Old Techniques – New Forms of Expression: Results of the Stucco Workshops of the ETH

March 20, 2015 to April 19, 2015

A seminar week of the ETH Zurich took place in the Sitterwerk from March 16 to 20. The topic was stucco works. With reference to the plaster project in the Material Archive, Annette Spiro, Chair of the Department of Architecture and Construction, provided an in-depth analysis of stucco works as ornament and also examined their functions with respect to acoustics and light effects. Stucco is more than merely decoration; it also defines zones, and emphasizes and links structural components. The architecture students examined these tasks of stucco during the seminar week. The results can be viewed in a storage hall in the Sittertal by appointment until April 19. Objects and «bibliozines», which will also be exhibited in the Material Archive until April 19, provide insights into the seminar week.

Within the framework of the one-week course, a space concept with stucco works was developed and realized for a storage hall in the Sittertal. Besides formal criteria, criteria for the appearance and workmanship of stucco were also established; new basic rules were developed with the help of invited artists. Current technical means and unusual spatial requirements offer the potential for contemporary expressive possibilities – taking the essence of stucco into consideration. Material and handwork formed the starting situation for further development. The guidance of experienced masters plasterers facilitated the participants’ access to the material. The practical work made it possible for the students to also understand both the omnipresent visual criteria and the haptic and olfactory characteristics of stucco.

Findings and research material from the interdisciplinary exchange have been integrated into the collections of the Material Archive and Art Library in the form of the material samples and the «bibliozines» developed. The week concluded with the public opening at 6 pm on Friday, March 20.