CHAIR OF ARCHITECTURE
AND URBAN DESIGN —

PROF. KEES CHRISTIAANSE

ETH Zurich – Institute for Urban Design
ONA G41 – Neunbrunnenstrasse 50 – 8093 Zurich
contact

TEACHING


ELECTIVE COURSE HS15 OFFICE PARKS


Emergence, Examples and Potential of a Global Typology

"The new city of the 20th century is the familiar, decentralized world of highways and terraced houses, shopping malls and office parks", wrote Robert Fishman in 1991 in the magazine ARCH +. Office parks, the workplaces of this new city, can be found almost anywhere in the world.

 

At first glance, these buildings with their typical glass facades look always the same, though they are constructed in many different climatic, social and urban situations. Although they are supposed to represent progress, globalization and the „knowledge society”, they are also often unsustainable, monofunctional parts of the city. Also, they constitute working environments that are, despite some complex landscaping, often unattractive. Thus, the conversion or re-use of such areas will be an important urban issue in the coming decades. Despite the ubiquity of office parks and the need to deal more with their problems, there are few studies of the phenomenon so far.

 

In elective course we will look at the conditions from which office parks developed in the global context. We will search for examples worldwide, examine their emergence and their urban qualities, and make a typological classification. We will also deal with issues of how these areas can be used in the future: What spatial and atmospheric qualities can be gained through conversions? How do existing transformation projects work?

 

In our search, we will move along the major infrastructures of the 20th century: Highways and airports. The bandwidth of the considered examples range reaches from uniformly planned office parks of individual corporations towards less methodically planned areas with various investors.

 

Contact: Benedikt Boucsein