Image : Hans Hortig, 2016

The Braillard Foundation, in cooperation with the Federal Institutes of Technology of Lausanne and Zurich and the Architectural Academy of Mendrisio, is pursuing a prospective research project on the densification of the Swiss urban space. ETH Zurich D-ARCH Architecture of Territory, with Asst. Prof. Milica Topalovic, participates with the studio project Lac Léman – Metropolitan Countryside. Focusing on the Franco-Swiss transnational region of Greater Geneva, the studio continues its investigation on the panorama of European countrysides. The Lake Léman and the Greater Geneva present highly interesting and surprising situations, where agricultural land and nature are tightly woven into the urban fabric: the metropolis and the countryside coexist and strongly reinforce each other. Attracted by this contradiction, the Architecture of Territory studio will discuss the benefits and potentials of the agricultural land and nature for the contemporary regional city. It will investigate planning strategies and design concepts for denser living, not only in «the city», but also in the extended metropolitan frame.

The DenSuisse research project aims to reinforce the architectural, urban and landscape innovation momentum and to optimize the solutions for an eco-responsible, democratic and comfortable urban environment. The internationally acknowledged rank of Swiss architecture – thanks to its construction qualities, its pure forms and above all its human scale – leaves no doubt that this question put under the researchers’ magnifying glass will produce valuable results for the decision makers, the experts and the public. The project’s prospective stance is to sketch trends, reveal spatial, functional and formal innovations contributing to a densification of quality in Switzerland and to investigate the potentials of different territories to meet the challenges of population growth and energy transition.

Project team

Prof. Paola Vigano (EPFL)
Prof. Milica Topalovic (ETH Zurich)
Prof. Frédéric Bonnet (Accademia di Mendrisio)
Metaxia Markaki
Roberto Sega
Antoine Vialle