Repair, Maintenance and Urban Assemblage (2014-2016)

This project highlights repair and maintenance as qualities of infrastructures and the built environment. Whilst current efforts to increase density of cities raise hope for the next urban revolution, repair and maintenance become key features of 21st century urban development. The people involved in this project are architects, engineers but first and foremost craftspeople, from plumbers to builders, gardeners, electricians – and not least the innumerable technicians, concierges, care takers and cleaning crews. Using the concept of ‘urban assemblages’ (Farìas/Bender 2010) as a starting point, the project develops a relational theory of the built environment.

What does repair work do to societies and cities? Is it just about repairing or replacing defective parts? Or do repair and maintenance have creative potential, and could thereby lead to sustainable urban development, because what is already built keeps us working on it? The project seeks to answer these and other questions.


2014 bis 2016; leadIgnaz Strebel, Dietmar Eberle; collaboration: Alain BovetMarie-Anne Lerjen; funding: Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF


Book publication: Hauswartung. Für Bauten und Bewohnerschaft, Ed. Birkhäuser, Basel, 128 pages, German, published 2015 – titel translates as: Building Care. For Buildings and Inhabitants