Coherent-Existence

Project

Coherent existence is about being naïve enough to ask simple questions, in order to provoke complex answers. It articulates itself by creating ideas that are expressed through drawings, words and references. As an echo towards limited building space in central city districts, it creates narratives for collective housing typologies of the 21st century. 6 spatial experiments reflect the question of property in the dualism of individual and communal needs.

We are three prospective architects that are fascinated by the contradictions of urbanity and housing in the interdependency with architecture.

As a carrier of ideas, ideologies and values, we understand architecture as a medium of communication. Habits, needs, visions and expectations become direct form. We question those backgrounds and put them in historical and cultural context to deduce an architectural representation of our position towards it. By visualising and explaining the elements of the design, we reclaim architecture as a medium which is capable of going beyond the separation of theory and practice. Developing a project means to weave an accent into the urban texture. It is not one building or another that constitutes the impression of a city. It is the interaction of many architectural fractures as an integral part of the city.

Our projects interact in the very nature of city itself: as an eclectic mosaic of built environment. The vague and undefined becomes a parameter in the design, the typological character emphasises limitless reproduction. The possibility of transformation and recontextualisation of the proposals refers to the origin of those forms: human needs and habits that are not determined to a specific place. Still we think that it is important to understand worldwide phenomena to find answers for what is locally virulent. Therefore, the proposals will be located and examined in cologne, a one-million city that is located in the western part of germany. The city council of cologne has the self-imposed goal to provide 66.000 new dwellings by 2029. As it is a circular arranged city, the inner parts become highly attractive. The phenomen of rising rents and exclusion is highly present, so it will be the stage for the examination of our typologies.

The cell, the grid and the threshold define the spatial frame of our typolo- gies. But every frame needs its content to reach out for the big picture. There- fore, architecture for us consists of six principle elements which are linked within each other and through each proposal.

Idealism, exploitation, empowerment, uncertainty, possession, resilience

New Normal
New Normal
Lifted Carpet Grid
Lifted Carpet Grid
Urban Bricoleur
Urban Bricoleur
Gutter Space
Gutter Space
Ambiguity House
Ambiguity House
Filling the niche
Filling the niche

Interview

What prompted the project and research?

The work is dedicated to the urgent issue of housing needs in our cities. At the same time we felt the necessity to preserve our opinion while working on questions that really mattered to us.

Ambiguity House
Ambiguity House

What informed the choice of Cologne? How did you approach the city in terms of research? What tools did you use?

We think that it is important to understand worldwide phenomena in order to find answers that are locally virulent. Therefore, the proposals are located and examined in Cologne, a one-million city that is located in the western part of Germany (simply the nearest Metropolitan City in our closer surrounding).

The city council of Cologne has the self-imposed goal to provide 66.000 new dwellings by 2029. As it is a circular arranged city, the inner parts become highly attractive. Rising rents and exclusion is highly present, so we wanted to use it as a stage for the examination of 6 new housing typologies.

We explored the city by mapping it. Where we found peaks regarding age, density, noise, poverty, wealthiness and other factors of social relevance we tried to create pockets. With in these pockets we have invested researches in order to find adequate sides. We visited them regularly in order to create an intuition for the plot while trying to find questions that encounter global solutions cause one can talk about a certain typology.
The typology of a new construction field, a former parking lot, a narrow empty site, a “Schrebergarten“ or one that is dealing with public transport. Basically inner city spaces of neglection.

Urban Bricoleur
Urban Bricoleur

What are for you the biggest issues contemporary cities face in terms of housing?

The idea of a sharing economy has to be consistently applied to urban space: multiple use, reduction of the private sphere, dissolution of property boundaries, interweaving of different uses and units, etc., a dense picture of a sufficient new society oriented towards the common good must emerge, in which the architect sees his role not only as creator or designer, but above all as discoverer of potentials, as programmer and developer – in a mediating role between theory and practice.

What case studies did you look to? How did these inform the project? What texts informed the theoretical approach to the project?

It started of with a fascination for Athanasius Kirchers “Topographia paradisi”, Karl-Marx-Hof in Red Vienna, pictures of Carthusian Monk Cells, Corbusier´s Cabanon, Kurokawa´s Capsule and from there slowly evolved over Christ+Gantenbein Typology studies to the “Wohnungsfrage“ publications by Haus der Kulturen. Especially the editions on Hannes Mayers “Co-op interior“ and the “Communal Vila“ by Realism Working Group + Dogma.

Here we could sense the right amount between research, theoretical backbone but also a spatial translation of certain values that we find indispensable when thinking of new living conditions and typologies.

Coming from this background the tension between a frame that we as architects can provide and a content (the user) that will appropriate the structure set the foundation. How generic can living-conditions be? How can we find room proportions that obtain a certain subsequent use and therefor can react to different needs over time? How can communal zones become more than just a threshold between private and public spaces?

These were significant questions that rose from the case studies and automatically influenced our 6 proposals.

When it comes to urban theories we read Marcuse, Foucault and Harvey over our studies so the question of the “Right to the City“ was pivotal for us. But beyond that we also tried to step out of the “OG´s“ of theory and found ourselves between Till, Aureli or Schumachers “Urban Policy Manifesto“.

What role did the drawing play in the development of the project? How and to what extent was this pivotal in testing ideas and discussing hypothesis? What defined the different drawings through which you chose to reveal the speculation? How important was the plan?

Along with the theoretical texts and the visual references, we understood the drawings as the third column of our book. They prove the functionality of the proposals – the translation of written words, still being an abstraction of reality. Since all proposals rely on a certain geometrical banality while questioning spatial conventions, we felt the urge to speak with the drawings. They became a manifested claim for the individual proposal. They reveal a fluid narrative inside of a constant element.

To demonstrate this, we worked with the classical architectural display-set meaning plans, sections and axonometric drawings. From here the suspend between the rationality that the black-line stands for and the intuitivity of messages that it can form became crucial for us.

New Normal
New Normal
New Normal
New Normal

What is for you the architects most important tool?

The Internet.

#Interviews