ETH Participants

Alessio Guffanti

guffanti_photo My name is Alessio Guffanti and I am an 8th semester  civil engineering student. I come from Giubiasco  (Ticino) where I lived with my parents, a brother, and  a sister until I started my studies at the Swiss Federal  Institute of Technology. Since then, I have moved to  Zürich in a shared apartment.

As engineer, my fields of specialization are “Traffic Systems” and “Construction and Infrastructure Management”. So far, I attended mostly classes related to private transportation and urban development and sustainability, which I find very interesting but, unfortunately, somehow undervalued from most civil engineers.

I am very excited about this summer school in Barranquilla: a trans-disciplinary collaborative research where students with different backgrounds and from different fields of specialization work together on the development of solutions for real issues. The work done will possibly influence decision makers in Colombia.

My expectations for this project are to acquire some expertise in planning sustainable urban related solutions and to develop solutions in a complex, real-life context with local practitioners and stakeholders.

Aline Mikal Mueller 

mueller_mikal_photoBefore starting the master program «Spatial Development and Infrastructure Systems» at the ETH I did an internship in an urban and regional planning office in Zurich. The internship provided me an insight in different kinds of spatial conflicts and problems urban and regional planners are facing in our culture area and the possible approaches to solve these problems. When I started the master program I had the great chance to keep my position part time and put what I have learned in the lectures into practice.

In this summer school I see a unique chance to experience how urban problems and the interaction of sustainable urban and infrastructure development are faced in a different sociocultural context. I am convinced that the exchange with local students and the multidisciplinarity of the program offers a highly valuable possibility to broaden one’s horizon. My interest in intercultural cooperation, especially in a Latin American context, is evidenced not only by my bachelor degree in geography but also by the fact that I chose Venezuela for my student exchange experience during high school. I am confident that I will bring a high level of energy and enthusiasm to this program.

David Mueller

IMüller_photo am a 23 years old environmental scientist and finished my Bachelor at ETHZ this spring. Till June I was serving my last three months of the civil service at the Swiss Foundation of Landscape Protection in Bern. There I dealt with several environmental issues of spatial planning on a more applied level. For example I have written an article about 􀀃mountain bike infrastructure and landscape protection. In autumn I will begin with the environmental sciences master courses at ETH. I have chosen this study field because it is an especially interdisciplinary program and allows for example to combine natural sciences with the politics or socio‐economic factors. In the summer school in Barranquilla, I hope to have the chance to deal with questions where such interdisciplinary thinking needs to be applied in order to find optimal solutions and where each member of the group can bring in its specific knowledge.

Denise Kouniaki 


Dionysia Kouniaki was born in Athens, Greece, in 1989. In 2014 she earned her Master in Architecture from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). During the academic year 2011- 2012 she studied as an exchange student in the Escuela Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (ETSAM). This year she is attending the MAS in Urban Design at the ETH. The previous months she conducted research on Cairo, Egypt, focusing on development strategies to improve living conditions in the informally developed areas and her project will be exhibited in the Egypt Urban Forum taking place in Cairo on the 14th of June 2015. She is currently living in Zurich taking part in architectural competitions while looking for the opportunity to pursue a career in Architecture in Switzerland. She is interested in the creation of future urban scenarios towards a more sustainable design and this workshop would be an ideal opportunity to conduct field research and explore the multidimensional character of the public space in a tropic environment.

Henry Kulla 

Ikulla_photo am quite an exotic mixture: I’m half German, half English, was born in Japan and grew up in the Wallis. I did my Matura in the Wallis, later became a Swiss citizen and did my military service as a Military Police Grenadier in Aarau. I then started studying Environmental Science at the ETH Zurich part-time, so I had enough time to earn a living and follow my passion as a Strength & Conditioning Coach and pursue my ambitions as a competitive Crossfit Athlete. Sport has always been a major component of my life and I have never been able to do a recreational sport – it always had to be competitive. I am currently enrolled in the Major Human Environment Systems at the ETH Zurich, coach a lot and compete as a Crossfit athlete at an international level.

The summer school in Barranquilla looks like an amazing opportunity to work on a creative project with students from other departments and in a completely different setting: Colombia. I hope to learn how to work collaboratively with people from other departments and nationalities in a creative and fun environment!

Laura Saputelli 

saputelli_photoMotivated from the idea of an interdisciplinary approach in order to develop a variety of possible solutions to a real-live and complex issue, I am highly interested to contribute to an applied approach of sustainable development of an urban area. Trying to combine scientific knowledge with creative attributes and linking it as a whole to the raising request of sustainability (as a far-reaching term), highly fascinates me.

This summer school will not only give a chance on how to gain a large scale overview on facing potential issues concerning environmental aspects. But also give insights and promote the consequent development of an approach, of how to implement possible solutions, involving concerned stakeholders and aiming for sustainability. In order to reach that aim, requisites for sustainable development need to be determined on a multi-layered setting and potential challenges and obstacles identified.

