Mission Statement

Mission Statement
8. February 2020 Luisa Overath

The Master of Science in Landscape Architecture (MScLA) redefines the goals and boundaries of landscape architecture as a design discipline through the development of new tools and methods that will vary according to project location, scale and time. The challenges of the 21st century call for a new kind of interdisciplinary design intelligence. Design is a medium for change, and in the case of landscape architecture, it offers highly experimental and prospective approaches that combine scientific knowledge with cultural awareness, and the living environment with technology. The Department of Architecture at the ETH in Zurich provides a unique framework to reflect on the built environment as it is adapts to a rapidly changing planet. This programme strives to address civil society through design, to encourage better and more stable landscape conditions for an engaged and just society. 

The Master of Science in Landscape Architecture at ETH is a programme rooted in design and studio culture. Its aim is to equip a generation of 21st century landscape architects with the tools necessary for responding to increasingly complex societal and environmental scenarios. Through careful analytical observation, on-site exploration, design experimentation and technical synthesis, the programme proposes a methodological framework designed to address pivotal cultural and ethical questions in the built environment. It encourages creative imagination and fosters design excellence, preparing students to develop robust and innovative solutions at a variety of scales.

Fundamental knowledge deeply grounded in the history and theory of the discipline is rigorously examined in order to reconsider future developments critically. In addition to analog, GIS- and rule-based approaches to planning and design, the use of advanced digital design methods provides students with an unprecedented set of tools to enable, conceive, model and represent a project. The Master programme addresses environments at various scales in a variety of different cultural and geographic contexts.

The programme emphasizes collaboration, both with fellow design professionals and engineers and across disciplinary boundaries with specialists from the humanities and sciences, to develop hybrid projects capable of responding to urgent environmental questions that consider social equity, ethics, and regenerative ecology. Design studios and courses are led by an internationally recognized team of experts in the field and supplemented with course offerings from other departments at large as well as research opportunities and events as part of the world-class technical and scientific context of the ETH.

The Master of Science in Landscape Architecture fosters a design philosophy specific to our place and time, one that is in tune with the acute cultural and environmental sensitivities that are at play. The programme thus encourages the integration of previously excluded actors, including the intelligence of plants in achieving finely crafted and open-ended strategies. Through active discussion about cultural complexity, diversity and ecological contradictions, students are challenged to strive for greater design complexity and sensitivity. Graduates from this programme will be better equipped to design productive, aesthetically rich landscapes capable of fostering new dynamic relationships between human society and a rapidly changing natural environment.