Designing the future

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To understand complex and dynamic landscapes, students work with innovative anal

To understand complex and dynamic landscapes, students work with innovative analysis and design methods. Modelling of the landscape after the landslide in the Swiss alpine village of Bondo using point clouds. (Image: Chair Christophe Girot)

From autumn, ETH Zurich will offer a Master’s programme in Landscape Architecture - a first for a Swiss university. The demand for landscape architects is greater than ever, say professors Christoph Girot and Teresa Galí-Izard.

Graduates are expected to be proficient in leading interdisciplinary teams. How do you teach that?
Galí-Izard: The problems we want to tackle can only be solved in teams, and so we look at the projects accordingly. For example, we evaluate designs in terms of whether they incorporate more than one form of "intelligence".

What do you mean by that?
Galí-Izard: The intelligence of good soil, for example, of good management practices, the capacity of a system to react to extreme events - but there are also many other kinds of relevant intelligence depending on the project. I don’t see any beauty in designs that don’t unify various kinds of intelligence. This will lead to a new breed of landscape architect.

What motivated you to offer this new degree programme?
Galí-Izard: The students. I see a lot of young people who want and are ready to tackle precisely these issues. Now is the time - and this is the place to do it.

Master’s in Landscape Architecture

The degree programme lasts two years (full-time) and comprises 120 ECTS points. Classes begin on 14 September 2020. Prospective students can apply from 1 March to 31 March.

The development of the course was supported by the Innovedum Fund, with which ETH promotes the further development of teaching.


Christophe Girot has been a professor of landscape architecture in the Department of Architecture (D-ARCH) at ETH since 2001. From 2005 to 2014, he headed the Institute for Landscape Architecture, which became part of the new Institute of Landscape and Urban Studies (LUS) in 2019. Girot, together with the institute’s director, Professor Günther Vogt, is one of the initiators of the new Master’s programme. His research focuses on large-scale landscape design and modelling methods, with a particular emphasis on the natural topography of cities and their surroundings.

Teresa Galí-Izard has been a professor of landscape architecture at ETH’s Institute of Landscape and Urban Studies (LUS) since 2020 and is programme director of the new Master’s degree programme. Galí-Izard’s research focuses on the interface between landscape architecture and agronomy, and the interactions between people, animals and the landscape.

Michael Walther

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