Full Professor EPFL, Academic Director of Smart Living Lab and Co-Founder of OCULIGHT dynamics, Switzerland
Urban Designer and Associate Director of urbaplan, Switzerland
Description of studio
Designing a gateway building to an emerging zero-carbon innovation district
The proposed program of the studio, distributed over around 10’000 m2, is meant to enable a spatial formalization of the main entry to the blueFactory district in Fribourg, Switzerland. The blueFactory site also hosts the Smart Living Lab research centre and the NeighborHub building, laureate of the Solar Decathlon 2017 competition. This particular project site will allow us to develop a design proposal that embeds the district’s ambitions of being a model of sustainable neighborhood with an overall zero carbon goal.
Questioning the future of working and living environments
The studio pertains to the design of a complex and mixed-use program integrating research laboratories, teaching facilities, residential program, flex space for startups, services and cultural venues in a compact setting. This will allow us to explore the evolving conditions of urban working and living environments, and the ways buildings should be designed to allow for radical flexibility and reversibility to accommodate for technological and societal change.
Putting the human experiential quality at the core of the design process
The design process will be developed around the experience of the occupant from the inside – with a special focus on daylight – and the environmental performance of the building itself, also as a response to occupant behavior. This emphasis will allow us to incorporate daylight-induced ambiances as a driver for spatial organization and program, while respecting key principles of sustainability.
The studio will explore programmatic mixity (permanence of the plan/grid, relation between program and typology, space use vs. footprint, importance of public space…), program reversibility (change of use) and the values of mixity (serendipity encounter spaces, specialization vs open-use…).
The program brief will be an opportunity to question concepts of evolving working and living typologies. It will integrate about 25% of residential space (including cooperative and innovative housing), about 25% of hospitality space (studios and small apartment units, restaurant), and about 50% of mixed-use workspaces (co-working, workshops, research and startups, retail, fitness, meetings, cultural spaces, FabLabs, food court, etc.).
A special emphasis will be placed on both the experiential and experimental qualities of future places of work and life, that explicitly integrate comfort and well-being as well as spatial and perceptual diversity, and exhibits variation over time and seasons.
To develop these themes, the studio will combine three pedagogical approaches:
- A study trip to Switzerland to experience first-hand innovative designs aiming to propose architectural solutions to these themes;
- A critical debate on current practice and research through the analysis of a selected biography;
- The development of a design proposal responding to the studio brief.
The studio will provide students with the opportunity to work across scales, from the urban and neighborhood scale to the experience and interactions of individual occupants, with a focus on social and environmental sustainability.
Students will be exposed to research-derived tools and methods to fully incorporate daylight dynamics in their projects from the perspective of the user experience. Thanks to a mix of physical and numerical modeling, students will be able to develop their projects through an iterative, performance-driven design process.
In addition to the development of a design proposal, the students are expected to participate to the study trip to Switzerland and to engage in the critical analysis of a selected biography.
Overseas Trip and the estimated cost per student
The students will be invited to an overseas study trip in Switzerland the week preceding the semester start (September 9 to 12, 2019 with optional extension to September 14), so as to get familiar with different housing and work programs and their embodiment as high-performing buildings in Switzerland.
During this immersion into Swiss architecture, they will get to visit a range of emblematic buildings and districts in Zurich, Basel and Fribourg that show remarkable innovation with regards to their exploration of new ways of living and/or of their experimental nature or leading-edge design. The visits will be complemented by several theoretical inputs from experts, and will conclude with half a day of discussion and brainstorming about the characteristics and development opportunities offered by the blueFactory site itself.
An overview of the study trip is provided in the video presentation of the studio. Costs in Switzerland (visits, transportation, accommodation, food) will be fully covered for all students. For more details regarding program and logistical aspects (schedule, flights), click here.