January 2021, Manor Lessons
Dear friends of laba
It is a great pleasure to offer you laba’s latest and final publication. In one way or another you have contributed to this publication, or to the inception of laba and its ongoing work over the years.
Manor Lessons – Commons Revisited was the last of our cycle of annual studios called Environmental Objects. Our research on Environmental Objects was a mirror and a subversion of this opposition—the environment as a space that surrounds, encloses, and encircles; the object as a thing that limits a place and a point of view. In questioning this dynamic of separation, we imagined a discipline that amplifies its context, attunes to it, and renders it conscious. We aimed at researching environmental aesthetics in architecture with a focus on modes of ecological and socio-economical contextualism.
Through this lens we turned our attention to the south west of England, where we attempted a new and critical reading of the distribution, ownership, and use of once common resources. This especially so on an island where the finite nature of resources is felt more keenly, and which has experienced a long history of privatisation stemming from enclosure.
Manor Lessons looks at how the manor house can be used as a testing ground to reassess Britain’s complex and ongoing relationship with the countryside. As the most rural region of one of the more densely populated countries in Europe, the south west of England reflects all the absurdities of a globalized country under pressure, not only to develop its economy and infrastructure, but simultaneously to support and protect its environment.
The publication asks what lessons can be learned from the multi-layered history of the Manorial System, whose forgotten feudalistic origins were once rooted in the idea of the land, not as private property but as common ground.
We hope you will enjoy reading our last publication and thank you for your contribution to Manor Lessons or to the work of laba over the past 16 years. 2020 was an extraordinary year and so was the work on our last teaching and research project. We are very happy that nevertheless we managed to undertake a ten day field trip to the south west of England and to finalize the publication before the closure of my chair at the end of January this year.
But the very last action, the sending of the publication, we had to leave to our publisher Park Books to whom we are very grateful for this service but moreover for their great support over the years which was essential for the dissemination of laba’s work.
Basel, January 2021, Prof. Harry Gugger
November 2020, start of the Birseckstrasse neighbourhood planning process
The public participation procedure according to
§ Section 7 of the Spatial Planning and Building Act will take place from 27 November 2020 to 4 January 2021. After the conclusion of the public participation procedure and the drafting of the participation report, a municipal assembly will be held to decide on the neighbourhood plan.
October 2020, The Birsfelden Centre district plan is in the involvement phase
Until 2 November 2020 interested building right holders can apply for 1-3 of the 13 plots put out to tender.
Information on the district plan and application documents at
September 2020, Münchenstein says yes to the new Spenglerpark district plan!
The Spenglerpark district planning is an important element of Münchensteiner area development. With a 58.41% majority in favour, the population approved the planning in today's referendum vote, thus confirming the decision of the local assembly. Accordingly, the large-scale project can now be continued with the public tender procedure.