What is Next?

Presenting a week of seminars from 19-22 October 2020 curated by Studio Adam Caruso at ETH Zürich exploring the architecture of crisis

Presenting a week of seminars from 19-22 October 2020 curated by Studio Adam Caruso at ETH Zürich exploring the architecture of crisis. Invited speakers include Carolyn Steel, Summer Islam,  Paloma Gormley and others in the disciplines of architecture, politics and economics. Across 9 talks over 4 days, panelists will be asked to reflect upon the unit's posed question: What is Next?

A few semesters ago, the studio tentatively made moves towards modernism. The evident failure of architecture to address the imbalance of contemporary life provided the motivation to look again at the more ideological and programmatic promises of modernism, particularly the second wave of the 60s and 70s, whose discourses were broadened to encompass themes of gender, the legacies of empire and the growing imbalances in our environment. The consumer driven economy and its insatiable consumption of precious resources is not sustainable, and the desires it claims to fill can never be satisfied. Drawing on a diverse range of references; from the cave paintings made by our distant ancestors, to St Francis’s labours as depicted by Giotto in Assisi, from the multiple disciplines encompassed by classical Indian dance to the slow and deliberate narratives in the films of Tacita Dean; the studio attempts to discern new practices that address the challenges of today. 

1/9 NEW MATERIAL DEVELOPMENTS with Marlise Blaser, Katharina Lehmann, Summer Islam & Paloma Gormley

To achieve the net-zero greenhouse gas emissions objective, and keep the global temperature increase to 1.5°C, the building sector needs to shift its goals towards carbon-negative construction materials. In the first talk of the seminar week, the studio invited Marlise Blaser (Elementwerk Istighofen), Katharina Lehmann (Blumer Lehman Holzbau), Summer Islam & Paloma Gormley (Material Culture) to discuss the future of construction materials.

Marlise Blaser is owner and director of Elementwerk Istighofen since 2002. The company specialises in fabricating facade elements and other bespoke precast concrete elements, using their own mix of concrete. Marlise Blaser studied business management and civil engineering in Bern and worked for Zeltner Ingenieure AG and Walo Bertschinger AG before becoming director of Elementwerk Istighofen.

Katharina Lehmann studied economy at HSG and is the CEO of the Lehmann Gruppe since 1996, where she runs Blumer Lehmann AG. Blumer Lehmann has extensive experience in the design, production planning, fabrication and assembly of timber constructions and are leaders in developing know-how about working with wood. They are investigating technical innovations to achieve sustainable and durable solutions.

Summer Islam & Paloma Gormley are both young architects based in London, running their own practices Studio Abroad and Practice Architecture. They are the founders of Material Culture, a non-profit research organisation working at the intersection of low embodied carbon and high efficiency off-site construction, where they are working with ARUP to develop prototypical designs for low and high density housing, commercial and cultural uses. 


With the current pandemic and mass unemployment the topic of basic income is back in discussion. What would you do next if your income were taken care of? In the second talk of the seminar week, the studio invited Enno Schmidt, co-founder of the Basic Income Initiative in Switzerland, to explore how universal basic income would impact the nature of work and our way of life.

Enno Schmidt is artist, author and filmmaker, and founder of the Initiative Basic Income together with the entrepreneur Daniel Häni in 2006. His film “Grundeinkommen – ein Kulturimpuls”, 2008, had an important impact on the debate about basic income. Since 2019 he has been a research assistant at the Götz Werner Chair of Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory at the University of Freiburg (DE) where he is responsible for public awareness with regards to the study of basic income and the development of related financial strategies.

3/9 FOOD & THE CITY with Carolyn Steel, Yvonne Lötscher & Laura Schälchli

Not having to think about food is a privilege. In the third talk of the seminar week, Carolyn Steel (author of 'Sitopia: How Food Can Save The World'), Yvonne Lötscher (head of Sustainable Nutrition, Zurich) and Laura Schälchi (Slow Food Switzerland) discuss the relation between food and the city. Where is our food coming from? How does food shape our city? What has to change and how, in order to make our nutrition sustainable? Coming from theoretical, educational and practical backgrounds, the panelists discuss their various approaches in contemporary food-economy.

