|Chair of the History of Urbanism, Prof. Dr. Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani|
The students of the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Zurich are predominantly Europeans and most likely will work in Europe. To work as an architect in Europe means to work in the city, or, stated more precisely, in the historical city. This does not mean exclusively the historical centers, although every young architect should have the opportunity to engage with the magnitude of our cities’ hearts and to enrich them. By ‘historical city’ is meant nearly everything that exists around us: the old urban core, the additions from several centuries, the suburbs, the periphery, the parks, even the so-called natural landscape. There is hardly any spot of Europe, which has not, been shaped by humans and which does not have its own cultural history. Our intention is to impart this history to the students. Without this knowledge, no serious project in architecture or urban design can be completed.
There is no question that history cannot be communicated in an all-encompassing manner; it is not possible to tell the entire history of every single plot of land. Nonetheless, we can single out exemplary sites in which equally exemplary strategies of city planning were, and still are being, applied. In this way, the mechanisms typical of and decisive for the development and shaping of the city can be revealed in exemplary fashion.
This is why the history of urban design must be taught in any school of architecture. This is also why the material must be selected and arranged to convey what is relevant and necessary for an architect. This is the knowledge of the conditions that have formed, and continue to form, the architecture of the city over time; as awareness of its diversity, but also the rules that govern it; insight into the dangers entailed in an erratic or even simply careless urban plan, as well as into the far-reaching irreversibility of the mistakes that can result from such errors; and above all, love for a subject matter.
Von der Professur betreute Dissertationen:
Dissertationen von Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeitern:
History of the Theory of Urbanism
Prof. Dr. Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, Edda Camper, Katia Frey, Stephan
Corsten, Valerio Giancaspro
The object of this research project is to produce a large, annotated critical anthology of primary theoretical texts on urbanism, from the eighteenth century up to the present, in Europe, the USA, and Japan. It is conceived as a manual for students as well as for architectural historians and city planners. The major part of the sources are theoretical texts written by architects and architectural theorists, but also included are texts by authors in disciplines directly and indirectly connected to urbanism, such as philosophy, sociology or literature. The anthology will be structured in both chronological and thematic order. In most cases, the texts will be published in their original language and identical to their first edition. Each chapter is preceded by an introductory text, explaining the chapter’s theme and describing the historical and cultural background of the texts, which follow. A bibliographical note on specific editorial histories accompanies every text.
Capital Plans 19001914. The Representation of the State in the City
Wolfgang Sonne (Dissertation, Professur für Geschichte des Städtebaus).
This study of the planning of capital cities in the Age of Imperialism looks at the way in which the different representational needs of various governmental systems found formal expression in the urban layout. Several representative capital cities in different countries, each with different political systems, have been selected and examined so as to trace possible alternative strategies for the representation of the state in the city. These examples include: the 1902 plan for Washington, in which the consolidated United States expressed its understanding of itself as a leading democracy; the competition for Greater Berlin of 1910, which reflects the de-sire of a new colonial power under imperial leadership to represent itself; the competition for Canberra in 1912, a design intended to represent a democratic constitution; the layout of New Delhi of 1912, which was to illustrate British colonial hegemony; and the conception of a World Center of Communication in 1913, which was to facilitate a international exchange intended to promote science and peace a project frustrated by Word War I.
The Theory and Practice of Critical Regionalism in European Architectural Development
Prof. Dr. Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani (ETH), Jöran Lindvall (Schwedisches Architekturmuseum Stockholm), Prof. Dr. Vladimir Slapeta (Technische Hochschule Prag), Redaktion: Dr. Joseph Imorde (ETH), Träger: Wüstenrot Stiftung, Ludwigsburg
As early as the first half of the twentieth century, regionalist tendencies in architecture and city planning were developed in Europe simultaneous with the classical modernity that led to the so-called International Style. After World War II the latter tendencies were taken up again and developed further. They were intended to contribute to the attempt to counter war destruction which was by no means limited only to buildings with new ways to construct identity. Largely ignored or dismissed entirely by historiography until now, these attempts attain new meaning within the context of the current tension between globalization and the search for ‘place’. This international and interdisciplinary research project aims to fill the gaps in the historiography of architecture and urban design of the immediate postwar period and to make that information accessible to the present and immanent future. Without being prescriptive, the study aims to convey a kind of knowledge which not only may motivate contemporary building practice but can also lead to self-reflection through familiarity with the built heritage Three scholarly conferences (in Prague, Zurich, and Stockholm) offered the opportunity to consider selected case studies of constructions of identity by architectural or urbanistic means from 1940 to 1955. All were examined in terms of their ideological, political, social, economic, technical, and cultural context. The results will be reworked, expanded, and documented in a subsequent book publication.
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