ETH Zürich  |  DARCH  |  ITA  |  Structural Design  |  EXCURSIONS  |  SPRING 2020 
Robert Maillart, Magazzini Generali, 1924
Robert Maillart, Magazzini Generali, 1924

Tracing Concrete
An illustrated exploration in Switzerland

Mo 16. – Sa 21.03.2020 | max. 14 Participants | Cost range B | Poster

Reinforced concrete belongs to the idea of modernity. Because of its economy and simplicity in use, since its introduction in the early 20th century, it brought sudden changes to the built environment as well as to the natural landscape. In Switzerland, a territory that is highly preserved for its environmental qualities, the contrast between natural and built landscape becomes even more evident: it represents a place where it is possible to investigate concrete as a material in any of its variations, from infrastructures to sacral spaces, from functionality to formalism, from mass to line composition. Because of its multifaceted nature, concrete can be shaped in any desired way, creating a variety of architectural and structural forms that are resistant to any classification. Using drawing as a mediator for understanding the properties of the material, it is possible to highlight the qualities of concrete. In fact, drawings, unlike photographs, are a distorted representation of reality that enhance the perception of lines and space which is the essence of architecture.

The aim of the Seminar Week is to explore the concrete building tradition in Switzerland using sketches as a tool for reading the different aspects of this “new” building material. From highway bridges to small churches, from rigorous geometries to experimental free-form structures, this journey will show concrete in all its versatility and variety of forms. The program includes on-site sketching sessions lead by the architects Florian Hugger and Thomas Rampp, that will guide us through this exploration of concrete architecture in the German and Italian part of Switzerland. Other guests will join our visits bringing their own perspective and expertise regarding their understanding of Swiss concrete.

Sketch workshop with the architects Florian Hugger and Thomas Rampp
(Lang Hugger Rampp, Munich)

Chair of Structural Design
Prof. Dr. Joseph Schwartz
Giulia Boller -
Federico Bertagna -

Transportation, accommodation, visits, daily sketch workshop and reader included.

last modified 1.9.2022