Gradual Grounding

What rights up the history of a place? Zurich’s sex cinemas are closing down. Some become a café, like the Kino Sternen in Oerlikon, others stay a cinema, but change the program from adult to children’s movies, like the Stüssihof. Others become something like a ruin, a reminiscence of their own, like the Kino Roland on Langstrasse. But a ruin of what? What produced the Kino Roland?

For this research, the former sex cinema shall be considered a case study to investigate what mechanisms led to its becoming, what it represented and how to move on with such an emblematic building. The history of a place is persistent and simultaneously its narratives are constantly instrumentalized to keep certain structures in play. By embedding these narratives historically, socially and spatially, can we resist becoming nostalgic?

The question of what influenced its becoming, allows to reflect on the transformations in both architecture and how the narratives around it shaped the public perception over the past centuries. It provides the basis for the discussion about how the cinema could live on, rethought or reused. The recent change in landownership in January 2022 makes it ever more so relevant to answer these questions. How do we move on from here?

A focus work (vertiefungsarbeit) by Nikola Nikolic (FS22)