Carolyn Steel is an architect, historian and author of Hungry City and Sitopia, which observes how food shapes our lives: our bodies, habits, homes, landscapes, cities, politics and economics. 'Sitopia' refers to a world shaped by food, and comes from the Greek sitos- food; topos- place. Carolyn is a director of Kilburn Nightingale Architects in London and a research fellow at Aeres University. She has taught for a number of years at Cambridge University, London Metropolitan University, the London School of Economics and Wageningen University. 

Yvonne Lötscher studied biology, microbiology and immunology, and agricultural science at ETH Zurich. She worked for the BWL for four years and in 2018 was made project leader of sustainable food Strategy for the City of Zurich. Yvonne Lötscher focuses on the question of nutrition strategies for the future. Her focus is on collecting data and assessing the influence of infrastructures which deal with the distribution and trade of food. Raising public awareness is at the core of her work, establishing a dialogue with the population of Zurich about food production, diet and its influence on the climate. 

Laura Schälchli is co-founder and director of the chocolate company La Flor Schokoladen Manufaktur. The Start-up was founded in Zurich two years ago and is based on three business strategies: production, gastronomy and events. All the founders have experience in the food- and gastronomy sector and aim to produce high- quality chocolate with a transparent production chain. 

4/9 THE FUTURE OF ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION with Amale Andraos & Sebastien Marot

What role does education take on today and which are its responsibilities and capacities in the future? In the fourth talk of the seminar week, Amale Andraos (Dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture) and Sebastien Marot (Professor at the École d’Architecture de Paris-Est) discuss the future of architectural education.

Amale Andraos is a New York-based architect, Dean of the Columbia Graduate School of architecture (Planning and Preservation) and co-founder and principal of the New York City architecture practice WORKac. An architect and educator committed to design research, Andraos’ writings have focused on climate change and its impact on architecture and on the question of representation in the age of global practice. Recent publications include We’ll Get There When We Cross That Bridge, The Arab City: Architecture and Representation and 49 Cities. WORKac, a New York-based firm, focuses on projects that reinvent the relationship between urban and natural environments. The firm has achieved international acclaim for the RISD Student Center, the Beirut Museum of Art in Lebanon and a Net-Zero library for North Boulder Colorado.  

Sebastien Marot is a Professor at the École d’Architecture de Paris-Est and guest professor at the EPFL and GSD Harvard. He holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy and a PhD in History. He has written extensively on the genealogy of contemporary theories in architecture, urban design and landscape architecture. He was Editor-in-chief of Le Visiteur from 1995 to 2002 and more recently of Marnes (since 2010) and has authored several books, including ‘Sub-Urbanism and The Art of Memory’ (2003) and ‘Taking the Country’s Side: Agriculture and Architecture’ (2019).

5/9 LIVING TOGETHER Marie Page, Maximilian Fritz & Luca Rösch

Marie Page, Maximilian Fritz and Luca Rösch are young architects who live together at the SWB Experimenthaus Neubühl. They studied architecture at the ETH Zürich between 2016 and 2019. Within their residency at the Experimenthaus, they have organised public salons that question the ways that we live together.

6/9 PLANS FOR LIVING with Gabriela Bruno & Raffael Buchi

Now more than ever, buildings, especially offices, are becoming vacant due to the current crisis. In the sixth talk of the seminar week, the studio invited Gabriela Bruno (Wüest&Partner) & Raffael Büchi (Project Interim) to discuss how temporary accommodation provides a solution to fill the vacant buildings, and question if architects should be constructing new buildings, and instead working with the existing fabric of the city.

Gabriela Bruno is a real estate consultant at Wüest Partner AG in Zurich, studied Architecture at the ETH Zurich and at the City College of New York, where she also worked as a teaching assistant. For two years she worked as a project manager at space 4 Architecture before joining Wüest Partner AG in 2015. Wüest Partner AG was founded in 1985 and is an independent, owner-operated consultant. Its work focuses on the construction and real estate markets. 

