Lakescapes, preserving agriculture

students: Alexandre Roulin, George Sarmaniotis

overview 1

The high level of the water table in the Linth Valley in Switzerland and Its consequences the basic issue this project deals with. The main economical activity in the area is agriculture and is sustained through intensive drainage of the fields due to the fact that the water table is close or some times above the ground level, depending on the period of the year. The result of this action is the shrinking of the ground, which in the very near future will lead to the complete sinking of the ground surface turning the grass fields into swamps.

In order to prevent the above course and preserve agriculture as a main activity in the area, this project focuses on a solution that proposes two main actions connected topologically and economically in an balanced way.  The first action is the digging of the most problematic areas, as far as concern  the proximity  to water table, and the second is the use of the digging material to fill the less endangered parts of the valley, neighboring the previous areas, in order to be secured without the need of intensive drainage. The result of those two actions will be the raise of the ground level by creating lakes.


“17 postcards from Linth valley”




Testing the microtopography tool on sand model

Simulation of the water table impact based on color coding. The blue color range charters the areas where the water table covers the ground surface. Dark blue means deeper flooded areas and light blue shallower. The green color range charters ground surface in proximity to the water table. Dark green means bigger distance from the water table “safer areas “, while light green means smaller distance from the water table “endangered areas”

D2  D4


Sections D


Design features

buffer zone           forest dock            hill                     buffer zone                               forrest dock                                                  hill

grass bank           tree rows            tree paths                       grass bank                                     tree rows                                   tree paths

overview 2

Reimagining the Linth

student: Mohamed Abdel Wahab

Ancient Egypt, Ancient China, Ancient India, the Fertile Crescent. These are just some of the great river civilizations.

reimaging the linth

The Linth valley is an artificially drained and pumped valley using the pumping stations and the canals on either side of the Linth canal to do so. In the next decade the cost of the pumping and draining will exceed the revenue from the agriculture in the area. If pumping were to stop then some areas would transform into flooded marshes and would not be viable for use. My concept is to reimagine the area surrounding the Linth canal, transform it from a single functional element, to a multi-functional entity.

fload simulationflooded areas

Looking at the area between the Obersee and the Walnsee I was able to see that the areas flooded were left and right of the Linth canal. Also by analyzing the urban growth from the years 1860 to 2014 I could see that farms and towns were being built closer and closer to the valley. With this data I decided to focus to the right of the Linth canal, near the town of Uznach. The first step was to assume that the pumping would stop. Since there would inevitably be a flood in the agricultural lands, I decided to create a lake. This lake would attract many different people with different needs. Using height maps, I traced the areas that would flood if the water table moved up two meters, and designated the edges as the lakes farthest most boundaries. The second step was to supply this lake with enough clean water for people to use. This meant that I would have to use the water from the Linth canal, as it carries no sediments and to determine a location for a deviation from the canal to the lake. This also meant that I could designate a natural filtration area for the side canals. Analyzing the height maps determined the optimum area of deviation, where there would be no backflow and not too far from the lake, I deduced it would be at the draining and pumping station. The exit point for the water would be at Böschkanal.

detaildetails of Linth canal’s deviation

To create this lake, the area between the edges would have to be dug up. The depot would serve to level the imagined areas surrounding the lake. The depot would be approximately one million cubic meters of soil. This information, along with a set perimeter between the highway and Linth canal, which also acted as a grid generator, as my constraints, I imagined the spaces that could exist around the lake. The first proposal imagines the area as a mix between open public spaces and built areas, with the built spaces occupying 69% of the leveled area. The lake would cover the entire area between the edges and be mostly shallow. The second proposal shows an area with a more active language and 85% of built space. In this proposal the lake has a smaller area with a deeper lakebed. The third proposal shows the area as a modified version of what it is now. The area would be mostly agricultural and the built space would only occupy 50% of the leveled area. The lake would have the smallest area but would also have the deepest lakebed. In the first two alternatives the area of middle relative height is used mostly for parks and recreational areas, while in the third alternative it acts as the agricultural land. In order to keep the lake water level consistent the Linth deviation would have to block and slow most of the water down before entering the lake. By conducting an experiment using a large-scale milled model of the deviation and actual water, I was able to get real time results of various interventions to slow the water down.

alternate one

alternate two

alternate three

The three alternates I designed are not a set absolute. They could be mixed with each other or there could be many other alternates that would work in the area. The lake acts as a generator for many different ideas…

render small


Linth Park, a new network

students: Maki Hasegawa, Gebhard Merk 

overview 1

The basic idea was to widen the Linth Canal and use advantage of  the energy for the the lighting concept in the recreation park. In the meanwhile another goal was the improvement of the corridors for the people and the wild animals in Grynau (linking both Linth areas and the design of a new recreation park between Tuggen and Benken as an attraction for the Linth region.

Basic elements of our design approach were the design of the new bridge over the Linth, the regeneration of  tree lines along to old river courses, as well as the new river course of the Bösch Canal.


Linthebene, movies about landscape perception 

Ecological and networking project area


river Side Structure

– UAV Mapping (photo-copter) for DTM and Orthophoto generation
– Tethered Riverboat (acoustic Doppler current profiler, ADCP) > Measure
the water current velocities over a depth range and the cross-section of
the river
– Milling machine for terrain models
– GIS (geoportal of swisstopo: Geo Map Admin)
– Grasshopper for Simulation of the water amount with data from Bafu.
– RhinoCAD,3dsmax & photoshop for 3D Visualization of the project

1           2            3




student: Gaganjit Singh landscapes

What is Picturize?                                                                                                            
The Picturize is a tool to represent visual imagery using geo-location information. It serves to provide a collaborative base for visual discussions, information sharing and analysis; reading images captured from various terrestrial and air-borne image capturing devices: cameras, mobile phones, and drones.
What is this for?
Often we visit a place and take a lot of pictures. Sometimes we work in groups/ collaborate as professionals on design research and construction projects. Everyone takes pictures and it often becomes a challenge to organize pictures or to see what someone else saw. Picturize as a tool wants to connect the virtual with the real. It serves to provide as a common platform to instantaneously visualize large picture-sets from various people, irrespective of their sources in three-dimensional space.
fly and look
How is this useful?
As a tool Picturize allows to co-relate and understand a place better as a designer being able to connect a virtual 3d mesh representation of a landscape terrain/ a place and personal captured visual imagery. It facilitates this by placing images as view directed picture-frames over a digital terrain model (dtm) in three-dimensional space.
Can it do more than just placing and coordinating images?
Picturize facilitates “visual tagging”.The tool also facilitates to give custom names to Pictures you like. Both names and tags, combined with additional image meta-data information like the Latitutde, Longitude, Altitude, FocalLength, and the UserId (the one who took the photograph), can serve as criterion for extended analysis of an Image set. Lexical searches can be performed, and tag-clouds visualized. In addition, location proximity, and region-based searches on an image-set can be performed, which is currently not faciliated by many other image analysis tools. This can help in visually fi ltering a large data set based on navigating a three-dimensional area model. Since the tool reads geo-coordinates stored in images and represents them in three-dimensional space, it also becomes a tool to fi lter images based on a time criterion. So photographs of a place from various times of the year for instance can be inferred and examined very easily. So the need to everytime look and search for images inside multiple nested folders is conveniently avoided by the aid of such a tool. Hence the tool serves as an archival tool.
Picturize also looks to serve as a diagramming tool for image analysis. So based on theself-generated structure of thecaptured imagery, various conclusions can be inferred. Such as, blind-spots in a landscape documentation/ areas of major documentation. This opens to other domains like crowd-sourcing studies, behaviourial patterns and analysis.
tecnical desciption 1
tecnical desciption 2
tecnical desciption 3
Who does Picturize wish to serve?
Picturize can prove to be an extremely useful tool for various disciplines relying on collection of visual information.Large student groups or offices which keep visiting landscape sites documenting areas of interest can benefit from the time-analysis, visualization and diagramming capacities of the tool.
The tool can be particularly useful for investigating changes visually of an ongoing process in a more stuctured manner than conventional folder-based means of documentation, since based on a time, area/region, and user fi lters one can easily fetch images of the same area and walk-through the changes in an area.
Last but not the least, Picturize is meant for the designer. Additionally developed design tools: “the KarteMaker“ (map overlay tool), and “the FloodSim” (flood simulation tool), allow visual feedback of situations. Picturize tends to bring closer reality and the virtual design processes.
What is the technology behind these tool?
Picturize is currently written using Python for the Rhino 3d modeling environment, which runs the toolbars. Tools to create data streams from images created from various device are components in Grasshopper (ghPython), utilizing an opensource python module to read image metadata (exif-read).

Linth Water Park

students: Argyro Theodoropoulou, Angelos Komninos 

Design of a water park along the Linth canal, from lake Wallen to the lake of Zurich.

Linth Water Park



“Through the looking glass”

Considering the small height differences in the valley, the new park-design follows the micro-topographical traces of the old river along the canal. At the same time, the designing phase of the proposal is based on our attempts to solve the flooding problem of the nothern part of the valley and to connect the two opposite sides of the canal.

