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ETH - Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule Zuerich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
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Published: 06.04.2006, 06:00
Modified: 05.04.2006, 22:13
Competition for students of architecture
Wooden houses of today

(cna) ETH student Hyungsup Soh has won the “Marty Innovation Award” for 2006. The project for which he was distinguished was part of a narrowly practice-oriented course organised by the ETH Zurich Living Forum together with the University of Stuttgart Institute for Living and Design and a private firm. The aim was to design prefabricated wooden houses which would appeal to customers in the upper price segment.

Three winners

During the last winter semester students from ETH Zurich and the University of Stuttgart developed 50 designs for prefabricated wooden detached and semi-detached family homes. Three of these projects were selected by a jury comprising architects and wood construction experts for distinction with the Marty Innovation Award 2006. The prizes, which were accompanied by a sum of EU 5,000, were distributed at a ceremony on Monday at the ETH Hönggerberg campus.

The winning project, “Villa Marty”, won over the jury above all with its harmonious concept. Hyungsup Soh combined the traditions of architectural history and social conventions in a new way, explained Dietmar Eberle, ETH Professor of Architecture and Design. “I'd like to live in this house myself”, he said. The Japanese Takayasu Suga of the University of Stuttgart was awarded second prize, and third prize went to Dario Egli of ETH Zurich. Professor Christian Kerez from the ETH Department of Architecture said that the jury had primarily judged the students' diligence and application, plus the practicability of their conceptual approaches.

Provocation and pragmatism

For winner Hyungsup Soh the greatest challenge had been to combine free and provocative ideas, for which the ETH Chair is famous, with this pragmatic task. The result is a comfortable house with generous rooms and windows set in deep walls like those of earlier palazzi.


The “Villa Marty” project won over the critical jury. large

“I think that practice-oriented projects in collaboration with industry make good sense, but only if they are long-term and based on regular contact”, says Soh. Although his fellow student Kaj Blattner received no award, he learned a lot. “If I had to do the project all over again, my house would look very different”, he says. He found the practice-oriented work truly enriching, even if he sees the practical experience in relative terms. “After all, we were never exposed to the genuine pressure of a building contractor”.

The ETH Living Forum wants to continue its collaboration with the practice sector. “We are basically very interested in working with outside partners”, says Thea Rauch, head of this comprehensive study project. All of the work is presented on the website If interested parties get in touch, Marty Häuser AG will help them to realise a selected project.

(1) Zur Website des Wohnforums der ETH:

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