Interview in Domus China


Markus Schaefer was interviewed by Brendan McGetrick for Domus China.

“Ten years into the new century, large parts of the world seem to be coalescing into two distinct but not completely dissimilar camps, neither of which appears to have much need for architects. On one side, in the developing world, years of rural-to-urban migration is producing cities without urban plans or architectural oversight, ad-hoc megalopolises that mutate according to need, independent of the infrastructure once considered essential to urban life. On the other, in world’s most modern societies, the importance of the built environment is steadily diminishing as new technologies entice more and more residents into a virtual realm that requires no physical proximity and minimal physical infrastructure. In both cases, the notion of the architect as an essential member of society, a provider of shelter and urban coherency, is growing more tenuous.

China, as is often pointed out, has a foot in each camp. It is simultaneously poor and rich, developed and developing. Here the architect is ascendent; his services are needed and, for the most part, appreciated. But for how long can this continue? How long before China’s architects face the threat of irrelevancy that now confronts their peers abroad?

For its 2010 interview series, Domus China will examine how developments in technology, ecology, and politics will alter the way cities work. Over the next twelve months we will speak with scientists and urbanists, academics, entrepreneurs, and inventors. The conversations will vary in subject but will retain a single focus: the future of architecture and urban life. Our hope is that, by imagining radical change advance, architects can prepare themselves. By focusing on current innovations and future forecasts, we can make change less surprising, develop strategies, and recognize modernity’s inevitable disruptions as a source of opportunity rather than pain.” Brendan McGetrick

Domus China, no. 049, December 2010, p. 112-129



Station square and station roof in Herisau, Switzerland
Current phase: construction documents

Benninger Areal, housing and retail development
Current phase: preliminary design

Interior design for an apartment in Park Tower, Zug
Recently completed

Mobility Hub / parking facility with retail component, Zug
Current phase: preliminary design

Parking garage with shop in Zug, Switzerland
Current phase: preliminary design

Riedmatt Ebikon / housing, retail, ateliers
Current phase: framework plan

Qube Ebikon / housing, retail, offices
Current phase: framework plan

House Chile, innovative single family home in forrest setting
Current phase: building permit documents

Buchs Areal Fegeren, building for precision-industry
Current phase: study

House Kyoto, community living, Japan
Current phase: study

Lachen SZ Alpenblickstrasse / high-rise housing
Current phase: study

Urban Design

Bahnstadt Nürtingen, Nürtingen
Current state: masterplan and function plan

Neugasse Zürich, urban design concept with public participation
Current state: presentation of urban design concept

Dessauer Strasse, Wolfsburg
Current state: competition waiting for further commission

Herisau site development, Herisau
Current state: process support and test planning

Technologiecluster Zug Masterplan, Zug
Current state: urban framework plan and design concept

Masterplan Dierikon, Switzerland
Current state: masterplan waiting for further commission

HafenCity Elbbrückenquartier, Hamburg
Current state: masterplan and framework plan

Wilhelmsburg Elbinselquartier, Hamburg
Current state: masterplan, function plan and typology studies

National Innovation Park Switzerland, Hub Zurich
Current state: Study on mobility-infrastructure

Leica Areal
Current state: study completed, next phase in planning

Innovation- and production park Patton Barracks, Heidelberg
Current state: urban framework plan

Wil West, Kanton Thurgau
Current state: urban framework plan

Visp Sägematte, Valais
Current state: study

Urban framework plan for the city of Zug
Current state: recently completed

Urban System Research

SmartUse / Space, Growth and BigData
Current state: ongoing

Winterthur 2040
Current state: ongoing

Harvard University Graduate School of Design / The Industrious City
Current state: in preparation

Development strategy for 3 communities in the Kanton St. Gallen, Switzerland


Zürich office

Flüelastrasse 10 8048 Zürich Switzerland (Google Maps)
T. +41 (0)43 243 6313 F. +41 (0)43 243 6315

Kyoto office

Jimukinoueda bldg. 602 21 Sakaimachi Gojo-Takakurakado Shimogyoku Kyoto Japan
T. +81 (0)75 744 1503