Architecture for Refugees
Architecture for Refugees Switzerland is an association based in Zurich that works for the inclusion and social participation of refugees. They want to offer newcomers and the Swiss population a space to get to know each other better, to exchange ideas, to meet each other and finally to make friends and acquaintances. Their guiding principle is “shelter is not enough”, which means that one should not only look at the individual housing situation, but also at the public spaces, the neighborhood and where the exchange between refugees and the welcoming society can take place. Architecture for Refugees Switzerland’s goal is to create a “space of encounter”. They work on this goal through a variety of formats: Discussion rounds, festivals, building projects, exhibitions, city walks, workshops, campaigns and research projects. Architecture for Refugees Switzerland is composed of over 50 members.
Tobias was born and raised in 1992 in the agglomeration of Bern/Switzerland. Through his parents, he started getting involved with politics and volunteering at a young age. In 2012, he moved to Zurich to study architecture at ETH, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, which he successfully completed in 2019. Since 2018, he has been part of AfR CH, where he has co-developed and implemented several collective building projects. He understands architecture as the art of creating space, however temporary that space may appear. He is also involved in numerous civil society initiatives and collectives, such as the current interim use of the Alte Zentralwäscherei in Zurich.
Anne was born in Heidelberg/Germany in 1992 and studied architecture in Aachen, Bangkok and Lausanne. In August 2019, she graduated with a Master of Science in Aachen. As an expert in social architecture and networking, she worked at kitev in Oberhausen (D) and is also involved in the association Architecture For Refugees Switzerland. During her work in Oberhausen, Anne recognized many similarities between the two non-profit associations and initiated a cross-national partnership. Since May 2021, Anne is returned to Switzerland to work as an architect at the Baubüro in situ. She continues to be involved in both associations.
Nadine has been living in Zurich since June 2010. She was born and raised in Germany. She has been involved with Architecture for Refugees SWITZERLAND since 2018. She is part of the “Stammtisch” team that organizes the monthly meeting, deals with the future of the association in the strategy team and is actively involved in the research project IMA. In her spare time, Nadine enjoys art and culture as well as spending time at and on Lake Zurich. Traveling and cooking are her passions. Nadine studied architecture in Darmstadt and Florence and has gained professional experience in Germany, Switzerland and the USA.
Susanne moved to Switzerland in 2011 from Germany. She has been an active member of Architecture for Refugees SWITZERLAND since 2018. In her free time she loves to be on the way with AfR CH, exploring the urban space with friends or enjoy her time by herself listening to audiobooks and consuming other cultural stuff. Susanne completed her diploma in architecture at Darmstadt, afterwards an MAS in history and theory of architecture in Zurich. Despite the desire to keep on studying you can find her with a lot of euphoria in architectural practice.
Matthias was born in 1987 and raised in Interlaken. In 2007 he moved to Zurich to study architecture at the ETH. After his studies - and his exchanges in Berlin and Rome - he started engaging himself in social and ecological movements. Since 2018, he’s an active member of AfR CH and has been co-developing different collective building projects. In his free time you’ll either find him ski-touring with friends in the mountains or transporting too big loads on his bike-trailer, the polyroly, all around Zurich.
Margherita was born in Italy in 1995 and studied architecture in Venice, Porto and Saõ Paulo. She graduated in March 2020 with a thesis about the city of Amsterdam. Since September 2020, she has been living in Zurich, where she has been working as an architect. The many experiences she has had made her a very open-minded person and allowed her to discover new cultures and use of space. She is particularly interested in participatory processes and how to make cities more socially inclusive. For this reason, she is currently attending a Master in Urban Regeneration and Social Inclusion at the University of Venice. She has recently started to collaborate with the Architecture for Refugees CH organization to be active on the Swiss scene.
Ivo was born in Zurich in 1968 and his parents were well integrated as children of migrants. Despite the loss of culture through integration, he is still a perceived South-West European. He has designed, developed, planned and executed various architectural projects as a project manager. In November 2012, a brutal assault with near fatal consequences and permanent brain trauma injuries almost took him out of life and led to job & identity loss. Creativity, water and two-wheelers without motors are his passions and he shows a willingness to help people in need, volunteering at Gassenarbeit or Essen für Alle, among others. Since 2019, he has also been involved with Architecture for Refugees SWITZERLAND.