public debates on the political economy of architecture and territory within and beyond the neoliberal order.
Lernziel"SESSIONS ON TERRITORY - Urbanism in a Broken World: REPAIR" is a series of public debates on the political economy of architecture and territory. Focusing on politics and practices of repair that aim to reduce exploitation, care for what already exists, repair what has been damaged, and conserve resources, the upcoming series will untangle how such alternatives in design education and practice have the potential to counter the condition of manifold crises. Every intervention by a guest speaker is followed by a discussion with invited respondents. The sessions are part of The Great Repair project, a collaboration between ARCH+, ETH Zurich and Uni Luxembourg.
SkriptTexts to accompany each presentation will be sent via email before each weekly session.

The live sessions will also be broadcast online:
Fachspezifische KompetenzenKonzepte und Theoriengeprüft
Methodenspezifische KompetenzenAnalytische Kompetenzengeprüft
Soziale KompetenzenKommunikationgeprüft
Selbstdarstellung und soziale Einflussnahmegeprüft
Persönliche KompetenzenKreatives Denkengeprüft
Kritisches Denkengeprüft
064-0017-22LResearch Methods in Landscape and Urban Studies: Writing Landscapes, Writing the Urban Information Belegung eingeschränkt - Details anzeigen 2 KP2KF. Persyn, T. Avermaete, T. Galí-Izard, H. Klumpner, C. Schmid, M. Topalovic
KurzbeschreibungThis seminar supports researchers writing on topics related to landscape, urban studies, and architecture through offering hands-on guidance and a safe space for peer-to-peer exchange. The seminar participants receive guidance on how to work with fieldwork, literature reviews, and archival research, develop arguments and narrative arcs in writing.
LernzielResearch writing can often be a solitary, arduous, and unrewarding exercise, this seminar aims to promote peer-to-peer exchange, and offer hands-on guidance and a safe space for researchers writing on topics related to landscape, urban studies, and architecture. The seminar will offer guidance as to how researchers can work with fieldwork, literature reviews, and archival research, develop arguments and narrative arcs in writing, in addition to practical tips and tricks. While the seminar is primarily geared towards supporting doctoral researchers in the dissertation-writing phase, it is open to all researchers regardless of where they might be in their research provided they are in the process of developing a work of academic writing such as research plan, a journal article, or a design manifesto.

The participants of this seminar are expected to bring a text that they would like to develop over the course of the semester. The texts can be diverse in format and length; it can be a dissertation or book chapter, journal or magazine article, or a research plan.

The seminar will alternate between inputs by invited guests, reading and discussion sessions, tutorials, and peer-review. A total of five input lectures by invited guests will be offered during the seminar, where senior academics from the Department and elsewhere will provide a behind-the-scenes look into their writing process. The invited guests will discuss as to how they structure their arguments, organise their sources and materials, and how they find inspiration for their writing process. These input lectures will be alternated with thematically organised tutorial sessions structured around the following themes: writing about fieldwork and field methods, about landscapes, about political ecology and economy, ethnographic human and other-than-human vignettes, about dwelling and urban space. In the first half of these tutorial sessions, the seminar participants will discuss and debate a requisite reading followed by a writing tutorial and feedback session based on the texts. The seminar participants can choose to present the work developed during the seminar at the LUS Doctoral Crits organised at the end of the semester.
InhaltThe format will provide an overarching methodological meta-theme, to be defined prior to the event. One external guest critic will be invited. In this case, each presentation will conclude with a discussion round, providing sufficiently detailed feedback for every doctoral candidate.
29.09 – Ethnography from the field and archive – ADAM JASPER
06.10 – Writing spatially, writing otherwise - MATTHEW CRITCHLEY
13.10 – Indigenous Landscape Urbanism - KELLY SHANNON
03.11 – Informed gardening activism - BARBARA VAN DYCK
10.11 – Ordering the unfamiliar - ANNE HULTZSCH
17.11 – Landscape, dwelling, and the political ecology - MAAN BARUA
24.11 – From notes to narrative - NIKOS MAGOULIOTIS
01.12 – Imagining the invisible - NANCY COULING
08.12 – Writing in the Planetary Age - HOLLYAMBER KENNEDY
15.12 – LUS Doc Crits
LiteraturBarua, M. (2014) ‘Bio-geo-graphy: Landscape, dwelling, and the political ecology of human-elephant relations’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 32(5), pp. 915–934.

Crysler, C.G. (2003) Writing Spaces: Discourses of Architecture, Urbanism and the Built Environment, 1960–2000. London: Routledge. Available at:

Eco, U. (2015) How to write a thesis. MIT Press.
Geertz, C. (1973) ‘Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture 1973’.

Hultzsch, A. (2017) Architecture, travellers and writers: Constructing histories of perception 1640-1950. Routledge.

Jackson Jr, J.L. (2013) Thin description. Harvard University Press.

Jon, I. (2021) ‘The City We Want: Against the Banality of Urban Planning Research’, Planning Theory & Practice, 22(2), pp. 321–328. Available at:

Kennedy, H. (2019) ‘Infrastructures of “Legitimate Violence”: The Prussian Settlement Commission, Internal Colonization, and the Migrant Remainder’, Grey Room, pp. 58–97.

Madden, M. (2005) 99 ways to tell a story: exercises in style. Penguin.

Malm, A. (2013) ‘The origins of fossil capital: From water to steam in the British cotton industry’, Historical Materialism, 21(1), pp. 15–68.

Malm, A. (2016) Fossil capital: The rise of steam power and the roots of global warming. Verso Books.

Malm, A. and Hornborg, A. (2014) ‘The geology of mankind? A critique of the Anthropocene narrative’, The Anthropocene Review, 1(1), pp. 62–69.

Marcus, G.E. (1995) ‘Ethnography in/of the world system: The emergence of multi-sited ethnography’, Annual review of anthropology, 24(1), pp. 95–117.

Narayan, K. (2012) Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov. University of Chicago Press.

Queneau, R. (2018) Exercises in style. Alma Books.

Shannon, K. and Manawadu, S. (2007) ‘Indigenous Landscape Urbanism: Sri Lanka’s Reservoir & Tank System’, Journal of Landscape Architecture, 2(2), pp. 6–17. Available at:

Soja, E. (2003) ‘Writing the city spatially1’, City, 7(3), pp. 269–280. Available at:

Tornaghi, C. and Van Dyck, B. (2015) ‘informed gardening activism: steering the public food and land agenda’, Local Environment, 20(10), pp. 1247–1264.
Voraussetzungen / BesonderesThe seminar is joint-organized by the chairs of the professors H. Klumpner, Ch. Girot, G. Vogt and M. Angélil (who in HS18 is mainly responsible for the course (one full-day event in the academic semester).

Participants in both cases will be expected to submit single-page abstracts of their papers in advance and to make a presentation of app. 20 minutes at the colloquium. The discussion rounds will be moderated by the organizing professor and the invited guests.

Enrolment on agreement with the lecturer only.