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Name: Daia Paco Stutz Steppacher

MLAUD 2013

Hometown: Zurich, Switzerland

Undergraduate school/major: University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil / landscape architecture

What was your work experience/background before coming to the GSD?

2 years of working experience as a landscape architect.

Why did you decide to pursue urban design as a career?

To gain a more comprehensive understanding of urban processes and the interrelations between design, politics, economy, ecology, and sociology.                    

What made you decide to come to the GSD?

Besides the international setting and the generally strong position of landscape architecture in the school, it was the fact that this is the only school that offers a landscape/urban design program (MLAUD).

What are your main interests in urban design?

Radically subjective designs and new positions in the face of global urbanization trends and the generally changing role of landscape.

Are you writing a thesis? What is your topic and why did you choose it?

Yes. My Thesis seeks to investigate current trends, setbacks, and possibilities of underground urbanization and its impact on the spatial, political and social landscape. The investigation focuses on Switzerland as a case study of particular relevance in the European context.

What has been the most surprising aspect of the GSD?

Even though there are very clear and strong positions that dominate the school's philosophy (e.g. ecological urbanism), there are lots of different opinions and plenty of niches to be explored. 

What has been your favorite class or project? Why?

One of my favorite courses has been Theories of Landscape as Urbanism, Landscape as Infrastructure. It provides a fundamentally new approach and understanding of urban design and the role of landscape, as it challenges old dogmas and concepts of urbanization patterns.

What did you do over the summer? How did that add to your education and goals?

I've been working in my former office to prepare a GSD Fall Option Studio, which will take the London Lower Lea Valley as it perimeter. Through that, I got a TA-position and the chance to pursue h research on current urban problematics and potentials in East-London.

What are your career ambitions?

I would love to work on international urban design projects throughout different scales in an interdisciplinary design and planning office as well as pursuing a teaching career.

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