Autumn Semester 2020 takes place in a mixed form of online and classroom teaching.
Please read the published information on the individual courses carefully.

051-0317-16L  History of Art and Architecture: Architecture and Climate Change (P. Ursprung)

SemesterAutumn Semester 2016
LecturersE. E. Scott
Periodicityevery semester recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractThis seminar will investigate intersections between architecture and climate change, one of the defining phenomena of our age. We will begin to map out the spectrum of manners in which architecture already engages with this vast and highly unsettling topic as well as how they might be more fully interrogated, invented, and instituted.
ObjectiveStudents should come away with a clearer sense of the stakes of climate change for architecture and of architecture for climate change, as well as a deepened familiarity with relevant projects from the present and recent past.
ContentThis seminar will investigate intersections between architecture--as a practice, set of objects, and research orientation--and climate change, one of the defining phenomena of our age.

The discipline of architecture has been slow to engage with the vast and highly unsettling topic of climate change in ways beyond the technical (e.g., new materials, efficiency standards) despite the fact that issues of a social, political, economic, ethical, and even existential order are also, if not foremost, at root and at stake. Our own class discussions will indeed wrangle with a set of unwieldy and interrelated questions, including: At what scales does architecture intersect with climate change? Are planetary and highly local scales newly entwined and, if so, how might architecture respond to and elucidate this condition? Which skills do architects bring to the table, and what is their revised role, in light of this accelerating and encompassing phenomenon? Does climate change demand a reimagining of the field? What would architecture look like that, rather than sheltering us from our surroundings, instead served as an interface between the two--orienting itself toward the human and nonhuman at the same time?

With a focus on the contemporary but eye to the recent past, we will begin to map out the spectrum of manners in which architecture has already engaged with climate change as well as how these might be more fully interrogated, invented, and instituted.

Class will meet for three hours each week, comprising a lecture, discussion, and student presentations. Over the course of the semester, there will also be multiple inputs by guest speakers, a field trip, and graded exam.
Lecture notesA syllabus, required readings, and other course materials will be published/downloadable from the website of Professor Ursprung's chair at the beginning of the semester.
LiteratureFor further information, including literature, see: http://www.ursprung.arch.ethz.ch/lehrveranstaltungen
Prerequisites / NoticeAll lectures, readings and discussions will be held in English. If you wish to participate in the course, attendance at this first meeting is compulsory. For any questions, please contact Dr. Emily Eliza Scott (emily.scott@gta.arch.ethz.ch).