Course Coordinator with Urban-Think Tank at ETH Zurich.
Langstrasse is considered a unique case in the city of Zurich, in which a very diverse mix of cultures and functions coexist, including a thriving sex industry and party scene. However, the area’s recent rebrand – ‘Tribeka’: “Zurich’s newest quarter” “sublime chic, oriental cuisine, precise craftsmanship, [and] the finest coffees” – promotes a move away from the district’s unsavoury reputation and could be a recipe for gentrification. This transformation was brought into question, comparing Tribeka’s trendy imagery to Langstrasse’s existing urban language with the goal of defining a more inclusive representation of the neighbourhood.
During lectures and group discussions, we explored lessons in advocacy planning and architectural agency, with reference to Scott Brown, Venturi and Izenour’s seminal book, “Learning from Las Vegas,” and other contemporary texts. Through on-the-ground research, students explored new methods of evaluating the city with an aim of instigating a new curiosity for mapping and understanding the city, “recasting quotidian landscapes as objects to be analyzed rather than ignored or denigrated” (Scott Brown). To analyse a phenomenon of place through a mindful process of observing, recording and reflecting is considered a means of reassessing prejudices and acknowledging the real lives of people. The course concluded with a guerrilla exhibition in Langstrasse, during which members of the public were invited to view and reflect on the work.