Design Studio - Designing the Pastic River

Design Studio FS 2013: Designing the Plastic River

Modeling the Cali Ciliwung Park in Jakarta

The FS2013 Landscape Architecture Studio of Prof. Christophe Girot proposes to investigate the future architectural and landscape adaptations in the area of Kampung Melayu on the Ciliwung river, at the heart of Jakarta, Indonesia. The design studio will address the contemporary challenge of architectural design and landscape architecture in a flood prone area of Jakarta. Before talking about improvements in the water quality and biodiversity of the river, the prime concern will be a to redefine the river edge both as an urban artifact, a public space and a park of cultural value. The studio will rely on field analysis and work that has been developed through Design Research Studios and doctoral work at the ETH Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore. The aim is to develop an approach both at the architectural scale and the urban landscape scale that is both responsible and respectful of local cultural traditions and dwelling patterns. A seminar trip to Jakarta and Singapore is planned in March 2012 it is a mandatory part of the studio it will be supported by the ETH Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore.


During the studio, students will elaborate a site specific strategy both at an architectural and landscape architectural level. The design approach will incorporate the amplitude and dynamics of the river in relation with topography, vegetation and established human activities. Analogue tools (sketches, sections, models, plans) will alternate with computer tools (CNC modelling, 3D visualisation) to develop tangible and precise structures along the river corridor at various stages and scales. During the semester, skills in CAAD-CAM will be developed in order to familiarise students with the design of topographically responsive interventions. The combined means of architectural and landscape representation with regard to fluctuating water levels will help define new urban landscape typologies in Southeast Asian cities. A workshop in Jakarta and Singapore is planned in March with architecture Students of the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the UNiversity of Indonesia (U.I.) It will provide a better insight in the design question through site visits and group design session and discussions.


The goal of the studio is to create a set of clearly defined design approaches. This will be achieved through evolving architectural and landscape design solution that pay special attention and incorporate topography, the dynamics of water systems, vegetation and human activities into a single whole. Students are asked to define how people can live a healthy and prosperous life along the Cali Ciliwung in the wake of the 21st. Century. They will be asked to work on a set of landscape scales in terms of topography. The combination of an architectural and landscape architectural approach should help generation a range of possibilities and vision for the future qualification of urban rivers in such degraded urban environments.

  • The studio includes a compulsory Seminar Week in Jakarta and Singapore (only 750 CHF / 14.03 to 25.03.2013 / joint workshop with NUS architecture students).
  • Number of participants is limited to 22 students.
  • The studio includes “Integrierte Disziplin Planung” 3 ETCS.
  • The studio space is ETH Hönggerberg HIL C40.1 / C40.7

Assistants: Ilmar Hurkxkens, James Melsom, Philipp Urech

FCL Conference: “The Case of the Ciliwung River

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