we have a history

zURBS was founded in the late 2011 in Zürich, by Cecilie, Sabeth and Sander, who know each other from an international and interdisciplinary master programme in Urban Studies (4cities). During this programme they have lived in four different European cities (Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen and Madrid) where they have worked in a multinational and -disciplinary team analyzing urban society and space, describing and presenting problems, as well as proposing solutions and designing alternatives. Towards the end of their study it became clear to them that the real alternative was yet to be made. The dedicated three joined forces and, based on their common urban background as well as their different prior studies in architecture, theatre arts and political science, the (z)URBS-concept was born.

At zURBS very first project “Züri Nochmal Anders” the three urbanists invited artist and architect Nina Lund Westerdahl to contribute to the exhibition. With her slightly different approach to the city, she instantly became a member of the group, and has been so ever since.

It was by hazard, that Christa and Sabeth met each other in the spring 2012: Christa, with a solid long-lived association with loyal members but no current projects; Sabeth, with many soon-to-be-developed ideas and a hard-working team, but in loose structures. However, both having the same goal: social-artistic projects in the urban realm. Who had proposed to whom is not clear anymore. Fact is: The association “zwei mal zwei” and the urban laboratory zURBS got married on 27th of June 2012! The resulting association was called zURBS, once again, and its board was a mix of old “zwei mal zwei” women and new zURBS women. The board was changing again after that, but kept being a women-only board.

In spring 2016, zURBS and their befriended association Nextzürich took over a 2-year-lease and responsibility for a pavillion in Zürich’s city centre, with the aim to turn it into an urban lab and platform. For practical reasons, the association re-structured itself once again, and in November 2016 it renamed itself to be called “Pavilleon”. The association’s structure was more fitting to focus on a project in Zürich only and be the frame for mostly organizational and legal matters. The zURBS core group however, still being actively producing events, action, content and knowledge, is still closely connected with the project Pavilleon, but is freely floating between Berlin, London and Zürich, not as an association with members and accounts and structures, but as a research and art-collective, once again.

This active core-team – btw – was growing and shrinking over the past years.
And these are the people who we have had the joy to work with:

Sander Van Parijs, political scientist, belgian, today involved at gURBS

Laura Bruns, urban event designer, german, initiator of StadtstattStrand

Jean-Baptiste Beovardi, architect / artist, french

Christoph Goetschi, swiss

Lara Guth, german