Blog der Professur Philip Ursprung

Seminarwoche Archive

Dez 05


The concept of „nature“ is inseparably linked to the process of industrialization. Industry tends to tranform the very ressources it exploits into sublime images, such as „nature“, „memory“, and „subjectivity“. The search for „nature“ is there- fore a journey both into the past and into the future. What will we discover in Białowieża forest in Eastern Poland — the so called „last primary forest“ in Europe? Will it be the key to under- stand the complexity of Poland‘s history, the wars, the holocaust, the division of Europe? Will we discover an untouched site, a paradisiac place? Will we see our own mirror images? Starting from the darkness of the forests, our expedition will take us to Łódź, the former center of Poland‘s industry and then to the lights of Warsaw, site of the „future of Europe“ (according to an EU meeting in 2012).




On our way to Bialowieza, stopping at an orthodox church



Streching legs at a bonfire after a hearty dinner at Hotel Wejmtka.




Experiment of the week: One watercolour a day!


Having our second breakfast at the Tsars Restaurant (, where our guide Eunice Blavascunas sends us off on to explorationtours of the village in small groups.


There are many quirky details to discover in the village. The inhabitants have rediscovered the Polish folklore style, which was frowned upon during communism. Now even ready-made houses can be bought in this style. Many houses are for rented out to tourists, who increasingly experience the Bialowieza forest as an attraction.




Visting the sawmill-owners Ela and Marek Poleszuk. Now that the wood from the commercial part of the Bialowieza forest has become too expensive for their clients such as IKEA, they now import their wood (mostly oak) from the Ukraine.


Later we meet up with the villagers to talk about their relationship to the forest. Apart from the forest’s many roles such as an economic source or a historical stage, we were interested to hear, that the inhabitants maintain a quite romantic understanding of the forest as nature in which one can relax.



We meet up our new guides Kaja Pawelek, Lukasz Biskupsi and Aleksandra Jach in front of the gigantic revitalized textile factory complex „Manufaktura“ and cross the street to an old jewish ghetto, which is part of the municipality renovation project „Lodz – City of 100 Apartment Houses“.


Lodz still suffers from a shrinking population in the city center and the abandonement of many industrial sites. On the other hand new housing projects are realised at the periphery of Lodz for the new middle class. We visit one of these projects which also includes the renaturalization of a river landscape.


Wonderful ruin on the way, we stop and make our aquarelles.


Scavenging for materials in where a party might have taken place…


Beautiful encounter with an old bookbinder vis-a-vis the worn down factory:


There are some atttempts to tap on the great ressource of the abandoned spaces in Lodz. Projects such as the Art_Inkubators at Fabryka Sztuki try reactivation through cultural events. The municipal strategy is to give fincancial incentives to areas called Lodz Special Economic Zones for the developement of industrial ruins.


Later that evening we visit the Museum of Modern Art Lodz which includes a neo-plastisism Gesamtkunstwerk.



Driving through the night and arriving in Warsaw where we meet up with Simone de Iacobis and Malgorzata Kuciewicz from CENTRALA who call themselves a „designers task force“. Together we reach the rooftop floor of the Palace of Culture and Science, which is still in use and dominates the center of Warsaw.


Moving ahead to visit two of the few completed newer projects: The Kerethouse by Jakub Szczęsny ( imbedded in (or between) a socialhousing district and the Jewish Museum by the Finnish architects Rainer Mahlamäki and Ilmari Lahdelma, which was build on the site of a former jewish ghetto.



We then are intrigued and puzzled by a visit to Stare Miasto which is the reconstructed Old Town of Warsaw which was destroyed in World War 2. There we join the curator Tomasz Fudala to see the „under construction“ festival exhibition and talk about the current role of the architect in Poland.

After dinner we are invited to a performance in the temporary exhibition called „Learning from Warsaw“ which takes place in both Warsaw and Zurich and was curated by Nele Dechmann, Nicola Ruffo & Agnieszka Sosnowska.


Last day in Poland and we make for another former industrial district named Ursus, where we discover factory ruins taken over by nature and others taken over by investors. There is then just enough time to visit an informal market and see a diverse array of projects on social housing.




