Besides all of the travelling, here is a little bit on what I’m doing in class.
It may seem like all I am doing is travelling and site-seeing and eating and drinking, which I am. But on top of all of that I also have to manage my classes (schade). No but class is really fun as I have stated in a blog post long long ago.
So here is an update.
German is over! Yes, our intensive German class has officially ended, but our time in Germany has not, and so I plan on expanding on my German, even though our class is over. I think it is necessary for one to try to learn a language so long as they are in that native country and so I plan to try to use German as much as possible when interacting with locals, and occasionally reviewing my notes from class. That being said, I am going to miss taking German. It was rather challenging I must admit, and there were a few awkward moments where we students stared blankly at our instructor, Corinna, with zero understanding of what she said “auf Deutsch.” But it was a fun class and I hope I have the will to carry on with my individual study of the language.
For history class we had to write a paper for last Tuesday and we recently just had our midterm. The paper was a group assignment for partners of two. Aaron and I worked together on this and wrote about Tacheles, a building in Mitte, Berlin, that has had a turbulent history. Our creative proposal was to tear the building down! This is of course a well-founded thesis. If you want to learn more, send me an email and I can give you a copy of our paper!
Not much has happened so far with sustainability since most of our classes have been excursions. But we are learning a lot about sustainability in terms other than energy usage; taking a look at how politics and economics are both tied into the realm of sustainability for nations and cities. However I am personally anticipating the part where we learn about sustainable architecture practices so I can implement some into my studio project.
Studio! Saving the best for last, I haven’t really spoken much about this so I guess now is a good time to do so. For studio we have a rather unique program to design. We are tasked with designing a Baugruppe (a co-housing project). In basic terms, the way a Baugruppe works is that a group of individuals come together and pool their money to fund the construction of a building uniquely tailored to their lifestyles. In this case, the client is both the investor and the user. This is a complex building type as every individual has a unique set of needs and wants which they get to voice to the architects. This is completely different to what usually happens, which is when a developer buys land and then hires an architect to create a building with cookie cut/one size fits all apartments and then sell the units. The Baugruppe is instead much more intimate with a direct relationship with the users/clients.
The site of our project is in Pankow, a suburb of sorts in northern Berlin. It is quaint and its people diverse. Located on Florastrasse our site is embedded in a cluster of mietskasernes (19th century worker’s housing). Working in groups of two we are challenged with responding to the site and the requests of our imaginary and colorful clients. For this studio I have the pleasure of collaborating with Ben. Ben and I initially had two very distinct approaches for addressing the site. I was concerned with the movement through the site while Ben was looking for opportunities to create collective spaces. Finding a middle ground we came up with a double courtyard scheme that will be framed by two individual buildings. These two buildings are then curved to facilitate dynamic movement between the courtyards and throughout the site. Next we will have to figure out a flexible/modular apartment system that will accommodate the needs of our clients while fitting in our approximate building footprint. Very exciting stuff!