Positions on the European City for the 21st Century


We heard the warnings of the Club of Rome as teenagers in the 1970s. At the end of the 20th century, saving energy was the initial focus of the multitude of ecological solutions proposed for architecture. In the 1990s, we were already insulating our first houses more heavily than was prescribed in the text books. But what was considered to be sufficient, good and exemplary has had to be revised from decade to decade.

So what should be done now? What shouldn’t? How to begin?

In 2019, we had students at ETH Zurich use their design studio projects to examine what it means to conceive a larger residential building in an urban environment – if they are to consume little energy and to emit hardly any CO2 over their entire life cycle. In the best case scenarios they would even store carbon and produce energy. The following semester, we then examined building conversions and extensions in their potential to save grey energy and to protect urban ensembles with the added aim of a sustainable building culture.

Annette Gigon and Mike Guyer, September 2020

> > Diskussion: Nachhaltigkeit am Bau – Greenwashing oder Fortschritt? (German)
Matthias Sauerbruch, curator and director of the Building Art Section, in conversation with Thomas Auer, Annette Gigon, Christian Kühn, Christine Lemaitre, Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber and Werner Sobek on the diverse topic of «Sustainability in construction – greenwashing or progress?»

Exhibition location Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg, Berlin

Exhibition period 5. September – 22. October 2020

Exhibition team Annette Gigon with Mike Guyer, Arend Kölsch, Lars Müller, Arno Schlüter
Gigon / Guyer Architects, Zurich and D-ARCH, ETH Zurich
With selected student works from the autumn semester 2019 and spring semester 2020: Moritz Dutli, Sereina Fritsche, Florence Gilbert, Senga Grossmann, Mara Huber, Magnus Lidman, Lucien Widmer, Tim Vogel


Intro 00:00–01:02
Questioning 01:03–08:33
Projects G/G 08:34–29:56
Projects Students 29:57–39:14