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HOUSE 2 – Counter City in Zurich

The Atelier de la Conception de l’Espace (ALICE) at the EPFL has conceived this public architectural installation next to the Toni-Areal in Zurich

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Text by Rab Messina
Photography by Anna Positano

The Atelier de la Conception de l’Espace (ALICE) took collaborative design and construction on a public scale: along with 200 first-year students from the EPFL, the studio erected the HOUSE 2 installation in Zurich.

Located next to the Toni-Areal, the project was erected in less than 10 days thanks to a prefab process that started in Lausanne. This is the follow-up to last year’s HOUSE 1, an on-campus installation in Lausanne made by students for students. HOUSE 2 expanded to explore the project’s relation to the city, making urban participation possible.

“The public installation is not a homogenous architecture, but rather, the result of various different contributions,” said Dieter Dietz, the laboratory’s leader. “Each offers an approach to spatial appropriation by many voices, in a dialogical process that questions the quality of public life in view of growing cities around the globe.”

Inspired by Richard Sennett’s Together, the ALICE project places a strong emphasis on the notion of collectivity and the negotiation of space of social difference. As a pedagogical tool, HOUSE 2 aims to materialise these learnings during the design-build process as well as in the finished installation’s spatial parameters and the possibility of its uses. “As a forum installation, it provides a space for active exchange, debate and discussion involving the entire community,” added Dietz.

After traveling to Lausanne, HOUSE 2 will be disassembled in the autumn —but the wood will be preserved in order to reconfigure it into HOUSE 3 in 2018.

The 240 square meter structure was assembled in 10 days
The project was carried out thanks to the collaboration of 200 first-year students from the EPFL
The wooden elements will be reutilised in HOUSE 3, to be produced next year

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