Herschel, Jamme & Schweer
The urban network of the city is expanding continuously. Structural manifestations of suburbanization, such as infrastructure, logistics and manufacturing sites and extensive housing estates on the peripheral edges of the city are illustrative of the economic, social and cultural influence of the urban agglomerations to the surrounding rural areas. The decline in agricultural industry and the centralisation of agricultural production to major market-leading enterprises has changed the self-image of rural areas. Traditional farm typologies of Brandenburg villages have lost their original use and validity. Villages have become purely residential settlements, supplemented by logistics centers and areas of new housing without identity. There is a shortage of functional diversity, social infrastructure and cultural services in the village centres. A demographically old population is staying, while young generations are forced to move into the city due to the lack of perspective. The independence of rural areas as an equivalent to the city has given way to a network of different urban configurations that interact and influence each other. To reflect on the development of a specific context, it is important to understand dependencies and correlations within the entire urban network. Sustainable re-densification can not only express itself in selective and independently functioning interventions. Due to the digitalization of our everyday work and the consecutively spread of virtual spaces, physical presence is becoming decreasingly important. Rural regions are becoming more and more accessible by public transport, while residential rental prices are comparatively low. With an understanding of the urban configurations and its contemporary conditions, the design seeks to highlight the existing qualities and potential of rural and peripheral areas. Proposing a densification at several sites, the project intends to imagine a possible relationship between urban and rural areas.
“Mit ‘Stadtgewebe’ ist nicht nur, im strengen Sinn, das bebaute Gelände der Stadt gemeint, viel mehr verstehen wir darunter die Gesamtheit der Erscheinungen, welche die Dominanz der Stadt über das Land manifestieren.” (Henri Lefebvre)
The design consists of three locations - in the city, the periphery and in the countryside. Programmatively mixed typologies of housing, work and social infrastructure are modified differently according to the specific context. Being connected by train, we understand them as equal places of consideration. The one-sided phenomenon of peripheral residents commuting to their workplace in city centres is to be counteracted. Working in the city and living in the countryside, living in the outskirts and working in the countryside or living and working in the countryside should be equally possible. We are less interested in materialising a condition concerning the relationship between living and work than being aware of the change of their relationship over time. Due to the increasing overlap of living spaces and workplaces, the modernistic separation of functions in the cityscape dissolutes subversively. The clear boundaries between production of goods and reproduction of our own subsistence blur, which opens up the possibility of questioning spatial and political hierarchies - between domestic and economic space, rural production and urban consumption. Consecutively more idealistic and collaborative models of the (re-) production space result. The three projects differ in their ratio of housing and work. At the same time, each typology focuses on a specific kind of work. In view of the displacement of noisy craftsmanship from the city centre, the decentralisation of the production of goods and a logistical and ecological interest in shortening transport routes, the design at the Dragoner area in Berlin Kreuzberg seeks to combine residential and production. The periphery of large metropolitan areas suffers from the monofunctional arrangement of single family house settlements and industrial areas. The various functions are separated from each other on an urban scale by infrastructural boundaries. The design attempts to stimulate the combination of housing and automated, large-scale production, or logistical storage of goods, within a building interspersed with communal, public functions. In view of the lack of both - digital infrastructure and depth of public space in typical Brandenburg villages, the design in the countryside addresses the connection between housing and digital work in a court typology. The project does not claim to draw a entirely valid image of the perspective development of the urban network, as to show a typological and programmatic room for manoeuvre for the densification of living and working spaces.
Location: Brandenburg, Germany
Project Team: Barbara Herschel - Kaspar Jamme - Justus Schweer
University: Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Semester: Bachelor Thesis
Teaching: Verena von Beckerath - Niklas Fanelsa - Till Hoffmann
Photography: Andrew Alberts (Model)