Apr 26

Ec(h)o-Logy: Greek Returns

After centuries of idealization as the “origin” of the European culture, Greece has turned almost overnight into the emblem of Europe’s biggest fear: economic decline and political disintegration. Europe, caught in its own mirror-image, has dropped Greece like Narcissus, in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, rejected the water nymph Echo. But the repressed always returns and the voice of Echo cannot be muted. In our expedition to Athens and Olympia we are interested in the echoes of history as well as in the issues of today’s economy and ecology. We will ask how the current crisis affects the every-day space and the life of the people. We will look at the way the city and its periphery was planned and shaped in the early 19th century and again in the postwar-boom. And we will visit “Arcadia”, listening to the echoes of a past age, which was never ours, but which cannot be separated from our own imagination and memory.



Our guides: Encounter Athens: Fereniki Vatavali, Evagelia Hatzikonstantinou, Pascalis Samarinis, Aspassia Kouzoupi

Recent transformations of Athens’ city centre
Walk in Gerani district, Panepistimiou Avenue and Exarhia district




Ancient Athens
Acropolis (tip visit it 8h in the morning, beautiful and empty)

New Acropolis Museum (by Bernhard Tschumi)…

The Market

Visit at the former airport of Hellinikon
Olympic facilities of Hellinikon


Self-managed urban garden of Hellinikon

 Metropolitan Community Clinic at Hellinikon

The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Hellinikon provides FREE medical assistance to theUNEMPLOYED and POOR civilians with NO SOCIAL SECURITY or with very little income.

 The development of Athens waterfront and the occupied beach of Ag.Kosmas

Organizer: Aspasia Kouzoupi


Athens Biennale organised by  XYZ: Poka-Yio, Xenia Kalpaktsoglou (our guides)

CAMP Contemporary Art Meeting Point

Embros Theater (occupied theater) Omonia Group (

Romantso preview presentaion of the new venue – project space in the so called: „most dangerous area of the city“ (

„Imagine the city“



Ancient Olympia Greece (Peloponnes)

Reenactment of Allan Kaprows Happening:


performed during the Seminar Week FS13

of the Chair of Prof. Philip Ursprung,

ETH Zurich with the students

and members of the chair.

21.03.2013 in Olympia, Peleponnes, Greece

ECHO-LOGY is concerned with natural processes. Water flowing downstream is carried mechanically upstream, is dumped and flows back. Some is lost along the way. More water is transferred downstream mouth-by-mouth, loses oxygen, is mixed with saliva and is given back to the stream to be altered again. A word is silently formed, is recognized from a distance and is passed in that manner upstream, changing its identity, and is spoken to the trees. A word shouted from person to person, so loudly as to be misunderstood, rushes downstream similarly and is silently conveyed to the air. A gas-soaked rag is evaporated in stages on its trip upstream, becoming relatively clean as it gives its fumes to the atmosphere and further chemical change. Human breaths are collected and conducted downstream by hand. Small bits escape. The growing bagful becomes stale and the container is then released to the winds. The movement is simply back and forth.

ECHO-LOGY was carried out by a small group of persons moving the water of a stream in Far Hills, N.J: on the weekend of May 3rd and 4th, 1975. It was commissioned by the Merriewold West Gallery.



carring some downstream water

a distance upstream


pouring it into stream

transfering a mouthful of upstream water

a distance downstream


spitting it into stream


sending a mouthed silent word

a distance upstream


saying it aloud to the trees

propelling a shouted word

a distance downstream


mounting it to the sky


transporting a gas-soaked cloth

a distance upstream

(waving it gently in the air)


carrying a bagged breath

a distance downstream

each adding a breath

opening the bag to the wind




Corinth Canal

Nov 01

Since Antiquity, Naples has fascinated its visitors. Located under the most dangerous of Europe’s volcanoes, the city is emblematic for the precarious nature of civilization. Near Naples, our forebears located the mythical entrance to the underworld. Covered and protected by the ashes of Vesuvius the ruins of Pompeji keep the traces of daily life in the Roman Empire. For the enlightened aristocracy in the 18th and 19th century, Naples was the highlight of the Grand Tour. And today, its busy port, the booming, informal textile industry and the omnipresence of the Camorra are thrilling subjects for artists and theoreticians alike. How does the economic structure inform the built environment? How do the past and the present intertwine? On our expedition, we will explore the edges and the underground of the city, baroque chapels and fascist buildings. The members of the Roman artists group Stalker will be our guides. Armin Linke, Michael Clegg and Tobias Wootton with their photography students from HfB Karlsruhe will be our companions in the attempt to find answers and ask new questions.

