Coursebooks 2017-2018


Studio MA2 (Gugger)


Lecturer(s) :

Gugger Harry




It is not allowed to withdraw from this subject after the registration deadline.


Yearly studio. Inscription period in September 2016 only.


laba's focal theme is Urban Nature. Due to the scale and character of today's territorial expansion, the definition of the urban becomes more diffuse and complex. laba's didactic method takes students through design scales ranging from the territorial to the architectural in a year long course.


The word `environment' comes from the French environer, meaning `to surround, enclose, encircle'. The word object comes from the Latin objectum, meaning `thing lying before, opposite' (the mind or sight), from obicere, `to present, oppose'. The environment envelops the spectator; it is infinite but its perceptual limit is the horizon. It is real but immaterial, ethereal. It is the milieu, the `mid-place', the medium in-between. The object, on the other hand, is finite. It confronts the environment by creating a limit, a form. It is objective, meaning it has intentions, it occupies a position. In its delineation, it encloses an inside and excludes an outside. In doing so, it creates a subject, a point of view and a sense of belonging in familiarity set against the strange otherness of the outside.

To think of architecture as an environmental object means to question this very opposition by analyzing some of the inherent dichotomies of separation here at play ' figure and ground, inside and outside, autonomy and analogy. By refusing them, we hope to replace separation with confrontation, and segregation with coexistence. If ecology is the `study of the house' (from the Greek oikos, `house' and -logia, `study of'), it must also be the practice of thinking the threshold of the house ' who do we live with, who do we extend our hospitality to?

The house is the place where we attempt to divide the familiar from the unfamiliar, the domesticated space from the otherness of the environment, and where everyday affairs are ritualized into a spatial organization, a form of life. Its sense of permanence (residence, from residere, `to remain') makes the confrontation between architecture and place all the more evident. It raises questions of limits, naturalizes social reproduction, and frames our point of departure towards the outside, our worldview.

The choice of Portugal as case study derives from its rich architectural history and from its peripheral position, from which a distanced critique of Western modernism and industrial capitalism is easier to ascertain. We find traces of these ideas in the architecture of the so-called `School of Porto', but also in older historical examples where a tradition of asceticism and Franciscan aesthetics already foregrounds a sense of `environmentality' over iconic form and spectacle.


Portugal, architecture, landscape, contextualism, climate change, territory, cartography.

Learning Prerequisites

Required courses

Spring Semester at laba is a mandatory follow-up to previous fall semester. laba takes yearly subscriptions only.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

Transversal skills

Teaching methods

In the Spring semester laba students must write their own project brief (site + program + spatial intention) that leads to the development of an architecture project based on the territorial reading carried out in the first semester. Each student is asked to critically appoint a site and program, and then the project design unfolds in a sequence similar to the official phases: feasibility study, schematic design, design development, presentation documentation. Lectures on the subjects of context, structure, façade, building services, and fit-out provide inputs to each phase accordingly. This procedure can be seen as a dress rehearsal for the master thesis project. Students work individually or in pairs.

Assessment methods

Each review (both intermediate and final) will be assessed by the laba staff and an appointed guest jury.


Office hours Yes
Assistants Yes



Attached to the course booklet.


Each student will receive a course booklet. You find more detailed information on our teaching methododology and what we expect from our students by visiting our website < >


Prerequisite for

Projet de Master

In the programs

  • Architecture, 2017-2018, Master semester 2
    • Semester
    • Exam form
      During the semester
    • Credits
    • Subject examined
      Studio MA2 (Gugger)
    • Lecture
      2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks
    • Project
      4 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks
  • AR Exchange, 2017-2018, Spring semester
    • Semester
    • Exam form
      During the semester
    • Credits
    • Subject examined
      Studio MA2 (Gugger)
    • Lecture
      2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks
    • Project
      4 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks

Reference week

Under construction
Exercise, TP
Project, other


  • Autumn semester
  • Winter sessions
  • Spring semester
  • Summer sessions
  • Lecture in French
  • Lecture in English
  • Lecture in German