CEU UCH Architecture undergraduates have made proposals for a structure looking out over Lake Zurich, under the supervision of architects from the Swiss studio Grillovasiu.

A new year, a new international destination. In its sixth year, ConnectA, the international workshop for the Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture focuses this year on the city of Zurich and its lake, the Zürisee. The challenge for the students is to design a space for relaxation, leisure and enjoyment in this great European city, under the guidance of this year’s guest international studio: Grillovasiu. The architects Romina Grillo and Liviu Vasiu worked with CEU UCH students for a week to help them adapt their designs to the architectural environment and specific personality of this beautiful Swiss city.

Having worked in a number of European studios previously, these two architects decided to set up their own studio, Grillovasiu, in 2010. Since they designed Romania’s pavilion that same year for the Venice Biennale, Grillo and Vasiu have taken part in many different international projects. Yet they have always maintained links with the academic world and have been guest lecturers at the Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio, the ETH in Zurich, the AHO in Oslo and the Porto Academy.

Architecture on water

During the ConnectA activities at CEU UCH in Valencia, the guest lecturers guided students through the challenges that architecture on water poses. The students were shown some solutions which different cultures have come to for the architectural creation of a viewpoint over a body of water or lake. These solutions served as an inspiration to the students as they put forward their own designs for a structure on Lake Zurich.

For Nacho Juan, the deputy director responsible for the Architecture degree at CEU UCH, the students”have really shown their ability to synthesise information and then abstract away from it. By taking just a few decisions, they have created some really thought-provoking structures, which both met the needs of users and fit with the charactertistics of the setting. Over the course of the week, each student made around 30 models as part of a research process for the creation of the best possible model for the objective. Liviu and Romina have conveyed new ways of creating, learning and thinking to the students, taking them to a new context in which to demonstrate their architectural abilities. As is the case every year, the week has been a very special experience for our students. Being able to work alongside internationally prestigious architects gives them the chance to learn in a different way and grow personally and professionally.”

This is the sixth edition of the international workshop ConnectA. Since it started in 2018, CEU UCH students have worked on a range of architectural proposals for different cities, including Berlin, Copenhagen, Porto, Buenos Aires, Valencia and now Zurich. For Nacho Juan, “by bringing a studio in each location on board, the students can gain an insight into the architectural urban identity of each place from the professionals who know it best, enabling them to adapt their proposals to the setting and its inhabitants. Then, they can take the knowledge and skills they have gained from different courses and apply it to a challenge set by the guest studio.”

After the ConnectA project sessions themselves, the workshop culminates with a student visit to the chosen location this year, Zurich, from 8th to 12th April.

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