The NEWROPE Chair of Architecture and Urban Transformation is part of the department of Architecture of ETH Zürich and deals with the field of spatial design and social innovation, focusing both on innovative solutions and processes.

The NEWROPE Chair wants to engage in rediscovering Europe as inhabitable ground, and a shared space for all, in a world that is constantly changing. The rediscovering of this territory, both as a shared history and a common future, is what we call NEWROPE. It comes with an exploration of the large diversity of urban practices that inhabit and shape Europe.

The NEWROPE Chair applies and investigates the idea of Design in Dialogue, or the belief that the complexities of our time can only be tackled collectively, by developing transdisciplinary ideas and projects, linking spatial and strategic knowledge to other disciplines and urban practitioners, with a radical openness to learn from others.

The NEWROPE Chair provides education, conducts research and offers a mix of facilities and initiatives, including:


  • Panayotis Antoniadis
    Ecosystem Facilitator

    Panayotis has an interdisciplinary profile, which includes a background in the design and implementation of distributed systems (Computer Science Department, University of Crete), a PhD on the economics of peer-to-peer networks (Athens University of Economics and Business), a post-doc fellowship on federation policies (Pierre and Marie Curie University, currently Sorbonne Université, Paris), and transdisciplinary research on bridging the digital with the physical urban space (ETH Zurich). Panayotis is co-founder of the non-profit organization NetHood and the collective space L200.

  • Seppe De Blust
    Lead Action Research

    Seppe De Blust is sociologist and urban designer. After working in between politics and policy, he co-founded endeavour, an Antwerp based office for socio-spatial research. Seppe conducted his PhD research in Architecture at the KU Leuven with a strong focus on the position of critical spatial practitioners in processes of urban transformation. At the NEWROPE chair Seppe leads the action research on reflexive pedagogies, collective learning in action and intervention driven design.

  • Ellena Ehrl
    Studio Lead

    Ellena is an architect, publisher, editor and researcher based in Zurich. Before starting her independent practice with Tibor Bielicky in 2021, she had been working with Graber Pulver Architekten and Christ & Gantenbein since 2015. In 2020 she co-founded the architecture periodical Superposition, after being part of the editorial board of the architecture magazine Planphase where several of her essays and interviews have appeared. After graduating from Technical University Munich in 2014 with a Diploma degree, she co-edited the documentary film “Im Windschatten von Olympia“ as part of a research on the urban development of Munich in the 1960s and 70s, and she self-initiated a multi-disciplinary research on American architecture, urbanism and subculture and created the research platform Recording America. She is interested in investigating cultural and spacial transformations through architecture.

  • Lukas Fink
    Studio Lead

    Lukas Fink is an architect based in Zurich. He graduated with distinction from ETH Zürich with the speculative design project „The Beauty of the Cadastral Map“, which explores the forming power of the plot line and respectively of private property. Before joining Newrope in 2019, he worked in different offices and own collaborations in Zurich, Berlin and Brussels. Lukas is working as part of the Architekturgenossenschaft C/O and ANA on architectural projects, publications and on site actions and is trying to find out what an architectural practice can be today.

  • Michiel van lersel
    Program Lead

    Michiel works as an urbanist and curator working at the intersection of the arts, architecture, heritage and ecology and is Program Lead of the NEWROPE chair. He is focused on shaping and sharing the chair’s efforts to help create an architectural culture and design discours that are more responsive to the urgencies of our time. He is co-founder of Amsterdam-based cultural collective Non-fiction and research platform Failed Architecture and was a 2018-19 Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He is one of the editors of Rewriting Architecture, a publication that provides 10+1 actions for a more adaptive architecture, which appeared in the fall of 2020.

  • Freek Persyn

    Freek Persyn is born in 1974 in Belgium and lives and works in Brussels. He is married to Sotiria Kornaropoulou and father of three children: Polly, Kimon and Zoé. In 1998, he co-founded the office 51N4E, a spatial design practice focused on urban and social transformation. 51N4E works on a wide range of scales, from strategy to realization, and designs the built environment with an affinity for both the physical and the invisible dimensions of space. The work of 51N4E received the most attention for its adaptive reuse projects in Central Europe and for its intense engagement with Albania. Since 2019, Freek Persyn combines his partnership at 51N4E with the professorship of Architecture and Urban Transformation at the ETH Zürich.

  • Charlotte Schaeben
    Studio Lead

    Charlotte Schaeben studied Architecture at ETH Zurich and UPC Barcelona. In her self-defined Master thesis, she portrayed the Zone Franche (Free Economic Zone) of the Pays de Gex and developed a concept for the cross-border metropolitan region of Geneva based on the integrative potential of open spaces. She has a specific interest in photography and mapping, the cognitive response to spatial environments, and a cross-scale approach to situate architectural projects within their historically grown context of regional, cross-border and societal development. She joined the chair in summer 2019.

  • Ina Valkanova
    Doctoral Fellow

    Ina Valkanova is a doctoral fellow of the I-LUS program. Her research explores the possibilities for collaborative transformation of contemporary industrial landscapes. From 2017 until 20019 she was the coordinator for investment and innovation of the long-term development strategy of the city of Sofia, Bulgaria – Vision for Sofia. She studied and worked in Germany, Portugal and Spain.

  • Juan Barcia Mas
    Studio Lead

    Juan Barcia Mas (Madrid, 1995) is an architect, writer and curator. He studied architecture at TU Munich, TU Delft and ETH Zurich. After graduating, he has been working as an architect, curator and artist. His recent curatorial and artistic practice includes the exhibition Cabin Crew at gta exhibitions (2022), Sexkino Roland, Nexpo (2022) and Seven Questions at the Chair of Jan de Vylder (2023). In collaboration with Shen He, he has exhibited in the Zürich Biennale at Kunsthalle Zürich and taught at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). He is also engaged in the art and architecture discourse by contributing regularly to different magazines, such as Cartha, PW Magazine and Lila Strauss.

Former Team Members: Falma Fshazi, Evelyne Gordon, Ben Pohl
Student Assistants:
Former Student Assistants: Shriya Chaudry, Pierre Musy, Ella Esslinger, Jeremy Waterfield ,Joel Berger, Moritz Köhler, Meghan Rolvien

Designed and art-directed by OK-RM
(Rory McGrath, Oliver Knight, and Anton Westbom Weflö)
Photography Max Creasy
Programming Daniel Hirunrusme

The Design in Dialogue Lab is based at the ETH ONA building in Oerlikon, in the northern part of the city of Zürich. The ONA building is home to parts of the Department of Architecture D-ARCH at ETH Zürich. Find more information about the department and directions to the building via the website of ETH. If you want to visit, please let us know. You are more than welcome to visit us.

The Chair of Architecture & Urban Transformation is part of the Institute of Landscape and Urban Studies (LUS) and member of the NSL (Netzwerk Stadt und Landschaft or Network City and Landscape).


NEWROPE wants to use the wisdom of many, not only the intelligence of a few. Please contact us if you have ideas for a possible collaboration or have further questions regarding the studio, our research or programme

NEWROPE, The Design in Dialogue Lab, Chair of Architecture & Urban Transformation, ETH Zürich, Neunbrunnenstrasse 50, ONA J25, CH-8093 Zürich

Further enquiries
+41 44 633 29 77

For applications please visit