entry deadline abstract: March 16, 2014 /

entry deadline final contribution: May 16, 2014

Zurich, February 27, 2014. trans is a semi-annual professional journal of the Department of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich and has been managed by an independent student editorial team since 1997. The journal addresses current issues in architecture and urban design from multiple perspectives, including that of humanities, politics, philosophy and the arts.

A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias1, wrote Oscar Wilde in the year 1891. What the author during the golden years of the British Empire still described as an idealised journey was, however, as humanity plunged headlong into the upheaval of World War I a century ago, to become a catastrophic collapse of systems. At the same time the monumental ruins provided room for new visions, dreams and speculations. While some novel ideas of the 1910s and 1920s remained models of thought, other currents were to enter wide parts of society and to heavily influence the discourse up to this day.

The term speculative is derived from the Latin speculari which denotes spying, watching, exploring but also describes the process of advancing into unknown territory, either hesitantly or with a brave vision.

Today the word speculation has significantly gained in weight as the media ubiquitously reports on business speculations and heedlessly speculating stockbrokers. Constellations and processes that in their complexity remain mysterious to the uninitiated make up the backbone of the contemporary world economy. To speculate is on the verge of becoming discredited, as society, formerly a beneficiary, but now a victim of an extended economic crisis, is realising its own vulnerability. Luigi Snozzi remarked in 2012 that he holds no hope for the world and for architecture2, but that exactly this economic standstill could revitalise architectural discussion.

trans25 sets sail searching for dreams of the future, ideas on what awaits humanity, hopes, visions, beliefs, conjectures, utopias of our age – for both treasures and monsters. 

We are interested in fostering discussion of different positions, directions, and perspectives. The form of contributions to this discussion can be diverse, ranging from scientific articles, personal essays, comments, and portraits to illustrations, photo series, or collages, depending on the content. We welcome a short description of your proposed submission in the form of an abstract. This should be no longer than one DIN A4 page or 600 words, possibly supplemented with a few pictures. Please send us your abstract by March 16, 2014. The final contribution is due by May 16, 2014. trans25 will be available in selected bookstores in September 2014.

Oscar Wilde, ‹The Soul of Man under Socialism›, 1891.

2 Philip Ursprung, ‹Podiumsdiskussion. Architektur in der Krise: Ein Blick auf die 1970er-Jahre›, Conversation with Ernst Gisel, Luigi Snozzi, Roger Diener, Jacques Herzog, Zürich 17.10.2012, in: trans22 Haltung/Stance, Zurich 2013, p.102.