Philipp RW Urech, architect



Philipp R.W. URECH is a Swiss architect. He obtained his bachelor degree at the Academy of Architecture (USI) in Ticino and his master degree at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich. He gained professional experience in Swiss architectural firms, developing building submissions, planning studies and competitions for both architectural and landscape design. Since 2010 he is a research associate at the chair of Landscape Architecture of Professor Christophe Girot at the ETH Department of Architecture. He taught design studios, master thesis projects and in postgraduate study programs. Philipp was guest lecturer in parallel programs at the ETH Zürich, at the WSL Birmensdorf, at the Technion in Haifa and is presently teaching at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). Since 2017 he is conducting a doctoral research on innovative techniques applied to landscape design at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore.


Archaeologists measure time. Geometricians measure space. Astronomers measure light. They quantified the world known to man. Assisted by the laws of their disciplines, they gave their perception a numerical description. The measure is therefore an anthropological unit, a grid whose origin is tangible to the human senses. The grid divides the perceptible space in units of equal value. Where attention to the detail grows, the mesh tightens until describing the atoms of the material architecture. Where light and darkness rule alone, the mesh traces the limit of the rational. To understand the immense and the infinitesimal, man requires a notion of proportions for the comparison is essential to identify him. Woven one into each other, the proportions are levels structuring human cognition - but free of scale, the proportions become all alike. Man thus quantifies space by time and light by gravitation. Maps are devices to describe the linking proportions and to anchor his existance amidst a kaleidoscope of routes and events.


On my flights above the Swiss Plateau, the geography subsides, the cities dissipate, the space is neutralized. The perception seems to be limited to an interval of information, selected by the sensitivity of my senses. There is an overall abstraction defined by my limited capacity to absorbe. Then, with the landing approaching, the objects loosen gradually. Forests split to trees and villages crumble to houses. This dive between scales is disruptive.