A man and dog walk down a narrow street between tall buildings

The House and the City

Daniel Blum is a practicing architect and educator based in Switzerland.

City Seminar 2022: The Divided City

Europe is built. More than two-thirds of the European population lives in cities. This makes the city a conditio sine qua non for European architecture. We never face a tabula rasa condition, neither physically nor intellectually.

The resilience of the European city is deeply rooted in its ability to transform, to adapt, to recover. This constant evolutionary process over centuries is transcending built fabric to what we call identity — the individual character of each city — which is often praised but cannot be produced as a whole.

In this sense, each house can be regarded as a tone in the symphony (or cacophony) of a city. Every new house, every refurbishment, is a change in the city fabric that influences its overall tune.

In our recent work, we are reflecting this responsibility toward the city: Each house is an attempt to balance private interests with the demands of the city in a specific place. In this reflection on specific local constellations (always with the city as protagonist), we regard each house as an opportunity to add, adjust, or even heal the fabric of the city in its constant evolution driven by social, economic, and cultural forces.

Daniel Blum is a practicing architect and educator based in Switzerland. He has worked as an academic assistant at the ETH and has been teaching regularly at various universities since 2014, such as the Dessau International Architecture School among many others. He is currently teaching a design studio at the Münster School of Architecture. His work has been exhibited widely through venues such as the Venice Biennale and Swiss Architecture Museum. Daniel worked with David Chipperfield Architects in London and Diener & Diener Architects in Basel. In 2017, he became head of design at Itten + Brechbühl in Basel and was appointed member of the board in 2019. 

Photo Credit: Yohan Zerdoun