University of Michigan
Wallenberg Travel Award, Undergraduate Thesis Studio
Year Awarded: 2013
Year Compiled: 2015

Wallenberg Travel Award

The Wallenberg Travel Award is given annually by the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning to an undergraduate whose design thesis studio work is chosen through both an exhibition and jury. The stipend award is offered for international travel to a country of the award winner's choosing.

In 1955 Max Frisch, Lucius Burckhardt and Markus Kutter published Achtung: Die Schweiz, a warning about the increasing sprawl throughout the Swiss landscape and a plea for a new and more controlled level of urbanity. Fifty-eight years later, the level of alarm against the increasing levels of urban sprawl has not diminished and yet single-family houses and low-density settlements still continue to cover the Swiss landscape. Openly alluding to the book of 1955, ETH Studio Basel maintains a research project Achtung: die Landschaft, which attempts at offering a different yet radical alternative to the problems of land, landscape and resources consumption that contemporary forms of urbanization imply.

From September to December, 2014, I chose to honor my Wallenberg Travel Award by participating in the ETH Achtung: die Landschaft research project through my ongoing degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Under Professors Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, I was able to expand my understanding of the relationship between the city and its surroundings within the socio-economic and political conditions specific to Switzerland. Supplementing this research, trips throughout the larger Swiss territory as well as nearby regions of Italy and France brought a closer lens to slowly study the specifics of the built environment.

This book will visually elaborate on both the research and the travel experiences, vacillating between examples of domestic architecture, cultural institutions, curated landscapes, insularities in the built environment, and overlapping infrastructures and domestic spaces.

© Carly Gertler 2017