Topology HS17

Walled Waters: Examining the Topology of the Schanzengraben


Zurich’s Schanzengraben (the last remains of the Baroque fortifications of Zürich) is an ambivalent walled space today, oscillating between modern city, historic artefact and public. The waters of the Schanzengraben run along walls, that not only mark the border between different city districts, but also create unexpected sequences of water landscapes right in the inner city.

We would like students to analyse the Schanzengraben by creating a series of well-informed sections. Particular attention will be paid to the walls that constitute the different borders between the city and the water landscape. You will be asked, with the help of historic documents, to reconstitute one topological segment of the site. The idea is to create a sequence of profiles that depict some of the most unusual topographic profiles along the Schanzengraben, in order to reveal the potential interplay that exists between the city and the waters.

The method will use a 3D laser scanner to produce a 3D point cloud model for each area of interest along the way. The task will be double, first to re-create the existing sections of the Schanzengraben through the 3D model produced, and second to sketch some proposals for improvement based on these same sections. The Wahlfach course and lectures will be held in English.

The site of this Wahlfach will be shared with another course from the Chair entitled  If Walls Could Talk which will focus on the acoustic particular aspects of the site. There will be common site visits and final critique together. The goal is to bring two very different site approaches together so as to yield surprising insights and discussions about the urban landscape of Zurich.

Notes: The course will be limited to 16 students. Participation on all dates of the course is mandatory.






Prof. Christophe Girot
Magdalena Kaufmann
Benedikt Kowalewski

CONTACT: Magdalena Kaufmann



22.09.2017, 13:00h: Introduction to Elective Course, HIL H40.4 (Plaza)

29.09.2017, 13:00h: Site visit

30.09.2017: Workshop on site (full day) 

01.10.2017: Workshop on site (full day)

06.10.2017, 13:00h: Introduction to CloudCompare, editing collected site material

13.10.2017, 13:00h: Development of concepts

20.10.2017, 13:00h: Visiting Bastion zur Katz

27.10.2017, 13:00h:  No classes (seminar week)

03.11.2017, 13:00h: Work on projects, individual meetings

09.11.2017(!), 17:00h-19:00h: Intermediate Critique, AV-Lab

17.11.2017, 13:00h: Work on projects, individual meetings

24.11.2017, 13:00h: Work on projects, individual meetings

01.12.2017, 13:00h:  Final Critique, AV-Lab