Studio Europe is a collaboration between studios and universities that creates conditions to foster exchange beyond the local dynamics. It activates inclusive processes of learning and sharing practises by facilitating conversations and moments of encounter among places and actors that are representative of European multiplicity. 

In the spring semester 2022, Studio Europe brings together four design studios working on urban transformation in three European contexts.
By exploring Zurich (Switzerland), Naples (Italy) and Sofia (Bulgaria), students and teachers from NEWROPE Chair of Architecture and Urban Transformation -  Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, DiARC - University of Naples Federico II with AUIC - Polytechnic University of Milan, and the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia, move closer, overcome the physical distances and open up their laboratories. 

The design studios of Studio Europe 2022 deal with critically rethinking resources, tools and directions of contemporary urban transformations by focusing on crucial areas of the city in transition – respectively mixed-used neighbourhoods, peripheral neglected areas, and underused infrastructures:




Each school’s expertise and programme bring valuable nuances for exploring complexity and setting up coalitions to tackle broad issues.
How can architects contribute in unravelling material and immaterial potentialities of places? How do multiple readings of the city inform the design process? What are the spatial qualities that can foster moments of exchange considering local cultures and structures?


Studio Methodology

Studio Europe activates a safe and inclusive dimension for connecting design studios that work on similar issues in different contexts. 

In the spring semester 2022, the large community of the four schools of architecture (studios from ETHZ, UNINA, POLIMI and UACEG) use a shared methodology to engage with existing elements of the environment.
Addressing design as a process of dynamic learning, we try to understand what is already there, being driven by curiosity, care and sympathy to retrace complexity. 

The act of retracing needs to go beyond the attempt to objectively trace or map all forces that shape our landscapes. We want to engage with our own and other’s lived experiences. Only so we include subjectivity, interpretation, and existential needs as key forces of life. Instead of reducing or synthesising the complexity, we want to engage with this tangled mesh of interplay by developing a soft but precise approach to deal with complexity.
As a start we propose three elements to retrace our environment:


A collection of multiple interpretations of the urban context as a very subjective and intuitive view on the characteristics of the site and its everyday urban life. It is based on a personal exploration and engagement with the place, also able to involve and represent a multiplicity of other readings or forms of life.

This takes form in images, snapshots, notes, drawings, sketches, or in any other means of representation.


Analytical yet subjective interpretations of the meanings that spatial settings generate, and the actions, reflections, or sensations they trigger. 
Searching for the inner potential of things can as such both support the desire to achieve a sense of wholeness and acknowledge friction or disharmony as a fundamental aspect of how we perceive the world around us today.
We work on the affordances through models. With physical representations that reduce the spatial setup to its essence, we try to grasp what the spatial configurations invite to.


Deconstructions of social agreements that shape the city. These (implicit) agreements are the non-physical materials of the urban contexts. They can be seen as the cultural frameworks that define affordances. We aim to reveal those cultural habits by understanding space as a commons and start to analyse different frameworks and actions that support, undermine or give a specific interpretation on how to deal and govern this shared societal resource. 
We try to trace the cultural habits through “objects of proof” or “proofs of action”. The first refers to existing objects that manifest a social agreement, the second one looks at actions that make social agreements explicit. 

During the semester, the design studios will build up a collection of those elements, and constantly question and expand these notions. The wide variety of collected data and of different interpretations will create a common ground that connects the activities of the four studios, and tries to engage with the three complex European contexts under transformation.