Caution, these contents corresponds to the coursebooks of last year



Lecturer(s) :

Barrère Alexandre Louis Camille
Dietz Dieter
Golay François
Treiber Kuntzmann Myriam Yvonne Lucie




Il n'est pas autorisé de se retirer de cette matière après le délai d'inscription.


L'atlas peut être utilisé comme un outil dans le contexte de la réalité urbaine contemporaine complexe. Il permet la construction d'un Denkraum au-delà des disciplines à travers un processus de configurations itératives de matériel visuel et ouvre ainsi la porte à l'innovation.


This course focuses on techniques and methods for an open and systematic compilation of images. Forms of visual information are major manifestations of a culture and will be explored in respect to their symbolic, intellectual or emotional power. All these documents ask for a proper frame and knowledge for their deciphering. And they will remain open for further interpretations, as does a work of art (see Umberto Eco, Opera Aperta,1969).

While the exploration of instruments from diverse fields of expertise will help us to better analyse and understand given questions and problems, the output of these instruments bears new potential for knowledgeable associations. A holistic vision of a given problem may relocate it at the outset and new questions may have to be asked, not necessarily evolving directly out of a specialised and specific focus, but rather appearing in the `situatedness' of a given problem and its complex interdependencies.

Atlas Poliphilo is open to civil/environmental engineering and architecture students. The unit is taught in parallel with the HEPIA Architecture du paysage with an equal number of students in landscape design. The Atlas Poliphilo Unité d'enseignement proposes a range of techniques in surveying, combining most recent engineering software and research with recent findings in art history and digital humanities ' offering a critical and in depth insight into vital questions relevant to our environment and us as human species. In particular the crossing of the capacities of engineers with those of architects and landscape architects, will offer to all students a thorough transdisciplinary experience and crucially enhance the operational capabilities in their own field. 

Space is hypothetised as a common support for individual and collective articulation of interactions. Each year the students will survey a given territory of the Region Lémanique. Specific mapping techniques will permit them to produce visual descriptions of dynamic phenomena in space. Inputs from complementary disciplines will allow for the exploration of further methods of visual transcription according to different approaches : systemic, experiential and prospective.

Students will then engage an interdisciplinary discussion informed by the results of their investigations. Visions of the territory will emerge from the conversation between visual data as much as from the discursive exchange between all the participants. The UE therefore places equal emphasis on the different aspects of the course: fieldwork, collection of data, representation, interpretation and discussion.


territory, analogy, image, transdisciplinary research, space, co-presence, interdisciplinarity

Acquis de formation

A la fin de ce cours l'étudiant doit être capable de:

Méthode d'enseignement

During the course, evolutive configurations of visual content will be collectively developed and synthetised by the students on boards in precisely advised moments and formats. The boards will be printed and later presented as immersive interfaces in order to exchange with diverse experts. In each critique instruments, method, criteria and outcome will be exposed and reassessed.

The study of the territory, our perceptions and capacity to project within it will be implemented in 4 phases:

1. Parallel description.

Applying tools developed by the different labs involved: analysis of the spatial structures through GIS, exploring on foot, capturing sensorial and environmental features, elaboration of mental maps.

2. Synthetic immersion.

Development of an immersive interface that is able to:

-    Reunite different media and different types of information and representation

-    Reproduce an innovative and immersive experience, creating a new mode of interaction between different manners of seeing and apprehending the environment, and therefore allowing for novelty in comprehension to emerge.

3. Analogical friction.

In this phase the results of the immersive interface will be confronted with different spatio-temporal and cultural conditions or narratives. As such, they will be complimented by further visual documents that are brought into associative configurations in view of specific questions and selected criteria derived from the student work ' in order to form a Denkraum or a field of potentials. Each configuration of each board will be recorded.

4. Prospective figuration.

In this exercise students and teaching team will synthesise visions for future development that respond to the 'emerging figures' explored through the combination of the different angles of reading. These visions take the form of a figure that can be summarised in words and in a visual transcription understood as the most salient feature of a deep and complex mode of interrelation present in the territory.

Méthode d'évaluation

Ongoing evaluation.

Students will be evaluated on the basis of the four following criteria:

1. Ability to work between fieldwork, drawing and discursive exchange

2. Capacity to use testing as a means of developing a spatial comprehension and intuition

3. Collaboration (communication, team work, flexibility within different roles)

4. Engagement (participation in exercises, analytical work, initiative)



-    Aby Warburg, Atlas Mnémosyne, with essay by ­Roland Recht, Paris, L'Écarquillé/Institut national d'histoire de l'art, 2012.

-    André Leroi-Gourhan, Le geste et la parole. 2: la mémoire et les rythmes, 1977.

-    Bernardo Secchi, 'Urbanistica descrittiva' in Casabella (1992): 588.

-    Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander, Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking, Basic Books, 2013.

-    Georges Didi-Huberman, L'oeil de l'histoire. 3: Atlas ou le gai savoir inquiet, 2011.

-    Gilbert Simondon, Imagination et invention, Les Editions de la Transparence, 2008.

Ressources en bibliothèque

In the programs

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