„Luftschloss - 150 years ETH Zurich”, Switzerland,
Competition Project: Students' Centre in Kandahar, Afghanistan,
1st Prize (2004).
Execution in Bamiyan as ETH House of Science, Bamiyan University
(2005 - 2007).
Total Costs: 750 000 CHF (650 000 USD). Usable Area: 650 m2.
Collaboration of the Architects:
Brnic, Florian Graf, Wolfgang Rossbauer
Manager : Asef Alemyar, Rorschacherberg und Herat (Afghanistan).
Structural Engineer: Prof. Dr. Joseph Schwartz, Zug.
Building Physics: Prof. Dr. Bruno Keller and Stephan Rutz, ETH
Zurich, President emeritus of ETH: Prof. Dr. Olaf Kübler
ETH Zurich, President of the Committee "150 years Jubilee":
Prof. Dr. Meinrad Eberle (CC)
ETH Zurich, for the project in Bamiyan: Prof. Dr. Mario Fontana
ETH Zurich, for the presentation in Zurich: Prof. Dr. Andreas
ETH Zurich, for the political communication: Prof. Dr. Albert
A. Stahel (MILAK)
the 150th anniversary of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Zürich in the year 2005, a competition was advertised for
the faculties of Architecture and Civil Engineering. The requirement
was to design any kind of building on the terrace in front of
the ETH’s main site, which would represent these two departments.
The building was planned to be a temporary installation during
the festive period in April/May 2005. Out of all submitted 49
projects, our proposal, code-named: „Polynational”
was nominated for execution.
unusual aspect of this competition is certainly the simultaneous
demands: The physical architectural project and the content, its
programmatic use, were to be formulated. Our project does not
transmit the meaning of architecture using a purely demonstrative
object, like a festive pavilion, which tries to abstract „real“
architectural demands like utility, construction, form and present
them as a model to the public. Our aim is to show architecture
„in action“, acting with all the fundamental human
half a million Swiss Francs (original budget) would barely cover
the costs for building and maintaining a pavilion on the ETH’s
Polyterrasse. The ETH’s main building, a hallmark of the
city of Zürich, is itself a „Luftschloss” (=„castle-in-the-air”).
Its vast functional space provides room for an array of possible
events. In a developing country, or one in the process of reconstruction,
the utilisation of this sum will be multiplied by a large factor.
Our suggestion was therefore to invest the money in a sustainable
way in a country in development, and through that to initiate
a world-wide exchange of knowledge and information with the ETH.
were planning the construction of a small building on a campus
of the Bamiyan University, Afghanistan. The building will function
as a platform (politically neutral and without religious affiliation)
which would facilitate the exchange of knowledge between Afghan
and Swiss students, and which would offer the possibility of social
meeting for the students. Common projects or seminars in Afghanistan
will be a plan to strive towards (a committee for the exchange
was already founded, including politicians of both countries,
professors of both universities and students) that is, to foster
a long-term relationship between the Afghan University and the
ETH. It has been so far planned that the students will develop
projects for the reconstruction of parts of the city, study new
technologies of building construction, hydraulic engineering to
improve the local water utilities, and research on agricultural
problems. ETH has the opportunity to explore the still „open“
field of architecture in Afghanistan first hand. At the same time,
the advantage for Afghan University would be to have a leading
consultant by its side.
public was included in our plans: By rendering our project accessible
through both an installation and exhibition our concept was communicated.
The installation took place on the Polyterrasse of the ETH, in
which construction posts were set up to demarcate the volume to
be built in Afghanistan; a copy of the original pre-construction
site. A further exhibition in the lobby of the main ETH foyer
also was open to the public.
at the ETH Zurich: Information Board, Construction Posts (on the
"Polyterrasse") and a Model (Vestibule).
in Bamiyan (Execution 2005 - 2007):
collaboration with Bamiyan’s recently reopened university,
the functional program was worked out: a large auditorium (120m2),
a library with internet facilities (80m2) and a laboratory space(80m2).
