Building identities- construction of identities through spatial production on example of the concept stage of the Swiss National Exhibition Expo2027

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Type and Duration

PhD-Thesis, September 2014 until October 2018 (finished)


Institute of Architecture and Planning

Main Research

Sustainable Planning and Construction

Field of Research

Architectural Design Theory


International homogenisation in architectural expression leads to an increasing assimilation of built architecture around the world. Counter movements like the Critical Regionalism require spatial differentiation and articulation of individual building cultures. Concepts like "Heimat", affiliation and identity are picked up as central topic for world- and national exhibitions like the IBA, the EXPO, or the architectural biennale. Through those events architecture is exploited to mediate a theme, an image, or a mind-set, or to create affiliation - as well as to get in touch with their own identities. Architecture is limited in this case not only to the physical, but also includes the social and mental spatial production. This should be examined more closely by this work.

Through a process-guidance during the concept competition of the Swiss Expo2027 for Eastern Switzerland and the examination of the involved planners of the Expo.02 and the Expo2027 this dissertation firstly investigates how physical, social, and mental spatial production contributes to the construction of identities in the context of a national exhibition.

The dissertation is created within the framework of the doctoral programme at the University of Liechtenstein at the Competence Centre Architecture and Visual Culture with Professor Peter A. Staub.

Reference to Liechtenstein

The upcoming Swiss National Exhibition Expo2027 is discharged from the three eastern Swiss cantons Thurgau, St. Gallen and Appenzell Ausserrhoden. The objective is, to take effect across national borders, and thus involve the northern region of Lake Constance in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg as well as the eastern Alpine Rhine Valley in Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein. The findings, such as how physical, social, and mental spatial production contributes to the construction of identities in the context of the Expo2027, can thus make a valuable contribution to Liechtenstein.


Architectural mediation, Swiss National Exhibition, Construction of identities, Spatial production


  • Kaps, V. (2015). Expo2027. Bauwelt 39.2015, S. 8-11.

  • Kaps, V. (2015). Über die Aneignung von Raum. In USM U. Schärer Söhne GmbH (Hg.) (Ed.), Personalities. Ostfildern: Hantje Cantz Verlag.

  • Kaps, V. (2017). Lebensstil Kalkbreite: Gebaute Nachhaltigkeit als identitätsstiftendes Merkmal am Beispiel des Wohn- und Gewerbebaus Kalkbreite in Zürich. Paper presented at the Regenerative Räume. Leitbilder und Praktiken nachhaltiger Raumentwicklung, München.

  • Kaps, V. (2014). Baukulturelle Instrumente zur Förderung der Kreativwirtschaft am Beispiel der Europäischen Initiative Kulturhauptstadt. Paper presented at the Dokonara 2014, Stein Egerta, Schaan und Universität Liechtenstein.