Following “Barents Lessons” (see form N° 245) the Laboratoire Bâle (a satellite studio at the Institute of Architecture and the City at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) is now releasing a second publication about teaching and research in architecture. The area the investigation this time was no less interesting than the Barents Sea but nevertheless was one a little closer to home. The students from the Laboratoire Bâle travelled around Switzerland.
While issue N° 253 of form examined Switzerland as a land of design particularly in respect of graphics and product design, Swiss Lessons has been looking at the country from an architectural point of view. In the introduction, the students respond to living and working, education, eating and infrastructure. They have sought out a “representative strip” which runs from north to south and completely encompasses or at least brushes the cantons of Basel Stadt, Basel Land, Argua, Solothurn, Jura, Lucerne, Fribourg, Bern and Valais. This strip includes both municipal and calmer and/or alpine regions. After thoroughly analysing this strip, the students will develop a potential future scenario for the year 2048: where could new towns be founded? How would they be included in the infrastructure? Where would ski areas and quiet areas be?
The centre section of the book is a visual travel document – with landscape photographs, collages, photographic studies of buildings and various moments captured on film.
The final section presents the projects that the students have developed during their intensive research, and their travel experiences. For example, an architectural design for modern agriculture, new ideas for vineyards, the building of an international school and the development of a hiking path in the canton of Lucerne.
Swiss Lessons does not only give an insight into Switzerland and a view of its possible future but, above all, it shows (as did Barents Lessons) the exciting and practical ways in which architecture can be conveyed and taught.