Method & Content

The Fondation Braillard Architectes (FBA), its partners and collaborators are launching the second session of the international Transition Workshop. The Workshop aims at encouraging professional interaction and understanding of the scale and methods for the ecological transition of cities in the face of the climate emergency. 

The Transition Workshop 2021 proposes, in Masterclass mode, a real involvement in the reinvention of the Geneva agglomeration – one of the most advanced and innovative metropolises in the world. In collaboration with internationally renowned experts and regional policy makers, participants are invited to explore methods, tools and processes to accelerate the socio-ecological and technological transition of cities towards decarbonisation. 

This year’s Workshop is held in two parts: the first one is distance learning and offers a strong theoretical programme, the second one is entirely dedicated to group work in the field. The modules can be taken separately. 



The transition is now. 

Cities, territories and their citizens are committed to a change in lifestyles, production, mobility and communication. 

Among them, architects, urban planners, administrators as well as businesses aspire to a new project for the 21st century. This new generation of motivated and well-trained professionals will act collectively as agents of change, to support and inspire the movement towards sustainable development in the urban world and its rural corollary. 

To support this professional and disciplinary transition, it becomes imperative to develop a new cycle of knowledge and know-how. This will have the effect of creating and/or accelerate ecological transition projects. Cities and territories are thus in the process of developing a virtuous circle in terms of space, society and aesthetics, based on scientific data, thus engaging the fight against global warming.  



The Transition Workshop creates an innovative educational framework to accelerate the transition of cities through a new generation of architects, designers and policy makers. 

  • The Transition Workshop is conceived within the framework of The Eco-Century Project® which calls for a radical renewal of the principles, methods, theories and tools of urban planning to address the ecological imperative. 
  • The Transition Workshop is aligned with the sustainable development goals promoted by the United Nations. 
  • Greater Geneva is an ideal setting for the study of environmental action through architectural, urban and landscape design.
  • The programme is developed in the excellent educational context of Lake Geneva and Switzerland. 
  • A network of important public and private partners actively supports the Workshop. 

The Transition Workshop is designed as a learning experience for cross-scalar strategies, focused on stakeholder cooperation and concrete results, at the cutting edge of design, technology and collective action.


The Transition workshop offers a new educational framework to accelerate the transition of cities through projects. 

This interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to: 

– Raise awareness of sustainable development among professionals and future professionals in the city. 

– Develop and transmit design tools and methods for climate resilient cities and buildings. 

– Equip a new generation of professionals with the skills to build, rehabilitate, preserve and reuse while protecting the environment. 


The challenge is global – and the action agendas are local, in the here and now. We focus on a site in central Geneva, as means to engage the future of the Greater Geneva and its wider region. We work within the practical framework of the urban area and embrace all major regional agents, stakeholders and constituent institutions. We do it so reflectively, and impart methods to be applied in any real setting, circumstances and environment. 



The Transition Workshop 2021 offers: 

  • to Master students: a concise introduction to the issues and dimensions of ecological transition by design; 
  • doctoral students: a cross-disciplinary overview to data and tools for the analysis of climate emergencies in the built environment; 
  • to young professionals: new tools for the design of the ecological transition at all scales; 
  • to administrators: strategic foresight and auditing frameworks for the zero carbon trajectories of cities. 



This year, the workshop is being held in two stages: the first in distance and offering a sustained theoretical program, the second being entirely devoted to group work in the field.  

1. Theoretical part, in distance (June 1 – July 9)

The Transition Workshop aims to create a community of skills and spirit. All courses and seminars are organized to be delivered in distance, with the online presence of all participants. If, however, calendar conflicts prevent the follow-up, the FBA may transmit the content to the participants concerned on a deferred basis. 

2. Practical part, on the field (July 12 – 23)

Through case studies in the Canton of Geneva and its international environment, we actively respond to the need for responsible, rapid and informed action to transform buildings and cities into sober, resilient and bio-diversified places, for life, solidarity and creativity. Design and construction methods are radically revisited in an open, collaborative and visionary way, well in the spirit of the Geneva framework. 



The key to our working method is a structural association of space and time. If architecture was born on the scale of the object, the 19th century opened up to the scale of the city and the region. In turn, the 21st century opens up the horizon of system and process. These three characteristics of the ecological transition design will be approached in a strategic prospective by means of reverse planning (or back-casting) to give some chances to the countdown imposed by the zero-net carbon engagement of our urban societies on the horizon of 2050. In addition to this, we also work by scenario planning, forecasting, horizon scanning, contingency planning, crisis simulation and trend analysis. 



Actors and local communities are making their study cases and knowledge available as impulses to go further towards the decarbonisation of our built framework in terms of: 

  • Construction methods and materials 
  • Landscape and biodiversity management 
  • Production/consumption of energy and other resources 
  • Infrastructure and mobility models 
  • Urban lifestyles: work, leisure, production, consumption 
  • Urban agriculture, permaculture and gardening 
  • Citizen participation 



Transition contents: 

  • Theories and architectural, urban and landscape project frameworks 
  • Environment and resources management 
  • Economy and cities development 
  • Anthropology and habitat sociology 

The scales of the ecological transition project: 

  • Buildings and neighbourhoods 
  • Landscapes and metropolitan regions 




This year, the place proposed by the Canton of Geneva for the group work is located in Vernier, in the industrial perimeter of the tanks.







Classes and workshops will take place in the SIG spaces.

SIG locaux, Genève