Microtopographical studyGrayscale represents difference in height leve. From the darkest areas which are the lowest and consequently the most wet, to the brightest whivh are also the highest points in the topography

406_410_Detail milled modelTraces of the old river along the canal. From saga map using GIS data to a milled model generated through grasshopper in Rhino.

Through solving the infrastructural problem of the water network, we design public space for the residents but we also attempt to establish the new water park as a pole of attraction and future developement.

calculation of water stream steepness and direction          fload simulation           tecnical water diagramma croppedCalculation of water stream steepness and dirrection. Flood simulation. New water technical diagram

masterplanMasterplan of the intervention. With blue the new water system and green the new park along Linth canal.

CONNECTIONS FROM DIAGRAM           WATER FROM DIAGRAM 2d           PARK                     infrastructure                      new water system                                      new park

 section bWater slopes designed in the opposite sides of the Linth canal collecting the water from the agricultur and solving the flood problem.

overview render

top view

overvier spring

Fragmented landscapes

students: Sofia Prifti, Jacqueline Frizi

The following project, deals with a hybrid landscape of fragmented rural and urban characteristics, in the Linthebene area, by the end of Zürichsee.

3 planets

The dominant infrastructural water network,  that divides the valley in two, as well as the parallel urban spines lacking perpendicular connections to the Linth canal, were perceived as the major problems in our design approach.

Important fragments along the Linth such as the several natural reserve areas, the renaturalization of the old Linth river and the untouched nature-”jungle” on  the waterfront were used as a starting point in our approach. In the same fragmented way our design intervention focuses on  three different points of the site.



Our main goal was to propose a new adaptive, according to its context,  system that would solve the specific problems of each area and would in a larger scale connect the existing cities through a new network of pathways to the “new Linth”, unifying the design.

Starting from Wallensee, the main approach was to regenerate and redesign the existing renaturalized area, in order to make it more accecible for the locals. Technically it would also function as a buffer zone in case of an extreme flooding scenario. Perpendicular pathways create possibilities for crossing over to the inbetween island.


diagrams all

processing_00           processing_01            processing_02

Moreover, in the Kaltbrunner Riet, which is artificially preserved as a natural reserve  area (at the lowest topographical height of the terrain), a system of polders is designed, collecting the waters of the valley and leading them to the side canal and eventually to Zürichsee, to replace the pumping. In addition to the polders, the redesign of the edges between the expanded canal and the terrain makes it possible for the rest of the existing drainage system, to function withought the pump, due to gravitation that makes it possible to flow directly into the new side canal.

Last, our main focus was to redesign the watermouth of the area, that was completely degraded and unused. It would function as an attractor for the whole area of the Linthebene, creating a strong connection between the city of Schmerikon and the expanded Linth, bringing the locals closer to the new recreational character of the water.  A parallel system of three worlds, starting from the city of Schmerikon, to the intermediate level of the cubic wetlands leading to the untouched, less accessible nature of the “jungle”, create a triptychon of  transition from the hard to the soft edge.

Major elements of the design approach was the new water system, that reverses the idea of the water as an infrastructural one and turns it into a recreational one. The vegetation types, create three microenvironmvents, the cubic wetlands with the “jungle”, the safe green area of the city as well as the vegetation of the polders. The already mentioned system of pathways for walking and biking, with their variations according to the spot on site, give new experiences to visitors.


Main strategies regarding the whole site in a large scale, was the managment of the water system. Through the expansion of the side canal and the Linth, together with the lowering of the inbetween dikes we managed to create different speeds and depths of water, change the perception of the water in the area  as an obstacle and make it an accecible recreational area. The infiltration of the sediments of the existing drainage systems cleans the water before it flows to the sidecanal from the mainland. The constrain of the flood zones by diging up these areas and creating higher dikes around them was also part of the water management plan, concluding in the watermouth redesign.

in the riet_Spring  in the riet_FALLdifferent seasonal representation

cubic_islandscubic wetlands

M6 Final Synthesis

The goal of the final synthesis is the experimental use and combination of all tools within an individual project.We challenge the students to go beyond the boundaries of conventional domains and test the tools in analysis, design, and visualization. The programs and different CAAD/CAAM techniques, which the students have become acquainted with in the different modules, complement each other and should be applied and recombined to explore new design methodologies in their final project. The concluding module acts as a test case for the questions or agenda which have been defined during the MAS LA teaching year. A number of discussion/presentation deadlines during the MAS LA serve to test the individual questions or agenda. During the final working phase the students will be supervised with one-on-one weekly meetings.

Instructor MAS LA teaching team + invited guests