Architecture Studio

EPFL Architecture Studio: Laboratory Basel (LABA).
Architecture Master 1, 16h weekly × 14 weeks, 2014–19.

Laboratory Basel was a research and design laboratory led by Prof. Harry Gugger at the EPFL. As part of the Master Orientation C. Cities–Territory, it offered a year-long studio divided into three phases: territory, field, and architecture. The first phase, Territory, was taught in the fall semester employing methods from landscape urbanism. Students collaborated in groups to produce detailed cartographic analyses and scenarios. The second phase, Field, consisted of a ten-day site visit between semesters. The last phase, Architecture, responded to the territorial readings and fieldwork with a site-specific architectural object. The map and the model thus bookended the studio’s ethos and methodology.

Portugal Lessons, 2017/18
The environment is a space that surrounds, encloses, and encircles; the object is a thing that delimits a place and a point of view. To think of architecture as an “environmental object” is to question this separation and imagine a discipline that amplifies its context and renders it conscious. Portugal Lessons: Environmental Objects turns to Portugal’s history for traces of a contextualism that can help us to move beyond architecture as the foreground of nature. If ecology means the “study of the house” (from the Greek oikos, “house” and -logia, “study of”), it must also mean the practice of studying the design of the house. Who do we live with, and to whom/what do we extend our hospitality? How porous should our walls be? In our age of human-induced climate change, we must reassess our forms of life and building, considering how to organize life on an increasingly hostile planet.

Book Introduction: “Homemaking on a Hostile Planet.

Israel Lessons, 2016/17
The Middle East and its ancient region of the Fertile Crescent is historically considered the cradle of Western civilization. The region brought forth various inventions that have shaped the course of humanity, such as agriculture, writing, and the city. It is the birthsite of religions where countless revelations are said to have occurred. The region’s cultural and political resonance is hardly equalled by any other place on earth, and tragically, visions of ethnic exclusivism have systematically prevailed over ideas of community. Israel Lessons: Industrial Arcadia takes a look at Israel in order to critically examine Western conceptions of social space rooted in land domestication and landscape idolatry, revealing how narratives related to agriculture and the climate crisis are intertwined with geopolitics and sectarian ideals of Earthly Paradise.

Book Introduction: “Arcadian Dreams and Agricultural Myths: Israel’s Promised Land.

Venice Lessons, 2015/16
Suspended between sea and soil, Venice is an ambiguous land where human traces cannot survive for long without cyclical preservation. Its history has often been told through vedute and capricci, artistic genres that conceptually blur the boundaries between reality and imagination, while its architecture has often resisted modernization by looking to the past more than to the future. Venice Lessons: Industrial Nostalgia studies contemporary Venice as a subject prone to such mystifications. Thriving on its particular brand of historicism, the recent trajectory of tourism-oriented preservation must artificially re-enact the traditions it displaces, thereby producing a simulated heritage. Appearances nevertheless hide a very concrete state of emergency, a slow-motion drowning that likely anticipates realities to come in the age of Anthropocene.

Book Introduction: The Grand Tour to Industrial Nostalgia.”

Icelandic Lessons, 2014/15.
Must human industry and nature remain eternal enemies? The Industrial Revolution was rooted in the premise that nature was perpetually regenerative, a constant flow and recycling of resources that could be eternally exploited in the production of utilitarian manufactures. In the early 1830s, the Romantic poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson described nature as those “essences unchanged by man; space, the air, the river, the leaf.” Icelandic Lessons: Industrial Landscape approaches architecture from the standpoint that man has not only changed the “essences” of nature, but human agency has come to impact all corners of the planet, and we now find ourselves in a position of increased responsibility as caretakers and designers of our environments.

Book Introduction: Abstract Environments: Industrial Iceland.