(P.U., 12.7.12)


Blick vom Vesuv

Palazzo Reale di Portici

Spaziergang Portici-Ercolano (Miglio d’Oro)

Prozession in Ercolano



Villa d’Elbeuf

Prozession Santa Maria della Neve, Torre Annunziata

Verlassenes Industriegebiet von Via Plinio



Hafen Neapel


Neapel unterirdisch, Friedhof Fontanelle

Palazzo dello Spagnolo

Fondazione Morra

Museum Nitsch mit Teresa und Peppe Morra


Mostra d’Oltremare

Certosa di San Martino

Gruppenaustellung „Contorni di Napoli“

Tombola in Galleria Umberto I

Ciao bella Napoli

Copyright Professur Ursprung, D-ARCH

more pictures by stalker

Nov 30

Die Wirtschaftswunderjahre der Nachkriegszeit verlangten von der Bauindustrie neue Wege und Methoden, kostengünstig und effizient dringend benötigten Wohnraum zu erstellen.

Der Norm- oder Plattenbau galt als Lösung in Ost und West. Die passende Form fand sich in Grosssiedlungen und Trabantenstädten. Mit etwas Verspätung fanden diese Neuerungen auch ihren Weg in die Schweiz. Mit der Ölkrise wandte man sich ab 1973 jedoch wieder radikal vom Massenwohnungsbau ab und dem Einfamilienhaus zu.

Heute werden Grosssiedlungen, Hochhäuser und der Normbau wieder als adäquate Antwort auf die Nachfrage nach Wohn- und Arbeitsraum gesehen. Grund genug, einen Blick zurück zu wagen.

Im Rahmen der Seminarwoche werden wird eine zweitätige Exkursion zu den Brennpunkten der damaligen Bauentwicklung in der Schweiz unternehmen und uns vor Ort in Zürich, Bern und Genf ein Bild der vergangenen Planungsvisionen in der Gegenwart machen.

Der zweite Teil der Woche ist dem gemeinsamen Nachbau und Analyse dieser Grosssiedlungen im Modell gewidmet.


Fabian Furter, lic. phil. I, Kunsthistoriker und Ausstellungsmacher

Patrick Schoeck-Ritschard, lic. phil. I, Kunsthistoriker, stellvertretender Geschäftsleiter Schweizer Heimatschutz


Sansath Saravanabavan


24. – 28. Oktober 2011


Fotos Exkursionen:


Nov 30

Landna(h)me: Eine Exkursion nach Israel und in die Palästinensischen Autonomiegebiete

Seit der Antike ist die Region Palästina von Konflikten geprägt. Unterschiedliche politische, soziale, ökonomische und religiöse Interessen prallen aufeinander und führen zu fortwährenden Veränderungen und Verwerfungen. Wir reisen vor Ort und fragen danach, wie diese Kräfte auf die visuelle Kultur wirken, wie sie mit Kunst und Architektur zusammenhängen, die Vorstellung von Zeit und Raum prägen.

Zeitraum: 23.10.2011 – 30.10.2011
Reiseprogramm: Jerusalem / Betlehem / Totes Meer / Tel Aviv
Gäste: Prof. Armin Linke & Prof. Michael Clegg / Prof. Allessandro Petti & Sandy Hilal-Petti

Dokumentation der Reise:




Bethlehem Check Point: Instruduction by Alessandro Petti

Crossing by feet:

in the Westbank:

Separation wall and city of Bethlehem

Church of the Nativity (Geburtskirche)


Tour with Angela Goldstein
Har Homar, Israeli Colony, East Jerusalem

Angela Goldstein

East Jerusalem – Settlements / Separation wall – Overview

Abu Dis
Visit to the Palestinian Parliament Building meeting with Students of Al Quds University



Jerusalem by foot

Jerusalem near Yehuda Market

Yehuda Market

Jerusalem Old City

Via Dolorosa (in the morning)

By-path of Via Dolorosa (in the daytime)

Armenian Quarter

Western wall (Klagemauer)

Al Aqsa Mosque

Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Grabeskirche)

