The Grand Challengers Podcast Episode #2

Cohabitation and close encounters with myths in urban design

Guest: Scott Lloyd

January 17th, 2023


“Most people are creative if you give them a chance”

In the face of an unpredictable future, we are all called upon each and every day to think of out-of-the box ways to tackle challenges to our environment, wellbeing or what to do when that fox shows up at your bedside demanding breakfast.

My guest today is Scott Lloyd, an architect and founding member of TEN, an architecture research group based in Zurich Switzerland. Scott has worked across the globe on projects around the theme of rapid urbanisation and alternative housing including countries like Switzerland, China, Australia, Nepal and South Africa. His work has been widely featured at various international architectural exhibitions.

Today on the show, we discuss the trending topic of ‘cohabitation’ and the role of humans in cities and the broader landscape. We uncover Scott’s penchant for myths and experimentation both in and out of the design studio and hear his take on the future of architecture and design.


Scott Lloyd is an architect and researcher based in Zurich. He holds a Masters Degree in architecture from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) where, from 2012 – 2019, he was engaged in design research on emerging themes in architecture and the global city with the Urban-Think Tank. With the group, he coordinated-architect for a multi-disciplinary design research and implementation project for alternative housing prototypes and upgrade methodologies in Cape Town. In addition, he is responsible for the conception and lead of workshops for design build, critical mapping and writing, and the development of new digital planning and analysis tools for scenario planning with associated ETHZ research chairs.

Scott has worked in Switzerland, China, Australia and South Africa on architecture, research, publishing and curatorial projects. He edited Infrastructure as Architecture, a publication that investigated infrastructure in terms of social, ecological, economic, political, space/ constructions, and EPI: the journal of the Beijing Architecture Biennial. He conceived and curated Spaces of Flow at the National Museum of China, an independent study to investigate and communicate emerging themes of rapid urbanisation. In 2001 he founded Deliver, for projects dealing with the politics and aesthetics of space. His work has been published widely and shown at the Venice Architecture Biennial 2010, 2012, Oslo Architecture Triennale 2019, 2022, and the Rotterdam Architecture Biennnale 2022. He has been invited to speak on alternative methods of architecture and urbanism to various platforms including: ETHZ, Union of International Architects, International forum on Urbanism, German Architecture Museum, National conference of the Royal Australian institute of Architects, African Centre for Cites.

He has designed and led the implementation of housing and urban development projects (South Africa, Nepal), coordinated research on urban development (Global South), written analytical frameworks for urban development and climate resilience (SE Asia, Pacific), and worked closely with community leaders, non-governmental organisations and municipal and state authorities on urban policy reform. He has been honored to have received a number of benchmark awards for this work, including: The UN Habitat Best Practices in the Built Environment Award in 2017, The Zumtobel Group Award: Innovations for Sustainability and Humanity in the Built Environment 2017, and The World Bank Resilient Housing Award in 2018.

From 2019 – 2021 he led the Urban Research Agenda at Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, which included directing the Global Promising Practices: Urban Design Strategies for Better Human Migration, and the Global Review of Internal Displacement in National Urban Policies. The position included close collaboration with the UN Habitat, Norwegian Refugee Council, The World Bank, The Inter-American Development Bank, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). He is a founding member and co-director of the architecture research group TEN, an association of researchers, architects, designers, writers and makers from leading international research institutions that strive to produce and influence the field of design thinking, applied research, responsive urban development, and contemporary teaching culture. He leads various research and design initiatives in the field of urban strategy, planning, urban analysis, and is leading the deign of the organizational structures of the group.

Resources Related to the Episode

(Disclosure: Links on this page to “View on Amazon” are Affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.)

  • Straw Dogs by John Gray [View on Amazon]:
  • Gaswerkareal Design Competition: Submission titled ‘HABITATE’
  • Literature on Cohabitation:
    • Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene by Donna Haraway [View on Amazon]:
    • Rosi Braidotti, “Co-existence” in Krogh, M. ed., 2020. Connectedness: An incomplete encyclopedia of the Anthropocene . Strandberg Publishing. [View on Amazon]
  • Reference to Gramsci: “optimistic in our outlook, pessimistic in our understanding”
    • Taken from his prison notebooks [View on Amazon]
    • Antonini, F., 2019. Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will: Gramsci’s political thought in the last miscellaneous notebooks. Rethinking Marxism31(1), pp.42-57. [Link]
  • Design in Dialogue [More Info]
  • Thame Valley Redevelopment Project, Nepal [More info]
  • The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson [View on Amazon]
  • One of our favourite Thai Bistros to eat at in Zurich
  • “The world is your oyster” initially coined by William Shakespeare – Collin’s Dictionary meaning
  • “When the hammer breaks, you peer into reality” – referring to Martin Heidegger’s Hammer at hand, 20th Century German philosopher

Connect with Scott Lloyd