The Grand Challengers Podcast Episode #23

To give ‘space’ – from a library to collaborative urban transformation and rethinking the architect’s role

Guest: Markus Vogl

February 6th, 2024

Episode Teaser


“…it’s amazing how you see that out of the social interaction, a social production of space becomes city…”

Markus Vogl, Professor in urban planning and design at the University of Stuttgart , senior partner at Studio Urban Strategies in Germany and the former “Walter Gropius Chair” at the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Markus completed his studies in architecture at TU Munich in 2002 before continuing his studies at the University of Vienna up til 2009. He has amassed an incredible portfolio of diverse architectural projects centered around the curiosities of designing places of encounter and social collaboration.

On today’s show, Markus reflects on the incredible story of what is perhaps his most impactful and life-changing project to date, the Biblioteca La Carcova and Parque Educativo in San Martin, Argentina. We discuss this project’s early beginnings from an unconventional change agent to his involvement in driving a social collaboration towards urban transformation. We also spark deeper thought around architecture’s role for future sustainability and what it means to give space.


Markus Vogl, registered architect and urban planner is a senior partner in Studio Urbane Strategien (Studio Urban Strategies – since 2020) in Stuttgart, Germany, interim Professor in the chair of planning and design (Städtebau) at Stuttgart University and the former “Walter Gropius Chair” (from 2017 to 2022) at the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, supported by the German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD). He studied architecture at the Technical University (TU) Munich from 1995 to 2002, which included an Erasmus at the TU Delft and a trip to Buenos Aires from May to September 2001.

Following ten years of freelance work at the renowned Vienna-based architectural firm querkraft, he worked independently as a partner at the UTA Architects and Urban Planners office from 2014 to 2019. He has taught at internationally acclaimed institutions such as TU Delft, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, the University of Vienna, the University of Innsbruck, and the University of Stuttgart. He is a recognized expert in urban development processes in South America. His project, “Parque Educativo – La Carcova” in Buenos Aires, earned the teaching team and the team of the library the prestigious Latin American XII BIAU award for educational projects. He is also member of the German Association of Architects, Europan, International Forum of urbanism, American Association of Geographers and the International Planning History society. Other than his work in Latin America, he is also engaging in project across Germany and Europe on creating places of encounter to improve social cohesion, stewardship and to create social interaction opportunities in order to transform urban spaces into vibrant cities.

Resources Related to the Episode

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Episode Chapters

(Chapters are embedded in the episode for quick access, click this to expand and view all chapters and time stamps)
  • 0:00 Intro
  • 1:59 Guest introduction and AM radio signals
  • 3:36 Buenos Aires, stereotypes and Tango
  • 8:20 The Clubes de Barrio
  • 11:54 Early interest in Architecture and Urbanism
  • 15:27 “Städtebau” or citymaking as interdisciplinarity
  • 21:00 From TU Munich to TU Delft
  • 24:11 Getting to Buenos Aires
  • 28:07 Society, globalization and confronting reality
  • 34:13 Biblioteca La Carcova: Prologue: The Walter Gropius Chair
  • 39: 49 Biblioteca La Carcova: Part 1 – The Canvas
  • 42:23 Biblioteca La Carcova: Part 2 – A book means freedom
  • 45:14 Biblioteca La Carcova: Part 3 – Building a place of encounter
  • 47:11 Biblioteca La Carcova: Part 4 – Gauchito Gil
  • 49:00 Biblioteca La Carcova: Part 5 – Enter Markus
  • 51:18 Biblioteca La Carcova: Part 6 – Parque Educativo
  • 53:17 Biblioteca La Carcova: Part 7 – 3000 Euros and the Pandemic
  • 56:38 Biblioteca La Carcova: Part 8 – The Obelisco
  • 1:01:30 The role of the architect
  • 1:02:41 The next steps for the Parque Educativo
  • 1:07:05 Q&A Start
  • 1:07:33 What inspires you?
  • 1:08:28 Key event, person, book
  • 1:10:24 If you had a magic wand?
  • 1:12:18 Biggest challenge in career to date
  • 1:17:30 Time management
  • 1:19:22 Advice for young architects
  • 1:20:42 Where can people reach you?
  • 1:21:50 Final Message
  • 1:22:31 Outro

Connect with Markus Vogl

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