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Summer School 2024

In this year’s international Summer School, we will explore the concept of design for “Care & Repair”. We will look at how to use and reuse wood and other biobased construction materials by simultaneously looking back and forward in time. Through the analysis of past traditions, current innovations and the carrying capacity of the landscape we will envision future architectures. 


Ambitions – Care & Repair

Our main site of exploration is the open-air museum Ballenberg, where historic timber buildings of rural Switzerland offer an interesting reference point for discussing possible solutions to current challenges.

Based on the concept of “Care & Repair”, the ambition for the Summer school is to reimagine and design flexible programs and infrastructures for the museum. By getting in touch with the material wood in a hands-on workshop, we will explore the relationship between the landscape, available resources and construction, aiming to foster new architectural narratives.


Learnings – from the past to current innovations

As built cultural heritage, Ballenberg’s buildings preserve the knowledge of different regional construction traditions. In particular, they derive their value from the careful use of local resources as well as from the craftsmanship and insight of the builders and the owners who maintained the structures for centuries.

At the same time advanced technologies and research lead to new building methods, opening interesting solutions for wood in combination with other materials. By visiting ERNE AG Holzbau, a leading Swiss timber industry exploring the combination of wood and clay, we will learn about current innovations in hybrid construction.


Inspirations – in theory and praxis

The hands-on experience will be complemented by guest lectures with experts ranging from philosophy, visual arts, engineering and architecture, among others. They will provide  valuable inputs throughout the summer school. Three books will form our theoretical framework and serve as inspiration: A Way of Life – Notes on Ballenberg (Rolf Fehlbaum (ed.), 2023); Gegen WEGWERF Architektur (Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani (ed.), 2023); Touch Wood – Material, Architecture, Future (Carla Ferrer, Thomas Hildebrand, Celina Martinez-Cañavate (eds.), 2022).


Organising Team – the editors of Touch Wood

Thomas Hildebrand
Carla Ferrer
Celina Martinez-C.


Expert Guests

Andrea Frangi
Catherine De Wolf
David Klemmer
Lars Müller
Mario Rinke
Helene Romakin
Alessandro Tellini
and more


Academic Partner: University of Antwerp
Location Partner: Ballenberg, Swiss Open-Air Museum
Industry Partner: ERNE AG Holzbau


Application Deadline extended! New: 14th of May
Please send a pdf (max. 10 Mb) with: 1 A4 motivation letter, 1 A4 CV, max. 3 A4 portfolio
Link registration here

Open for bachelor students 3rd year and master students
For ZHAW Students: 3 ETCS Credit Points (2CP. for Attendance + 1CP. for an Extra Work)


ZHAW School of Architecture, Design and Civil Engineering
Institute Urban Landscape (IUL) | Regula Iseli & Stefan Kurath
Tössfeldstrasse 11, 8401 Winterthur


Start date: 31 August 2024, 12.00 am


ZHAW School of Architecture, Design and Civil Engineering / Campus Stadt-Mitte
Tössfeldstrasse 11
8401 Winterthur


ZHAW Institut Urban Landscape
Tössfeldstrasse 11
8401 Winterthur