Demolition–New Construction: On Whose Grounds? Zurich’s Ersatzneubau in historical and global perspective

Seminar Architecture and the City II / IV (056-0004-01)
Organizer: MAS ETH GTA
Lecturers: Dr. André Bideau, Dr. Susanne Schindler, Marie-Anne Lerjen
Time: Fridays, 2.00 - 5.30 pm

Demolition and new construction, Hohlstrasse site, Zurich, November 2017.
Image: Primobau.

In this research semester, students will jointly conceive of an exhibition on Ersatzneubau at the Zentrum Architektur Zürich (ZAZ) in 2023. The MAS GTA will thus focus on a practice that has become central to Zurich’s urban planning: to demolish existing municipal or cooperative housing and replace it with new buildings offering larger and more numerous, more varied apartments. Arguments in support of this practice are always at once aesthetic, economic, and regulatory in nature, in equal parts goal and strategy. “Density,” for example, suggests more “urban, vibrant” typologies, more “efficient” use of land, and responds to the legislative mandates to curb sprawl and increase the energy efficiency of buildings. The research will contextualize Zurich’s practice historically and transnationally through nine case studies. This will allow us to make tangible the narratives and rationales, as well as the and architectural, financial, and regulatory conditions that underpin the demolition and new construction of housing, specifically as they relate to land and its valuation.

The lecture series is open to the public.