Between 2015-2017 I acted as Assistant Professor (Wiss. Mitarbeiterin) to Prof. Hehl for the Architecture Design Innovation Program (ADIP) in the faculty of architecture at the Technical University Berlin. Input and output from 2015-2016 culminated in the third book of the Berlin Transfer series, produced in collaboration with ADIP colleagues and students, for which I was a contributing author and text editor. The book is entitled Berlin Transfer: Open Living Structures
What happens if you take the conceptual essence of a design that has worked well in one place and invest it in another? This is the scenario proposed by the Berlin Transfer book serie. Inverting the direction in which knowledge has been exported since colonial times, the book reveals the potential of architectural and urban design concepts from non-western contexts to inform unconventional approaches of urban development in Europe.
The third volume of the series, Open Living Structures, revisits the ideas of the Polish architect Oskar Hansen (1922-2005) on ‘open forms,’ or architectural forms that allow for completion through the user. At the 1959 CIAM in Otterlo, Hansen questioned the modernist practice of providing social housing through standardized models, instead he called for incomplete systems and for architecture as living structures. Updating this concept for the modern age, this books looks at eight historical and contemporary case studies from Japan and analyzes how they make use of flexible floor plans that can be reconfigured by their residents themselves.
What lessons do the performative dimensions of architecture prevalent in Japan have for today’s spatial considerations?
Answers are explored in a series of practical applications in which principles derived from the Japanese case studies are translated into a series of interventions for sites in Berlin.