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Architecture School

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The architecture school is the place where the student learns, thinks, debates, researches, produces, designs and lives. These operations cannot be made always in the same space; they need different kind of spaces to express their self as best. The student would otherwise enter in an endless loop of monotony, nullifying the potential of an architectural study. Nowadays the student has only one space: the studio of his chair. A fixed working station at the chair seems to caricaturize the idea of acquiring a given position and reinforces the authorship and agenda of the professor rather than the ones of the student. The new architecture school should follow the idea of destruction of the Arbeitsplatz and provide, rather than a personalized generic space, an impersonalized space to be inhabited in a nomadic way, like a bench at the airport. . The acts of creation and projection need different perspectives as well as a critical distance to the own work. We are the mirror of the transformation of the society, which asks for more independence and flexibility. Just think to the change of the library into learning centre, a flexible space with different workplaces. The architecture school needs as well to be rethought; the last mutations require new balances and different kind of approach. The student doesn’t identify himself anymore in the rigid system of the institution.

For this reason the ateliers are spread over the entire multifunctional building placed in the park of the Kasernenareal, while the administration of the university is detached into the former arsenal. If the repetitive structure of the existing building offers a perfect organization for office spaces, all potential spaces of work need to be arranged in a new type of building, in which all its functions, even if simply arranged on different floors, are bound together in one continuous space, a huge atelier. The different operations of the design process are clearly distinct but still part of one entity.

The structure is a prefabricated Stützen-Platten in concrete. The missing pillars in the middle of the auditoria are replaced by a system of cables, which also creates the stiffening of the entire building. The auditoria, when used for lessons, are closed with a curtain and for the rest of the time are informal working places. In so doing, the building is in a constant and dynamic change. The elements of the auditoria are both inside circulation, program and external fire stairs.

The building is directly related with the city-park Kaserne. The regular structure of the building is extended in the public space in form of a raster, on which linden trees are disposed all over the city-park. In proximity of the building the density of the raster diminishes in order to create different conditions and characterize the experience of approaching the building. The linden trees reinforce and strength the difference of spatial quality between the densely vegetated perimeter and the wide and open core of the area. The floor is covered by a layer of bright, middle-sized gravel that allows the park to be read as a space of the city.


Giulia Augugliaro

Universität / Fachhochschule

ETH Zürich

Stefano-Franscini-Platz 5
8093 Zürich ETH-Hönggerberg

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