The street – once an essential element of the city and a spatial manifestation of the versatility and intensity of urban life – receives little attention in architecture and urban planning today. While the reconstruction of European streetscapes into car-oriented cities, especially after 1945, is being reassessed in many places, alternative uses and designs remain seldom. VOGT Landscape Architects supports this paradigm shift and expands earlier considerations to include the street as a central space for planning climate-adapted, sustainable, livable cities.
But what is a street? The exhibition addresses this question through a provocative exploration of four examples in cities where VOGT Landscape Architects has its offices: the Champs-Élysées in Paris, Whitechapel Road in London, Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, and Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin. For the exhibition, the streets’ condition and characteristics were documented in extensive field trips using magnifying glass and telescope, microphone and camera.
The results are presented so that exhibition visitors also have to go in search of what is not immediately visible. This proverbial “look behind the curtain” reveals unexpected insights into the street as a complex entity, in which space, people, flora, fauna, sounds, and smells mutually influence each other. This concept illustrates the philosophy of VOGT Landscape Architects, whose approach is characterized by an exchange between different disciplines and a knowledge-based design process.
VOGT Landscape Architects was founded in Zurich in 2000 and has offices in Berlin, London, and Paris. The practice gained international recognition with projects such as the Tate Modern in London, the Allianz Arena in Munich, and the Masoala Rainforest Hall at the Zurich Zoo. Since 2005, Günther Vogt has combined teaching, practice, and research with a professorship at the Institute for Landscape and Urban Studies at ETH Zurich and with the VOGT Case Studio – a platform for research and exhibitions. This work is also reflected in publications such as Solid, Fluid, Biotic (2021), Mutation and Morphosis (2020), and Distance & Engagement (2010).