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An interdisciplinary competition to enhance complex holistic thinking in a sustainable context | 2011 | a semester

Coordinator: ETH Zürich, International Institutional Affairs

About: Building the Tower of Babylon – what on Earth is sustainability? a Student competition of the Global Alliance of Technological Universities’ as an Elective Course at the Assistant Chair of Building Structure at the Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich

We all share a living room, our Earth, which we help to shape, investigate and build. We are all comfortable in our own territory. We are happy to develop it, to discover new things, to achieve something unique and above all to understand it better. In the process of searching, discovering and creating we are all aware that no one can understand everything. To achieve global understanding we need to work together. We can place our area of specialty in a broader context by interacting and being inspired by others. This applies to people all over the world, globally as well as regionally and is unaffected by race, gender, education level, religion and politics. We are all facing a problem – our living room is running out of space. The last century has produced more natural disasters than ever before. And we are all aware that it can’t go on like this. Buildings for example still consume 45 % of the world’s energy and produce a high % of greenhouse gas emissions, and this is simply not good enough. What does a technology based solution to climate change mean to us and our society? How high do we want to aim? What does sustainability mean for our lives? Can we manage to organise ourselves, to unite our thinking and to use our creativity to reach a joint solution?

The Aim: The «Tower of Babylon» competition sets itself apart from the concept of sustainability in today’s global context and is focusing on inspiration, networking and collaboration to achieve a symbol for a region, a country, a city and its technical university.

The Challenge: At seven universities across the different continents and encompassing different cultures, students are given the same task at the same time: to build a tower using only local materials, their knowhow and their hands. The focus will be on the development of creativity, inventiveness and competitive spirit. Let the thinkers of the next generation think!

You can find our report here.

Website: http://www.towerofbabylon.ethz.ch/