Geneva Winery

This graduate design studio explored a layered urban landscape in Geneva, Switzerland. The winery is understood as cultural, ecological and architectural project. The cultivation of land, the production of wine and the respective landscape architectural design mutually re-enforce each other. After an analytical mapping of the larger context, students worked with physical and digital models. Their projects we located within the striated space of the the urban landscape. The projects resulted in an architecture informed by the specific parameters of landscape, production and inhabitation before formal representation.
Studio Thesis - This studio will reconsider Reyner Banham's thesis on the "controlled environment" in order to document, comprehend and utilize climatic conditions as a space generating device. In The Architecture of the Well- Tempered Environment (1969), Banham articulated his view of "environmental power" distinct from a moralist ecological argumentation; rather, he presented the "well tempered environment" as a novel way to conceptualize space though immaterial elements - sound, light, electricity and moving images - and through numeric calculations: space as information. The scope of this studio is to revisit Banham's ideas on the ecologies of architecture in conjunction with recent experiments by Philippe Rahm on the (re-) creation of environments. Thus, the thesis of this studio postulates an active architecture of micro-climatic environments. We will not work towards "eco-activism" or earnest sustainable prototypes, but for an imbedded intelligence in buildings and the computation of their micro- environments in relationship to program. Environments are understood twofold: As the immediate spatial ecologies of bodies, architecture and territories, as well as projected spaces of events in the transcendent meaning of the word. Subverting a techno-phenomenological approach traced earlier by Siegfried Giedion -modern chronist par excellence - environment will analyzed as a medium of emergency. In analogy to Robert Slutzky's and Collin Rowe's concept of "literal and phenomenological transparency" we will postulate an architecture of literal and phenomenological environments and test it with digital design tools.


Program - Win(e)nvironment Programmatically, we will apply Banham's "controlled well-tempered" environment in the large scale of an urban intervention for a wine hotel and facility in Geneva Switzerland. On the micro-ecological level the disappearance of physical boundaries between space and organism, as revealed by biology and the neurosciences, will establish a continuity between the living and the non-living, the opening up to the invisible, to electromagnetic and biological determinations (Rahm). Visitors will experience wine and participate in wine production. The program will accommodate a wine hotel, a vineyard, facilities for wine production and wine storage. Different programmatic requirements - for instance the temperature and percentage of light, required to preserve wine - will function as generative parameters for the construction of microclimates and "well- tempered environments" that will actively inform the design process. Wine and grapes may function as litmus tests and indicators of microclimaticchanges. In the framework of the studio, we will consider how microclimates are crated within larger interventions in between the scale of architecture, landscape and urbanism.


Site – Geneva Geneva, Switzerland [GPS coordinates: N46* 12' 34.55'' E6*09' 00.07''] offers a rich climatic, ecological, and urbanistic background for the implementation of the aforementioned thesis. The site is a former tramway depot located at the confluence of the Rhone and Arve rivers.


Institution: The Ohio State University 
Year: 2008
Type: Graduate Design Studio
Students: 16 graduate students
Sectional model of Geneva
Diagram of Confluences
Parametric transformation of territory

Metabolism Redux

This theoretical seminar held at The Ohio State University (OSU) examined Japanese architecture, culture and aesthetic between 1960 and 1970. The seminar revisited so called Metabolism in architecture and urbanism by studying Japanese movies and pop culture of the time.

Deep Surface

Deep Surface is the first design studio exposure for sophomore students that decide to major in architecture. Deep Surface / ARC 241-242 Sophomore Design Studio/ Aurel von Richthofen @ The Ohio State University 2007-2009

Digital Design & Representation

Digital Design and Representation stand at the core of the education of architects and urban designers. Due to the proliferation of computers, the increasing computer literacy amongst incoming students and the fundamental shift in the profession towards the digital, digital design and representation needs to be re-assessed all together.

Visiting Assistant Professor

Aurel has been appointed as Visiting Faculty to the Knowlton School of Architecture (KSA) at The Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus Ohio for the academic years 2007-08 and 2008-09. Aurel teaches sophomore and graduate design studios, representation classes for digital design and fabrication, theory classes and research.

Additive vs Subtractive

modeling space / CAD 2 @ GUtech 2010- present The 2nd CAD seminar builds upon the drafting skills elaborated in CAD 1. This seminar engages students into constantly shifting from 2D forms of representation, such as plans, sections, elevations and perspectives to 3D models and back. The 3D model is produced through addition of elements (tectonic) or subtraction from a volume (stereolithic). Various scales demand different conventions of drawing. Student gain proficiency in modeling, drafting and layout of their designs and often re-work their studio assignment.

Islamic Patterns

Islamic Patterns / CAD 1 @ GUtech 2010 - present The 1st CAD seminar introduces students to fundamental concepts of geometry and scale. Students start with analysing Islamic patterns. These traditional patterns are based on circles, squares and hexagons and can be found in many islamic ornaments throughout Oman. They entail basic vectorial transformations, such as translation, rotation, reflection and scale. While re-drawing the patterns in CAD, the students start to re-interpret the pattern in their drawing. Students resolve linear intersections and treat the drawing like an architectural drawing. Later the 2D CAD drawing is interpreted in 3D using extrusion and rotation. This process requires the addition of information. Students are then asked to re-introduce a scale and to read their shapes against a possible programs.

Foam Scape

In the context of this studio foam is an operative metaphor describing cultural processes of an inherently individualized society and a generative design model for an emergent architecture. In a first instance we will use foam as an analytical explication tool to research the intimate conditions of space production such as inhabitation, insulation and immunization. We will then analyze the adjacency of cells in a state of co-isolation and move on to complex cells clusters and stable foams.

Pratt Studio Berlin

Aurel von Richthofen was invited as guest critique to Pratt Studio Berlin at Aedes Network Campus Berlin (ANCB) by Gisela Baurmann and Jonas Coersmeier.