Smaller spaces are planned for security, technical facilities
and micro-apartments for guests. The plans supplement the University
of Bamiyan’s existing buildings. They have been drawn up
in such a way that the buildings will remain highly practical
even if their designated use is changed.
is situated at a high-altitude and experiences low temperatures
and strong sunlight. An energy concept focused on heating has
been designed based on a simple spacial system. After having researched
the climate and cultural traditions in the region, we have come
up with a long, south-facing building fronted by an imposing reception
area, a courtyard. Behind the building a garden is planned, allowing
room for any future extensions.
Winter (direct radiation) - Situation Summer (shadow niche)
resilient brick wall - a homogenous combination of shock-absorbing
cob bricks in the core of the wall and fired bricks on the outside
surface - and a temperature-regulating system of double-glazed
windows (2 meters distance) are designed to produce a comfortable
temperature inside the building. Apertures in the external facade
are fitted with highly insulated windows that nevertheless let
through maximum sunlight. These windows ensure that as much sun
as possible comes into the building during the winter. In summer
they are opened, though those in shade (internal windows) at the
bottom of the facade are kept closed to keep out the wind and
ensure that cooling energy is preserved within the building.
work was being carried out by local workers using technologies
and practices that are rooted in the local culture - Only few
technical equipments were imported: solar systems, windows, interior
equipment like computers.
inauguration was in fall 2006, the academic use started in spring
Floor (Courtyard, Foyer, Classrooms, Toilets, Guest Rooms)
in Kandahar (Competition Project 2004):
building is situated on the new university grounds on the northern
outskirts of the city of Kandahar. A mosque dating back to the
Taliban regime stands to the south of the campus, integrated into
the campus for university use. Directly opposite, one can find
eleven completed buildings serving instructional and administrative
purposes. Ours is the last building in the area, standing a few
kilometres away from a rocky wall, functioning as a backdrop.
Further expansion of the university grounds is planned in the
area behind our building; a strategic centrality to echo its primary
function as a university building. The spacial program of the
new building shall be: Auditorium (100m2), Café (50m2),
Working space (80m2), Micro-apartments for guests.
necessary criteria for the architectonic form-finding process
rely on Kandahar’s distinctive climactic circumstances.
The wind blows more-or-less regularly from the southwest and with
a force of ca. 3-4 metres/sec, its energy potentially useful to
us. The temperature varies from ca. 0°C in the coldest season
to approximately 40°C in summer. Humidity is slight, wavering
between 20% and 40% on any summer day. The amount of sunlight
hours is extremely high, nearing the maximum at all possible.
In response to these local specifications, we have developed a
building which comprises of a double-shelled system: a massive
and thus energy-saving („Trägheit”) clay brick
mantle, and an inner-built, reinforced concrete construction,
executed with ca. 30 cm-thick walls to prevent earthquake damage.
Due to its temporary use, it will be possible to isolate the building
on the inside with a 10 cm-strong straw-clay layer. The building
can be constructed easily with regional materials, and by local
„shells” (layers) are arranged together so that a
space emerges, opening-up on the one hand a variety of sojourning
possibilities, and on the other a climate-regulating interstice,
comparable to a thermos flask.
stairway stretches along the brick wall in an upward movement,
caving it in and continually ridding it of its mass. In this way
the stairway narrows the wall and grants it its static sensuality.
The reinforced concrete construction retreats away from the brick;
the only points of contact occur where the rooms (within the construction)
Cooling Tower and Solar Energy
building is positioned against the direction of the wind and catches
the hot, dry desert air like a traditional windtower. In the above-mentioned
interstice, the air presses downwardly and deeply, cooling itself
through „evaporation-coldness” over the water basin.
Following this, it can then stream upwards and distribute itself
throughout the building to cool the rooms. Glass covers close
the interstice, now transformed into a kind of isolation space,
throughout the colder seasons. One would no longer sojourn in
the ground floor foyer, but would probably prefer the residential
top floor in winter. Here one can find straw mat covers and solar
panels, which (due to Afghanistan’s instable electricity
network) provide the building with electricity. It serves a small
water pump, among its other functions. This pump heaves water
from a stream into a deposit tank positioned on the roof of the
building. The water is heated here through solar collectors for
daily use. The building will be heated throughout the winter through
the use of solar energy sources.
Terrace (Terrace, Technic Room)
Floor (Guest Rooms)
Floor (Foyer, Cafeteria, Toilets)