Raffael Büchi is the co-founder, legal counsel and press spokesman of Projekt Interim GmbH (founded in 2013), Switzerland’s largest specialist for the organization and administration of temporary use of real estate (Zwischennutzungen). Projekt Interim offers temporary spaces (residential, office, commercial, retail, and specialties) at attractive conditions to bridge vacancies in real estate. They currently manage 57 projects with more than 800 temporary users. Raffael Büchi (Dr. iur.) is also the founder and owner of Owlegal, a company specialising in advising legal departments, law firms and public authorities on operational excellence (including the use of office space), digitalisation and automation, knowledge management, and business development. He studied law at Bern University.

7/9 BUILDING ZÜRICH with Martin Neukom

In the seventh talk of the seminar week, the studio invited Martin Neukom, member of the Green Party in Switzerland and Head of the Building Department in the Canton of Zürich, to discuss the focus of his political work: climate protection and the development of sustainable energy techniques. Reflecting on the current situation he asked 'If we would have started in the nineties, we would have done it differently, but the important question is: what do we do now?

Martin Neukom is on the governing council of the Canton Zurich since 2019 and Head of the Building Department Canton Zurich. He has a longstanding interest in politics and climate change,  joining the political party “Junge Grüne” in 2005, where he worked as president between 2008-2012. Martin Neukom studied engineering and solar energy systems and worked at the ZHAW and at Fluxim AG, where he focused on the development of measurement devices for solar cells. As governing council, he campaigns, among many other things, for progress in climate protection and preservation of biodiversity.

8/9 DIGITAL TRANSFORMATIONS with Lukas Hug & Emi Lorincz

Blockchain as a technology is mostly known through cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and the understanding of it rarely goes beyond a vague idea of speculative investments and young tech-savvy millionaires. Yet blockchain has the potential to affect vast swathes of public and private life, by promising maximal transparency while maintaining the privacy of its actors. In the eighth talk of the seminar week, the studio spoke to Lukas Hug from the digital asset bank Sygnum, and Emi Lorincz, Director Sales & Business Development at Ledger.

Lukas Hug holds a Master’s degree in international affairs and a Bachelor degree in business and economics. In 2018 he joined Sygnum and became vice president of product management and digital assets AML SME. Sygnum is a globally operating, regulated Digital Asset Bank, founded in 2017. The company aims to empower institutional, corporate, and private investors, as well as banks and other financial institutions, to invest in the digital asset economy. Lukas Hug main focus is on digital transformation, banking and blockchain technology.

Emi Lorincz professional background ranges from corporate finance to aircraft financing and later to commodity trading. Since 2017 her focus has been directed towards the evolving world of start-ups around digital assets and blockchain technology. Bringing a wealth of work experience from the traditional markets and the field of cryptocurrencies, she enjoys combining these two worlds to help companies benefit from both. Dedicated to increasing the usage and adoption of cryptocurrencies, Emi is engaged in rolling-out the enterprise-grade solution of the security company Ledger while serving on the council of the Bancor Foundation and on the board of the Crypto Valley Association.

9/9 MEASURING SPACE with Matthias Vollmer, Johannes Rebsamen, Markus Tretheway & Jürg Pulver

What is the potential of digital technologies in measuring space? How will it change our view of the environment we are living in? Where will it bring our planning and building practices? In the final talk of the seminar week, the studio invited Matthias Vollmer & Johannes Rebsamen (SCANVISION) and Markus Tretheway & Jürg Pulver (BUILDING POINT) to discuss the evolving possibilities in measuring and representing our material world.

Matthias Vollmer and Johannes Rebsamen founded SCANVISION together in January 2018. Johannes Rebsamen studied architecture and geoinformation systems at the ETH Zurich, Matthias Vollmer studied architecture at the ETH Zurich and film at the ZHdK. Started at the ETH, SCANVISION’s work is based on many years of experience working with point clouds at the Girot Chair of Landscape Architecture at ETH Zurich and aims to explore and expand the boundaries of surveying and representation. Their work includes the surveying, documentation and visualisation of art objects, urban situations, large-scale landscapes, and underground infrastructures.

Markus Tretheway has been the CEO of Building Point since 2018. The company is researches and produces measurement technology and software solutions in architecture to investigate the potential for digital processes in planning and construction. Markus Tretheway holds a MAS in Virtual Design and Construction and BIM from Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz FHNW and was a lecturer for structural and civil Engineering CAD/BIM at FHNW and the Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH.