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Groundscape Architecture Lab. Carpark Futures

Developing architectural and design knowledge for the urban underground.

Groundscape Architecture Lab. Carpark Futures

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archived.
Starts Nov 1
Estimated 6 weeks
4–6 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

About this course

Skip About this course

‘Groundscape’ is a new word coined by architect Dominique Perrault to integrate underground spaces into architecture knowledge.

The general focus of this course is to provide students with underground design strategies that respond to contemporary urban challenges. Indeed, The underground of cities has become one of the most innovative and radical terrains of experimentation for future urban development by providing much needed spaces capable of optimizing existing city centers, by making them more resilient, responsible, durable and beautiful.

In this course, students will learn a variety of architectural strategies that engage with the urban underground and will produce a design project on a given underground site.

This 2021 edition of the course will invite candidates to focus specifically on the urgent question of underground parking lots, which are at the heart of the current transformation of mobility, logistics and energy.

In addition to the course, students are invited to participate in the open design competition Carpark Futures : Opportunities in the Underground whose Final Jury will take place in March 2022.

This edition of the MOOC Groundscape is done in collaboration with Indigo Group, world leader in parking solutions, as a continuation of their ongoing work with DPA available here :

At a glance

  • Institution: EPFLx
  • Subject: Architecture
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:

    Open to all.

    Basic Architecture / Design knowledge recommended, especially for representation.

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn

Engage with the architectural potential of the urban underground.

Learn new design strategies

Experiment with the notion of ‘Deep Urbanism’

Prepare for your participation in the open competition Carpark Futures : Opportunities in the Underground.

The course is divided into two parts:

The Groundscape Architecture Design Lab is structured along a series of 5 episodes divided into different Acts, including keystone Expertise visits, diverse Experiences, and Groundscape Talk lectures.

In parallel to the talks and visits you will participate in the Carpark Futures Design Studio , a design oriented studio where you will develop your own personal Groundscape project.


Episode 1: The Groundscape Manifest

Introduction to basic concepts related to the notion of Groundscape such as Void, Light, Geography, Landscape, Heritage, Depth, Density, Network, etc…

Episode 2: Conquests

Study of Groundscape as a tool for the creation of new territories through the disappearance of architecture.

Episode 3: Geography

Study of Groundscape as the blending in of landscape and architecture. We will underline the capacity of the underground territory to establish complex networks and links with apparently simple actions.

Episode 4: Legacy

Study of Groundscape as an aesthetic and respectful urban solution in heritage sensible sites. We will dig into the ground to establish the foundations of Groundscape architecture

Episode 5: Into the Lab

An invitation to look inside unheard of design methods specifically oriented towards subterranean territories.


The Carpark Futures Design Studio is a 5-step studio where you will develop your own project in a given site. By participating in the studio you will automatically take part in the open design competition Carpark Futures: Opportunities in the Underground.

The theme Carpark Futures is a call to reinvent the underground parking of the future. It is clear that tomorrow’s car park will no longer be a simple inert storage space, but that it will be transformed to integrate changes in mobility by becoming a place at the service of users and vehicles. Students will be asked to study the possible evolutions of this particular typology of space, in response to changes in mobility, as well as in uses and lifestyles.

Carpark Futures Design Studio 0: Preamble

Preamble is an initiation exercise where you will explore first hand the true challenges in mobility in your own city.

Carpark Futures Design Studio 1: Fictions

Fictions is a kick-off challenge to help you unlock the great potential of a given site by dealing with concepts such as Descent and Urban Continuity

Carpark Futures Design Studio 2: Atmospheres

In Atmospheres you will explore the unexpected interior possibilities of your project by working with Light, Void, and Air

Carpark Futures Design Studio 3: Layers

In Layers you will develop a Groundsdcape floor plan through by establishing rich underground Links and Connections

Carpark Futures Design Studio 4: Roots

In Roots you will develop a Groundscape section through the creation of a Porous and Permeable structure.

Carpark Futures Design Studio 5: Devices

In the final exercise of the course you will put together your previous work in such a way that your project truly becomes a Groundscape Device.


By completing the five assignments of the Caprark Futures Design Studio you will automatically be eligible to participate in the open design competition Carpark Futures: Opportunities in the Underground.

About the instructors

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