Barents Lessons

Barents Lessons

Teaching and Research in Architecture

The results of a research project in the Barents Sea region are presented here in graphics and maps designed specially for this book, plans, images, and several short essays. The natural resources, climatic conditions, and economic, urban-development, and architectural potential of this extreme but geostrategically crucial area were all included in the analysis.




Edited by Harry Gugger, Nancy Couling, Aurélie Blanchard

1st edition

, 2012

Text in English only

Paperback with folded map as dust jacket

156 pages, 99 color and 91 b/w illustrations, 170 graphics, plans and maps

23 x 31 cm

ISBN 978-3-906027-17-3

In cooperation with Laboratory Basel (laba), EPFL


Barents Lessons gives an insight into an architectural research project at Laboratory Basel (laba), a satellite studio affiliated to the Ecole Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne (EPFL) in Basel, Switzerland. The project focused on the remote and geographically extreme, yet resource-rich and therefore geo-strategically crucial Barents Sea region. Starting with the thesis that the ocean is an urbanised territory, the participants carried-out a one-year investigation, moving from the territorial to the architectural scale over two terms. The task was to analyse the region from a distance, aligning the critical issues in the Barents Sea with a global picture, and to carry out in-depth local field-work. As a synthesis of the knowledge and experience gained, concrete architectural projects for various purposes (residential, science and technology, industrial, transport, leisure etc.) were designed.

Barents Lessons presents the entire project in three parts, reflecting the methodology applied. The book is illustrated throughout with numerous graphics and maps especially developed for the publication, with colour photographs and plans.


Named one of Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2012.

Named one of the Most Beautiful German Books 2013.

Design by Ludovic Balland Typography Cabinet.


Other volumes in the Teaching and Reserach in Architecture series:

Swiss Lessons (out of print)

Icelandic Lessons (out of print)

Venice Lessons

Israel Lessons

Portugal Lessons

Fez Lessons

Manor Lessons

Autoren & Herausgeber

Aurélie Blanchard

 has been working with Herzog & de Meuron 2007–12 and founded her own studio in 2012. She also has been a teaching assistant at laba since 2011.

Nancy Couling

 is an architect and has been a research assistant at laba since 2010.

Harry Gugger

 is an architect and a Professor at Ecole Polytéchnique Fédérale de Lausanne's (EPFL) School of Architecture since 2005. He is head of EPFL's Basel-based satellite studio Laboratory Basel (laba).


«With its infographics, sketches and fold-out maps, Barents Lessons is not just a piece of research documentation, it is also an impressive account of experiences that show what teaching and learning are all about.» Anja Neidhardt, form. The Making of Design, Jan./Febr. 2013


«The context is compelling, the work coherent and the presentation a textbook example of how to present research.» James Pallister, Architects’ Journal, Febr. 2013