ETH Zurich – Institute for Urban Design
HIL H44.1 – Stefano-Franscini-Platz 5 – 8093 Zurich



On Planning – A Thought Experiment

This book is the result of a year-long dialogue between David Chipperfield and Simon Kretz – two architects of different generations and backgrounds. The collaboration was enabled by the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, through which David Chipperfield was invited to be mentor for architecture for 2016–17.
This project explores and theorises qualities of contemporary urban developments in thriving global cities. Its aim is to positively affect the future of urban developments. The publication combines theoretical and practical perspectives, which are naturally closely related to each other. The first chapter contains a short essay, critically discussing purely market-oriented urbanism and providing a manifesto for a relational, collective and diverse future for our cities. The second chapter presents a case study which exemplifies and further investigates the theoretical reflections. Developed in partnership with the Institute for Urban Design at ETH Zurich, Professor Kees Christiaanse, Benno Agreiter, Eirini Kasioumi, Simon Kretz and Christian Weyell, thirty-six students conducted a design-based investigation of the Bishopsgate goods yard, a highly debated urban development site in East London. The study consists of nine different design proposals, each highlighting specific potentials and investigating the limits and constraints of the site. These nine thought experiments are then synthesised in order to provide a multi-scalar urban strategy. The presented strategy is not to be understood as a complete urban design scheme; rather it highlights the conditions under which an ideal urban development project could flourish. Therefore, it debates the contemporary planning culture and provides a vehicle to discuss the relations between the development of a particular site and the city in its entirety, between urban processes and resulting forms, between active and passive planning, and their political and ethical dimensions. These reflections are the cornerstones of the dialogue and are assembled into a thesis in the final chapter.


Editors: Simon Kretz and David Chipperfield

Authors: Simon Kretz, David Chipperfield, Benno Agreiter, Christian Weyell and the Institute for Urban Design, Prof. Kees Christiaanse, ETH Zürich

Photographies: Benjamin McMahon

Book Design: John Morgan Studio

Publisher: Walther König, Köln, 2018

ISBN: 978-3-96098-300-2

English | hardback | Swiss binding| 32 x 24 cm | 172 pages | 140 color illustrations |


Artikel IN ICON Magazine

Interview in NSL Newsletter

Interview in FAZ Quarterly

Artikel IN LE TEMPS Magazine

order book from the ETH Library

buy book

open access (free download at ETH Research Collection)