Visit Shrine of the book
Architect: Friedrich Kiesler, Armand Bartos, 1950-1960


Deheishe Refugee Camp guided by Sandi Hilal

LECTURE: Camps and Refugees in Palestine by Sandi Hilal

Photography Lecture by Armin Linke & Michael Clegg


Visit Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
Architect: Moshe Safdie, 1995-2005

Dead Sea, Kalya Beach

Visit Ramot Housing
Architect: Zvi Hecker, 1975-1985


Tel Aviv

Tour with Zvi Efrat: The urban history of Tel Aviv

White City


Lecture by Zvi EFrat: Brutalism,Structuralism and state Architeture from the 50’s to the last decades

Tour with Zvi Efrat & Nati Marom: The urban history of Jaffa

Nov 04

Zum Start der Veranstaltungsreihe: PALÄSTINA – Kulturaspekte begrüssen wir Euch ab 20 Uhr mit einem Apéro. Um 21 präsentiert der jerusalemer Künstler Jack Persekian seine multimediale Vortragsperformance.

Im Jahr 1996 lud Jack Persekian die in London lebende und international renomierte palästinensische Künstlerin Mona Hatoum in seine Anadiel Galerie in Jerusalem ein, eine ortsspezifische Installation zu verwirklichen. Das Resultat war PRESENT TENSE, eine kraftvolle und provokative Arbeit.
Diese große Bodeninstallation zeigte die heute von Palästinensern bewohnten Gebiete mittels einer riesigen Landkarte, die sich aus über zweitausend Olivenöl-Seifenblöcken zusammensetzt.
Die Künstlerin benutzte Blöcke der berühmten palästinensischen Seife aus Nablus, um die zerstörerische Teilung des palästinensischen Territoriums, die auf dem Oslo-Abkommen von 1993 gründet, darzustellen.
Jack Perkesian, nimmt diese Installation aus Ausgangspunkt um in seiner eindrucksvollen multimedialen Vortrag-Performance die Unhaltbarkeit der Vereinbarungen zur Kontrolle der Westbank und Gazas, falsche Friedensversprechungen, die Seperation durch die Mauer und die Realität eines sich verändernden und zerfallenden Landes zu reflektieren.
Dabei dient ihm die kurzlebige und vergängliche Natur der Seife als Sinnbild der focusierten Situation.

Im Anschluss: Publikumsgespräch mit dem Künstler.

Jack Persekian lebt in Jerusalem und Sharjah. Er ist Künsler, Kurator und Produzent, Gründer und Leiter der Anadiel Galerie und der Al-Ma`mal-Stiftung für zeitgenössische Kunst in Jerusalem und XEIN Productions. Ausserdem wurde er 2009 als Leiter der Sharjah Art Fundation berufen und ist seit 2005 Direktor der Sharjah Biennale.

Ein Vortrag zur aktuellen Situation von Angela Godfrey-Goldstein

Thema: Die Auswirkungen israelischer Siedlungspolitik auf Palästina

Wo: Clubraum, Rote Fabrik, Zürich

Wann: Dienstag 22.11.2011, 20:00 Uhr

Eintritt Frei

Seit 1967 treibt jede israelische Regierung die rechtswidrige Besiedlung der besetzten Gebiete voran. Zweihundert Siedlungen mit 450.000 Siedlern gibt es derzeit in der besetzten Westbank – wo es nach internationalem Recht keine einzige geben dürfte. Die Trennmauer, errichtet mit dem Argument des Schutzes, doch mit der faktischen Auswirkung der Landnahme, schneidet tief in die palästinensischen Gebiete hinein und macht ein eigenständiges Leben dort unmöglich.

Die israelische Friedensaktivistin Angela Godfrey-Goldstein war für unterschiedliche Organisationen tätig, u.a. für \“Machsomwatch\“ ( Women Against the Occupation & For Human Rights), der ICHAD (Israeli Commitee Against House Demolitions) und dem Free Gaza Movement.

Sep 14


israel steht im zentrum verschiedener ausstellungen im rahmen des festivals culture scapes in basel:

eine davon im schweizerischen architekturmuseum,

und weitere im kunsthaus baselland, u.a. mit yael bartana:

interview über kunst in israel mit der kuratorin der ausstellungen sabine schaschl: