Due to the refugee crisis, this contribution to the 2016 Architecture Biennale is not limited to the pavilion in Venice but also includes three ongoing projects in Vienna.
More concretely, three teams were commissioned to work together with NGOs not only to design the conversion of empty buildings into temporary accommodation for people whose asylum claims are being processed but also to accompany these buildings in the longer term.
The objectives of these interventions are to subject the social responsibility of architecture to a reality check, to provide humane places to live for those affected and to present the results in Venice to a broader public.
The concept for the Austrian contribution to the Architecture Biennale 2016 was developed by Elke Delugan-Meissl in collaboration with Sabine Dreher and Christian Muhr, Liquid Frontiers.
Architecture and Design
Caramel Architekten: HOME MADE
Caramel Architekten developed a system for an emergency shelter in a 1970s office building based on textile elements which could be installed within just a few weeks with the help of the shelter’s 280 residents. Just 52 basic sets, each consisting of a parasol, textile panels and cable ties succeeded in creating privacy and improving the user experience in the sober, open-plan office spaces for an outlay of just 50 euros and 50 minutes’ work per person.
As the use of 2,000 m2 of the 3,700 m2 building was originally limited to just four months, a central criterion of the intervention was that all elements could be swiftly dismounted and simply re-erected in another location. Despite such parameters, the team succeeded in offering people a minimum of domesticity and privacy with the help of simple resources and some ingenious detailing. Similar textile elements were also used to reshape existing communal and external spaces including a dining room, children’s playground and area of greenery in such a way that they have also been tangibly improved in terms of both functionality and atmosphere.
In parallel with the development within Haus Pfeiffergasse, the “Home Made” Tool Set is now also being used by the team in a further range of both professional and private situations. The resulting closed loop fulfils the original aim of the architects to build for not just one special target group but for everyone. For this reason, the instruction manual for “Home Made” is also available online.
EOOS: SOCIAL FURNITURE
The design team EOOS has developed a concept for the adaptation of a former training facility for custom officers of around 56,000 m2 close to the city centre. It is currently used by the police, the administrative court and two schools. Since the beginning of the year, 21,000 m2 on four floors have been occupied by a primary care facility run by two NGOs.
The facility consists of two-bed rooms with showers and washbasins which provide long-term accommodation to 600 asylum seekers but lacked the communal spaces, shared kitchens and meeting zones which EOOS is now creating and equipping with custom-designed furniture. However, the focus of the intervention is not only this furniture but also the creation of opportunities to work and to exchange in the form of an in-house communal economy for which a special transaction app has also been developed. A workshop in which this furniture is being built, a raised-bed garden and a system of shops provide the infrastructure for alternative labour and self-sufficiency.
To mark the development of the “Social Furniture” collection for Haus Erdberg, EOOS published a catalogue - modelled on Enzo Mari’s “Autoprogettazione” – which contains instructions on how to assemble 18 furniture elements from the areas of living, working and cooking. Not only can this furniture be self-built economically but it also supports the self-organisation of the residents and offers opportunities to share and exchange resources in the spirit of the communal economy.
The furniture collection extends beyond the walls of the individual refugee shelter by defining the creation of Social Furniture as a social issue that can be flexibly scaled and applied everywhere. In doing this, EOOS has transformed DIY into DIT – do-it-together.
the next ENTERprise: UN/COMMON SPACE–UN/DEFINED LIVING
The settings for the intervention by the next ENTERprise-architects are the fourth and fifth floors of a partly vacant 1980s office building in Vienna’s most populous district in the south of the city, together with the park surrounding the former headquarters building. In line with their interest in activating the potential of the temporary use of vacant space for creating new forms of urban life, the next ENTERprise-architects have developed economically producible infrastructures which each user can take possession of in their own individual way.
As part of their intervention in Kempelengasse, “room-in-room implants” in the internal spaces create hybrid living and working spaces which will be tested in cooperation with Caritas for the next three years in the context of an experimental residential project involving refugees and students. In addition to this, a series of targeted external interventions will open up the originally closed park-like site in order to encourage communication between residents and locals. These elements are seen as “urban building blocks” due to their ability to be used not only temporarily within existing structures but also in new buildings and, beyond this, in a wide range of other urban situations.
On the socio-cultural level, the architectural interventions are anchored in the commitment of numerous actors who have already been involved in and accompanying a range of forms of participation in the surrounding area for the past two years. In the same way, the appropriation of these “urban building blocks” will establish a basis for social and cultural life.
Invited Architectural and Design Offices
Günter Katherl, Martin Haller, & Ulrich Aspetsberger
Gernot Bohmann, Harald Gründl, Martin Bergmann & Lotte Kristoferitsch
the next ENTERprise - architects
Marie-Therese Harnoncourt & Ernst J. Fuchs
Due to the refugee crisis, this contribution to the 2016 Architecture Biennale is not limited to the pavilion in Venice but also includes three ongoing projects in Vienna.More concretely, three teams were commissioned to work together with NGOs not only to design the conversion of empty buildings into temporary accommodation for people whose asylum claims are being processed but also to accompany these buildings in the longer term.The objectives of these interventions are to subject the social...