I am charmed with the idea that we would get the opportunity to interact with local practitioners to not only obtain skills for international collaboration, but also to apply insights to a real-case urban challenge in an inter-disciplinary team.

Maria Kouvari 

2_Maria Kouvari_photoMy goal in life is to constantly learn new things and share my knowledge. I travel a lot aiming to meet new people, experience new situations and collect moments. I am a Greek architect holding a Professional Degree in Architecture from University of Patras, Greece. Currently, I am participating in the post-graduate program MAS in Urban Design at ETH and my studies are concentrated on housing issues in Cairo in relation to the political economy. A basic concern of mine is interdisciplinarity in Architecture, in the sense of exact architectural responses to particular questions set by other disciplines and, also a search for the expansion of the limits of architecture in both its relations with other fields and its spatial expression, the creation of new conditions. I believe that the “Markets in the Tropics” Summer School will be a process of critical inquiry through co-operation and have the chance to approach architecture and design from multifold perspectives.

Maria Paula Celia 

celia_photoMy name is Maria Paula Celia, born in Barranquilla, Colombia. I am currently an architecture student at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. I am currently also a visiting student at ETH. I have come to realize that my interests are shaped by my experiences, meaning the more I experience the more I discover new affinities for specific things. As for my interest in the course, it comes from my current research of the internally displaced population in Colombia, more specifically in the transition that occurrs from their place of origin to the imposed site. This can be analyzed from the way the people adapt to imposed conditions, for example, informal working. This is where markets can play an important role, for they can be seen as transitional work spaces where rural activities are translated into an urban scenario. Nevertheless, it raises the question, how does the transition from rural to urban work?

Max Sieber 

sieber_photoMy Name is Max Sieber. I was born in 1989 in Lenzburg, Switzerland. Most of my childhood I spent in a small village in the region between Basel and Zurich. Since September 2010 I am studying civil engineering at the ETH Zürich. I am currently finishing the first year of my Master’s degree. Due to my studying I moved to Zurich in April 2013 and since then I am enjoying urban life. I expect from the program to get me an insight in an interdisciplinary not traditional civil engineering working environment. Maybe this experience will show me new perspectives for my future career. Also I consider this program as a great opportunity to get in touch with the Columbian way of life.

Melanie Imfeld 

imfeld_photo My name is Melanie and I will be starting my last master thesis in architecture next year.

I already attended a summer school in 2014 where we worked in an interdisciplinary and intercultural team. I was amazed by the creative solutions that can be developed in a team of people with different professional and cultural backgrounds and I am hoping we’ll be able to experience a similar thing this year in Barranquilla.

Apart from working in a team I look forward exploring a new city with this own logic and history. Observations of the built environment during my studies forced my to realize that the seemingly obvious truth sometimes had to be reconsidered and often isn’t to be found in academic theories. Also, Switzerland has been pretty cold these days…Some Colombian sun will do me good!

Runa Barbagelata 

Barbagelata_cvMy name is Runa and I’m an architecture student at ETH. I’m currently on my second master semester and I’m very happy about the possibility of expanding my architectural knowledge by working in an interdisciplinary team.

I’m originally from Peru and Chile where I lived until I was about 12 years old. Last year I went travelling in South America with some friends and visited the architectural university of Valparaiso in Chile. It was a very interesting and certainly enriching experience, seeing how different their approach to architecture was. I hope the collaboration with the students from Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla will be too.

I’m also very enthusiastic about Barranquilla and it’s specific context as one of the largest cities in Colombia. I think researching and debating about the Mercado Central will give us a unique insight in the urban development in Colombia.

Sergio Brawand 

Brawand_photoMy name is Sergio Brawand and I am 26 years old. I started my degree at ETH Zurich in September 2010 and finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering in August 2013. After that I spent four months travelling in South America. Before starting my Master’s Degree in September 2014 I did two internships in a civil engineering and a railway consulting company. Currently I am in my 2nd master semester, specialising in Transport Systems and Construction and Maintenance Management. I hope to learn a lot by working in a transdisciplinary group of students on a specific case. Further I hope to have a great time in Barranquilla and meet new people and get to know their culture.

Stefan Breit 

Stefan_photoFive years ago, I’ve started my studies of environmental sciences at the ETH Zurich. During the first years, I’ve realized that I’m not only interested in the nature itself, but also in how we humans deal with our surrounding. That’s the reason, why I focus on human-environment systems in my master’s. And because I’m convinced, that some of our current environmental problems can be better tackled by integrating knowledge of different disciplines, I like working together with people from different fields. For example, I did so during an internship in an architectural office, as a participant of a workshop about sustainable buildings or during my bachelor’s thesis together with students of interaction design from the local university of arts.

As the central market in Barranquilla influences the life of many, it is particularly interesting to get to know possible future scenarios of this area, and finally I would like to get a hands-on experience in a real-life context.

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