063-0858-21L  Subject Semester (Fachsemester) FS21 in the Field of History and Theory in Architecture (Avermaete)

SemesterFrühjahrssemester 2021
DozierendeT. Avermaete
Periodizitäteinmalige Veranstaltung
KommentarOnly for Architecture MSc, Programme Regulations 2017.
Enrolment only possible after consultation with the lecturer.

A student can only register once for a "Fachsemester" during the Master studies!

KurzbeschreibungThis Fachsemester focuses on the green commons of Zürich: the many forests, pastures, gardens, allotment gardens, parks, fields, lawns, … that characterize the city. We explore how they are manifested, produced, managed, used, maintained, and appropriated. Green commons offer new perspectives on contemporary challenges such as climate change, urban food provision and densification.
LernzielThe subject semester or “Fachsemester” has two objectives. First, we will develop an ‘Archeology’ of Zürich’s eco-commons. In this part, the work of the urban historian or theoretician is understood as an archaeological venture: the city’s green elements will be regarded as the outcome of codes and practices of ‘commoning’ that will be systematically analyzed. The result will be a catalogue of city’s green infrastructures and networks, illustrating how these provide frameworks for ‘commoning’, and demonstrating how these common ecological resources mitigate environmental challenges such as pollution and urban heat islands, and how, as urban figures, they are integrated into the city fabric.
Secondly, we will develop an ‘Assemblage’ of Zürich’s eco-commons by scrutinizing how they are experienced, practised, and developed in the city. To this end, we will analyze the character and role of urban forests, parks, gardens, and allotments as sites for the production of common-pool resources (health and leisure space, energy, food, clean air, etc.). We will explore the relations between ecological commons and commoning practices, and the negotiations they entail between experts and non-experts, formal and informal agencies, human and nonhuman actors.
The result of the Fachsemester will be A Retroactive Manifesto for the city of Zürich, in which the past, present and future roles of green commons in the city will be discussed, as a more comprehensive project for the city as we know it and as it might evolve.
InhaltCities have always been based on common resources and common practices. While designing and constructing the architecture of the city, architects, urban designers, builders, and inhabitants have had to engage with common resources located in particular places and geographies: inherited common-pool resources (water, nature, air); material common-pool resources (clay, brick, stone, wood); and immaterial common-pool resources (craft, knowledge). This understanding of the city, as related to common resources and practices, has gained renewed attention, as neoliberalism replaces ever-shrinking welfare structures, and global urbanization is accompanied by rising inequality. It is not only architects and urban designers who are again becoming interested in alternative principles of governing common resources, but also political movements and society at large. Some of these issues – generally called ‘the commons’ – have also received growing academic attention in the last decades within the fields of critical urban studies, urban history, urban geography and the social sciences. This Fachsemester continues the studio’s investigations into the rich history of ‘the commons’ in the city of Zürich by focusing on its green infrastructures. The ‘eco-commons’ will be investigated from architectural, spatial, environmental and material perspectives. We will explore how ecological common practices and resources have affected the development of the city, and conversely how the built environment has structured common practices and facilitated access to green spaces as common resources. The research will unlock an alternative reading of the urban and architectural qualities of the built environment of the city.
SkriptMethodology: Exploring the Tools and Knowledge of the Architect
The main hypothesis of the Fachsemester is that historical and theoretical research can gain from a profound use of the tools and knowledge of an architect. During the Fachsemester students will employ specific architectural tools, such as drawing, writing, and model making to explore historical and theoretical realities. Students will be urged to explore various methods of composing analytical and interpretative drawings. They will reflect upon the capacity of drawing methods from the field of architecture, such as plan drawing, sectional drawings, mappings, serial visions, public drawings, diagramming and perspective representations to act as tools of historical and theoretical research. At the same time, they will be asked to investigate various analytical and interpretative modes of scale-model making. Students will look into such different types as structural models, mass models, counter form models, landscape and territorial models, as ways to historically or theoretically explore the reality of the city.

Result: A Retroactive Manifesto
The final product of the Fachsemester is a ‘retroactive manifesto’, a profound historical or theoretical work which offers new insights into the driving logics of a particular urban condition of the distant or recent past. Such a project will reflect a clear hypothesis on the logics of that urban condition, offering not only a better understanding of the circumstances of emergence and development, but also of its future potential.
During the Fachsemester, students work simultaneously on a joint research as well as on individual research projects. The collaborative research will focus on Green Commons as a fragment Zürich’s urban structure, as it is related to the common resources, and will result in introductory texts, drawings and models. For their individual research, students will focus on a particular site, and investigate how this site has been developed, in time and in relation to the available common resources and practices, until today. Next to text, these individual projects will be presented through a defined set of maps, drawings, and models.
The collective and individual projects together will offer an alternative reading, which retro-actively traces the urban territory and architectural quality of the city of Zürich back to the local common resources and common practices. The different materials – texts, drawings, models – will be combined in an atlas, which presents this alternative reading to a broader audience, and unlocks aspects of the urban and architectural quality of the city that still influences our experiences today, but regularly has been overlooked. As such, this atlas also is a manifesto: facing the situation today, it urges such alternative readings as essential lessons from the past as well as alternative guidelines for future developments.
Voraussetzungen / BesonderesA student can only register once for a "Fachsemester" during the Master studies!