The Great Interior

The Great Interior

The Great Interior, from Üetliberg to Red Zurich, Zurich, HS19. Image: Merian und Zeiller, Topographia Helvetiae, 1654
Cedric Price, Fun Palace, 1961
Public Path in Friesenberg, 2019
The City in the City, O.M. Ungers, 1977
Exposition Universelle, Paris, OMA, 1983
Denise Scott Brown in Las Vegas, from Learning from Las Vegas, Venturi/Scott Brown/Izenour, 1972
Garten, Fischli/Weiss, 1997/2016
Signs of Life, Exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Gallery, Washington DC, Venturi/Scott Brown,1974
from Colazione Sull' Erba, Luigi Ghirri, 1974
Horses Stable in Friesenberg, 2019
Vorstadthirn, Exhibition at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 1999, Pipilotti Rist, Photograph by Poul Buchard
Screen Shot from Blue Velvet, David Lynch, 1986
Forest Fire at Uetliberg, 1972, Photograph by Ruedi Steiner
View from the Uetliberg over Friesenberg, 1925, Photography by Digra Verlag
Cologne's Greenbelt
Standard Fencing System Detail
U.S. Patent 5,056,761
Row of Houses with Chainlinked Fence, Jersey, N.J., 1968, Photograph by Dan Graham
Garden at the Forest in Albisrieden, 2019
Studio Tom Emerson Garden, 2015
Topographia Paradisi terrestris juxta mentem et conjecturas, Athanasius Kirchner, 1675
Milton Keynes City Club, Milton Keynes Development Corporation, Drawing by Andrew Mahaddie, 1970s
Pfeifenhock Turicum, Zürich, 1986, Photograph by Christian Känzig
Life at Supersurface, Superstudio, 1972
Schweizerische Landesaussstellung, Zürich, 1939
Freibad Heuried, 2019
Knabenschiessen, 2006
The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch, 1510
Election Poster for Emil Klöti, Carl Scherer, 1938
Friesenberg, 1967, Photograph by Werner Friedli
Parc de la Villette Competition Model, OMA, 1982
Leisure Centre, David Shrigley, 1992
Demolition of Siedlung Sonnengarten, 2012, Photograph by Barbara Fischer
Japanese Temple, Repair, Timber Detail in Stone, Photographer and Date unkown

Learning from the existing landscape is a way of being revolutionary for an architect. Not the obvious way, which is to tear down Paris and begin again, as Le Corbusier suggested in the 1920s, but another, more tolerant way; that is, to question how we look at things.

Learning from Las Vegas, 1972, Venturi, Scott Brown, Izenour

Outside the interior lies just another, larger, interior. An interior which contains all nature. Until recently, the story of the city has mainly favoured the centre. In the centre architecture found the place for political and artistic representation. The city wall kept hostile outsiders out and concentrated power within. The edge served as a place of defence and exclusion even without a wall. But the emergencies of climate change and globalisation demand another more integrated solution. Architecture needs to find a new purpose and means and today, it is the edge, rather than the centre, which holds the promise for a new type of interior that includes rather than excludes; an interior which contains the whole landscape and our lives within. We shall go in search of utopias on the edge, a new integration of architecture and landscape on the fringes of Zurich. Much of it is already there in communities and ecologies just far enough from sight to escape from a given form. But what is it? It is not a park; it has neither its design or singularity. It is not a garden although it contains many. And it is certainly not a pre-existing nature found on the edge of Zurich although it is perfectly natural. This place is made, is maintained and is regulated yet it feels loose, informal, open, public and even occasionally refreshingly scruffy. It is not civic yet it is cultivated metropolitan space. The landscape of the edge could be seen as a great work of bricolage where a world of multiple uses and environments loosely and informally defined by fences, boundaries and architectures within an accommodating nature.

We shall make a collective Atlas of the Edge, the ecologies, architectures, construction, materials, botany, gardens, working spaces and social lives which find common cause with nature. At the heart of bricolage lies the inventory of existing material and means. If the task is at the scale of an individual maker the inventory is ostensibly simple: materials and tools. When looking at the scale of territory, the architect’s inventory is the survey, both record and fiction. The first act of design is to observe and document how the very smallest construction is fundamental to defining the territory and conversely how the bigger conditions of landscape, topography, climate and collective human affairs determine the small actions of everyday life.

We shall start where all of architecture began; in the garden, in our garden at Hönngerberg. We will survey and observe the nature of existing elements and design and build a new structure for the edge. We shall see how the centre has pressed up to the edge and left a space in need of attention.

Once built, the garden project could be seen as a primer for a larger investigation on the edge of the city. To observe how multiple uses and communities have settled within a richly constructed nature and, as the authors of the Garden City believed over a century ago, this integrated landscape may be the site of utopia. Bruno Latour’s Cautious Prometheus states; “What no revolution has ever contemplated, namely the remaking of our collective life on earth, is to be carried through with exactly the opposite of revolutionary and modernizing attitudes. This is what renders the spirit of the time so interesting… the revolution has to always be revolutionized… the new “revolutionary” energy would be taken from the set of attitudes that are hard to come by in revolutionary movements: modesty, care, precautions, skills, crafts, meanings, attention to details, careful conservations, redesign, artificiality, and ever shifting transitory fashions. We have to be radically careful, or carefully radical... What an odd time we are living through.”

We will ask you to develop a radical architecture based on the world that surrounds you and. We shall see that beyond the edge is not outside, in fact it is just another inside, an interior which is designed, constructed inclusive and productive. In essence, natural.