ETH Zurich Design Studios

16HS_Living Lab Zakynthos_Poster
Fall Semester 2016
Living Lab Zakynthos

We are designing a future-oriented, sustainable accommodation complex on the rural west coast of Greece. The ambition of the project, in conjunction with the Living Lab Hotel group future.camp, is to test how our future lives could be led in a world without consumption and destruction of natural resources. It is expected that the outcome of the studio will be realized by the client.

We develop the project based on your own definition of sustainability. The availability of resources, craftsmanship and talents as well as the climatic, ecological and economic conditions shall be integrated into the design of an innovative architectural project. The issue of contemporary tourism and its accompanying economic model will influence and inform your spatial concept. The scheme should consist of several pavilions, a lobby, administration building, educational facilities, as well as an infrastructural system for deliveries, supplies and sustainable disposal. You will be expected to work across a variety of scales, resolving individual buildings details as well as masterplanning.

We strongly recommend the seminar week “Venice – Reports from the Front” to all interested students offered together with the chair of Philippe Block. The chair offers the integrated discipline Construction within the course. Additionally, the integrated disciplines Architecture and Building Systems is offered under chair of Arno Schlüter. The course Life Cycle Assessment is also offered in collaboration with Roland Hischier (EMPA).


Spring Semester 2016
Ressource Stadt – Building for Disassembly

We are planning 140 new apartments together with the Gemeinnützigen Bau- und Mietergenossenschaft Zürich (GBMZ) in District 4 in Zurich. We design our buildings according to the principle of „building for disassembly“ in order to allow not only their construction but also the complete dismantling and hence the genuine reusability of all materials.

In close collaboration with Werner Sobek and the Institut für Leichtbau Entwerfen und Konstruieren (ILEK) at the Technical University of Stuttgart, we will develop an architectural and constructional approach ranging from urban issues to the formulation of innovative jointing techniques in full scale. The architectural design should be a relevant contribution to a future-oriented building culture in Europe, which adresses the social and resource-related situation of our generation. The semester task represents a real construction project, which will be implemented by the GBMZ in the coming years. The cooperative will accompany the semester.

We strongly recommend the seminar week “Zukunft des Bauens” (future of construction) to all interested students.


Bildschirmfoto 2015-06-29 um 15.22.37
Fall Semester 2015
Cambodia: Village School Project

We are planning a school in rural Cambodia within an existing village structure about two hours north of the capital Phnom Penh. The school consists of several classrooms, a cafeteria, an auditorium as well as medical and infrastructural buildings.

In addition to these specific social conditions, the availability of material resources, talent and technical skills as well as the climatic, ecological and economic conditions have to be considered in the design. The question of contemporary didactical concepts and their spatial implementation is an important issue in the semester. Together with local professionals we will develop a reasonable and customized strategy how the school system and the necessary infrastructure can be implemented in several phases. The client considers the realization of the project.

We also offer a seminar week on this subject to interested students. Participation is strongly recommended but not mandatory.



Spring Semester 2015

Resource Schweiz / Architektur 1:1

Whereas the architectural typology of a vacation home mainly demands relations to the attractive and spectacular surrounding landscape, the atelier focuses inwards. The “genius loci” cannot be found in the surroundings, but in the architectural form, in functional standards, architectural finishing in materiality and in the atmosphere out of it, in principles of construction and in solutions of details. However, both types of construction – vacation home and atelier – are of moderate dimension. In discussions with craftsmen this dimension is to be defined; knowledge and skills are not only instruments for construction, but should define the design strategy in order to find an unique identity.

The course applies the same principles as currently used in the Design Semester in Ethiopia, investigating similarities and discrepancies in two extremely contrary places.



Fall Semester 2014

5000 Housing Units for Addis Ababa

Urbanization is generally seen as a positive factor in poverty reduction, however it requires careful urban planning strategies and innovative housing designs, which capitalize on local resources and practices. Efforts to do so have largely failed in the fast growing cities of Africa. Rather than enhancing the value of existing local resources and practices by combining them with innovative approaches and mechanisms for planning, governments prefer to import foreign typologies in a formal top-down process. Here, unfortunately, Ethiopia is no exception. Besides its strong efforts concerning future urban development, Ethiopia is missing a strong national urban housing strategy to address the incredible housing shortage together with the overwhelming poverty rate of its inhabitants.

The Grand Housing Development Program forced hundred thousands of people out of their original neighbourhoods, cutting all ties to their social networks. Kids had to leave their schools, and parents lost their local market to sell small, hand-made products. The new shelters, which they are allocated to, are far from the city centre, making it impossible for people to keep in contact. Finally recognizing this dilemma, the city administration recently commissioned the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development EiABC and the Chair of Architecture and Construction Dirk E. Hebel of ETH Zürich to design 5000 housing units in the inner parts of the city, where people can reside while their original neighbourhoods are demolished and replaced by new condominiums of the Grand Housing Development Program.

ETH Zurich Seminar Weeks Prof. Dirk E. Hebel

16HS_Seminarwoche Venedig_Poster
Fall Semester 2016
Reporting from the Front: Venedig _ Geschichte und Zukunft

Monday 24th October to Friday 28th October 2016
Cost Category: C

We travel to Venice to get a selected view on the Venice Biennale and to visit one of the most impressive and unique urban structures in the world.




Spring Semester 2016
Zukunft des Bauens – eine Rundreise

Monday 14th March to Friday 18th March 2016
Cost Category: B

We travel to Switzerland and southern Germany, in search of groundbreaking approaches in the production of buildings. It is the goal to understand technical frameworks and to experience the built reality and today’s opportunities in terms of prefabrication and energy issues.




Fall Semester 2015
Exploring Cambodia: from Angkor to Pnomh Penh

Saturday 17th October to Sunday 25th October 2015
Cost Category: E

We are visiting Cambodia from the vernacular architecture of the Khmer to the booming capital Phnom Penh. The main goal is to experience the triad of social structures, climatic conditions and local building materials, as well as their influence on the built environment.




Spring Semester 2015
Tour de Suisse

Monday 16th March to Friday 20th March 2015
Cost Category: B

We travel through Switzerland and visit buildings, which have an architectural concept developed based on the local. The goal is increase the knowledge and experience of Switzerland’s materials and the locations, skills and people connected to these materials.




Fall Semester 2014
Addis Ababa / LaLibela

Saturday 18th October to Sunday 26th October 2014
Cost Category: E

This week in Ethiopia will concentrate on the development of new, resilient and alternative housing strategies for one of the fastest growing cities in the Global South. Next to visits in different housing typologies and neighborhoods, the group will also investigate and experience how locally available materials need to change our design strategies. In the second half of the week, trips either to the rural area south of Addis Ababa or LaLibela will be organized.

ETH Zurich Master Thesis

Fall Semester 2014

Master Thesis Topic B

Bus Station at Shilquai
Tobias Wullschleger


ETH Summer / Winter Schools

4 – 22 July 2016
Sand: an (in)finite resource?

The E4D summer school 2016 aims to develop an integrated vision to a global challenge of today’s construction industry. The programme revolves around the depleting resource sand and the question of how to develop alternative building materials for future cities. Invited experts from around the world will share their knowledge and give insights in their field of research. In the workshops the acquired knowledge will be tested and applied. The results will be evaluated under the concept of stocks and flows of energy and material to assess their contribution towards sustainable development.

The E4D summer school will be composed of 30 graduate students, coming from ETH Zurich, from academic institutions of the IDEA League and from other academic institutions around the world, particularly in developing countries. They will be joined by faculty members and external experts from fields of expertise related to the summer school topic. The master and doctoral students will come from different disciplines related to the E4D topic. The summer school will take place at TU Delft, The Netherlands. The aim of the E4D summer school is to foster interdisciplinary exchange on sand as a resource being rapidly depleted. During the first week, students will be introduced to the topic through a series of input speeches, lectures and symposia. The second and third week will focus on workshops along three lines of investigation.

The workshops will provide students with hands-on opportunities to work in an interdisciplinary and intercultural team and to assess alternatives to the chosen topic. Full attendance and submission of a presentation for the final idea competition is required.

The E4D Winter School 2016 is organised in collaboration with ETH Global and the TU Delft.

Further information and detailed program can be found here. Applicants please follow this link.

FCL Singapore Seminars

Fall Semester 2012
Constructing Waste

Hundreds of tons of waste are produces in Singapore every day. These wastes represent an invaluable pool of resources, which could be activated by rethinking their designs. The ‘hands on the material’ seminar CONSTRUCTING WASTE will interrogate the concept of up-cycling strategies in order to minimize the overall refuse amount being produced in Singapore. The focus on design questions should create second life cycles for otherwise waste products.