Urbanization Around the World

How are architects around the world dealing with current global challenges in urbanism? Find out what it will take to plan the infrastructure needed for the urban citizens of tomorrow.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
730 Montgomery St., San Francisco, 94111 United States


September 16, 2011 from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)

By 2050, it is projected that 75 percent of the world’s population will be city dwellers. As part of the Architecture and the City Festival in San Francisco, swissnex hosts the exhibition Teaching Architecture: 3 Positions Made in Switzerland, which expresses three points of view on urban architecture from three leading Swiss architecture schools.

In addition to enjoying the exhibit, audiences are invited to join a panel of experts at swissnex San Francisco to probe the notion of urban architecture in the cities in which our panelists live and work: Zurich, Hong Kong, Hanoi, Bangkok, and San Francisco. Find out what it will take to plan the infrastructure needed for the urban citizens of tomorrow.

Teaching Architecture was presented by the Istituto Svizzero di Roma at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale. A series of three dedicated catalogs (Hong Kong Typology, Important Buildings, and Radical Mix in Hanoi), designed by Ludovic Balland, accompanies the exhibition and can be purchased at William Stout Architectural Books during the exhibit’s run.


6:30 pm  doors open
7:00 pm  panel discussion with Louise Low, Raveevarn Choksombatchai, Christoph Gantenbein,
and moderator Ben Grant
8:30 pm  exhibition viewing, reception, and networking
10:00 pm  doors close


Raveevarn Choksombatchai

Raveevarn Choksombatchai is an Associate Professor of Architecture at UC Berkley and has just returned from an urbanism summer workshop in Bangkok. As a former partner of Loom, which she co-founded with Ralph Nelson in 1993, Raveevarn Choksombatchai co-authored a broad range of projects merging art, architecture, and environmental design. She continues to explore more formal ideas of architecture, landscape, and space with projects mostly in urban contexts. She began her design education in Bangkok, Thailand, at Chulalongkorn University, and continued with graduate studies in both architecture and landscape architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.


Christoph Gantenbein

Swiss architect Christoph Gantenbein is an Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich and co-founder of Christ & Gantenbein, a firm working on a wide range of projects from private assignments and renovations of historic buildings to houses, office, bridges, and even urban environments. Gantenbein was a guest lecturer between 2004 and 2010 at the Accademia di Architettura Mendrisio in Switzerland and at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. His firm has won projects and competitions including an invitation to the Ordos 100-Project by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei and to the international competition for an extension to Kunstmuseum Basel.


Benjamin Grant

Benjamin Grant is a city planner, urban designer, curator, and lecturer in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is currently heading SPUR‘s interagency Master Plan for Ocean Beach, San Francisco. He has developed exhibitions on a range of urban issues, including “Agents of Change” a historical survey of San Francisco urbanism for the opening of the SPUR Urban Center in 2009. Since 2006, he has been a lecturer and studio instructor in the graduate program in Urban and Regional Planning at San Jose State University and has also taught at the San Francisco Art Institute. He received national recognition in the competition to redesign New York City’s High Line. Grant co-founded CITY|SPACE, a nonprofit cultural institution exploring cities and urbanism through fine art, film, design, and cultural landscape research.


Louise Low

Louise Low is a director of Ideas for Contemporary Environments (ICE) in Hong Kong. She has over 10 years of professional experience in research and media, architecture, and urban planning, and is one of the founders of RAD working closely with OMA Rotterdam and Rem Koolhaas. She was one of the key designers of the W-Hotel in Seoul as well as the Public Zone in SK Telecom Headquarter in Seoul. Her expertise lies in urban planning, small to large-scale masterplanning, small to large-scale commercial development, hotels, office towers, small to large-scale residential development, and villa and apartment design.


More Info

Now in its 8th year, the Architecture and the City Festival in San Francisco is the largest architectural festival in the US, showcasing tours, films, exhibitions, lectures, and interactive workshops all over the city. Organized by AIA San Francisco and the Center for Architecture + Design, the 2011 theme, Architecture of Consequence, will demonstrate how progressive design and creative problem solving can address many of our most pressing urban issues, from decreased social cohesion to unsustainable food systems.

The Teaching Architecture exhibition in San Francisco is a project of the U.S.-wide program ThinkSwiss-Brainstorm the Future. As a leading country in science, research, and technology, Switzerland is working with its American counterparts to address key global topics such as sustainability to better understand trends and arrive at solutions.


Photo: Myleen Hollero

Event Photos