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First Year


CMT Construction Material Technology


HTC History Theory Criticism


ADP Analogue Digital Production


ESC Ecology Sustainability Cultural Heritage


GLC Geography Landscapes Cities


Research Publications

14 16


Collective model of Lake Neusiedel’s reed belt integrating individual student works, 1:5000, photo Eva Sommeregger


Supervisors: Christina Condak Eva Sommeregger

Kathi Eder

Emilia Piatkowska

Leonie Link

Ilinca Urziceanu

Students: Pia Bauer Oscar Binder Ana-Maria Chiriac Daron Chiu Iulia Cristian Diana Cuc Leah Dorner Kathi Eder Felix Eibl Greta Frey Ida Fröhlich Winnie Lau Leonie Link Emilia Piatkowska Niki Podlaha Hannah Rade Lucas Reisigl Nick Schmidt Sophie Stemshorn Ilinca Urziceanu


Christina Condak Eva Sommeregger


Design Studio BArch 1


Drone photography experiment by student Hannah Rade


Ana-Maria Chiriac

A particular landscape suggests to us how to build in its context. By identifying its logic and qualities, we can suggest ways buildings might settle in it. A structure can be expressive of a particular condition of a landscape. The approach to architecture for this first-semester studio has focused on the context of the reed belt of Lake Neusiedl in Burgenland, Austria. Lake Neusiedl is the second-largest lake in Austria, measuring 36km north to south and 12km at its maximum width across an unusual and flat landscape. The area surrounding the lake is known as a wine region, which receives some of its irrigation from the shallow lake. The reeds, to this day, still play a role in local vernacu­ lar architecture, but our studio engaged in another kind of dialogue with the reeds and the special ground. Our interest focused on the vast, open space of the lake and the reed belt, with its very soft and changing ground, from mud and water to ice and hard surfaces. Sensorial aspects of the tactile environment were important for us to grasp. Our initial methods of study began with drawings from satellite maps to understand the greater territory, reading the direction of fields and observing the winds. On the ground, fieldwork and documentation included the technique of filming the site. Simple film techniques and instructions were given: follow a straight line through the landscape and make a one-minute film, make a 360° documentation of the site, film only the ground and its tactile surface, film vertically from sky to ground, etc. These films were used as sketches to help us see things we wouldn’t otherwise have seen. The drawing of the site was a step-by-step process, a way of describing something, building a language of lines. Interpretations played an important role in developing ideas about what we were dealing with and how to develop an intervention, a connector in the landscape, a place for people to meet between water and land. How to react in a site-specific manner? Suggestions were made to pick up clues, such as continuing an existing path leading from firm ground to the lakefront, where boats could be met. A boathouse was suggested as a possible programme, though its use remained open.


Iulia Cristian

In the 6-minute film SWAMP by Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, the artists explore the constraints of documenting a site, a swamp terrain, through the limiting lens of the camera, the finite length of the 16mm film reel, and their own physicality when walking through the harsh reeds and wet ground. We hear Smithson in the background, giving directions to Holt about how to move

Holt has said that Smithson gave her directions as she held the camera, and the film deals with the limits of her perception in seeing and following his instructions. “Verbal direction cannot easily be followed; as the reeds crash against the camera lens, blocking vision and forming continuously shifting patterns, confusion ensues,” Holt says. The film creates an immediate awareness of an interior space in the landscape through the artists’ bodily experience of the swamp. Boundaries are tangible, yet shifting. There is a play on the notion of site and sight. In this setting, we are not allowed to see the horizon, which would give us a vantage point for orientating ourselves. Here we are within. TOWARDS A COLLECTIVE WAY

Lake Neusiedl is a striking context, a place near Vienna, allowing us to visit it as often as possible, by train, by bike and on foot. It was an important setup for the brief to begin studio life by actually leaving the studio. Out in the field, the student becomes the expert, turning a passive eye on the lakefront into a critical and knowing eye. We went from the collective trips at the beginning of the semester to ending with the collective construction of a large 1:5000 scale model. The site-specific installation integrates the individual interventions, and brings the lake and the reed belt into our room at the academy. A lightweight structure, hanging from the ceiling; a flat, layered construct hovering over the floor, it moves with the occasional breeze caused by a person traversing the room.

1 Robert Smithson, “The Earth, Subject to Cataclysms, is a Cruel Master”, interview with Grégoire Müller (1971), in: Robert Smithson, The Collected Writings, ed. Jack Flam (Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of ­California Press, 1996), p. 261 2

forward, which she cannot ­easily follow. As Robert Smithson puts it, “It’s about deliberate obstructions or calcula­ted aimlessness.”1

Electronic Arts Intermix, “Swamp”, accessed August 3, 2016,

1:1 prototype constructed by the students of the platform CMT with the help of Johannes Kirnbauer and his team (Research Center of Building Materials, Material Technology and Fire Safety Science, TU Vienna). Material: ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC), carbon fiber reinforcement, photo: Christina Ehrmann




Paper Folding and Form-Work experiments, photo: Nathaniel Loretz

Following on from the previous two CMT studios (Interstitial Warming and The Peripatetic Environment), we continued our investi­ gation into woven architecture. The Four Elements of Architecture, by the architect Gottfried Semper (1851), posits that the woven mat and its use interchangeably as floors, walls, and draped over frames constitutes where architecture begins. He argued that Architecture is like a garment, it shares the same root and meaning in Germanic languages (Wand = wall, Gewand = garment). For many years this treatise was seen fanciful and antiquated, but as is often the case, all it needs to become relevant again are the corresponding materials and technology. We experimented with the exciting new technologies of woven textile reinforcement and ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC).

The City of Sankt Valentin in Lower Austria asked the CMT platform to design and build prototypes for six bus stops at strategic places throughout the city. Though situated in disparate areas lacking in recipro­city, the six bus stops are clearly related to each other, trading their identity as singular objects in order to weave places that respond to the social, environmental and techno­logical requirements of the city and its inhabitants. This research project uses the excit­ing new technologies of woven textile reinforcement and ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC). This combination permits extremely thin skins and offers myriad possibilities of form through folding and shaping. With it, we constructed the fabric of place in Sankt Valentin and one of the first such free-standing structures in the world.

2 Franz-Forster-Platz Franz-Forster-Platz is centrally located in the shopping area of the city, with a large open space which unfortunately, apart from a yearly festival, is used exclusively as a parking lot. It became clear to us that the bus stop needed to find a way to turn towards both the street and the square. Both the paving and the concave curve of the Crumple element are oriented towards the square, providing a stage and backdrop for outdoor activities, and helping to reactivate the square as a meeting point and a place to linger. The bus stop helps separate the square from the busy street, offering both acoustic and visual protection, acting as a gateway and a stage for events, and providing an incentive for its further development. It is the catalyst this square needs to awaken from its slumber and assume its rightful place at the centre of public life in Sankt Valentin. 3 Westbahnstrasse This bus stop is located on the busy northern entrance road to the city, and thus has the potential to become its gateway and attract new visitors. The Zigzag mirrors the speed of the busy road, pointing visitors in the direction of the city while offering shelter to people waiting there. It leans on the Crumple, which seems to cradle and contain it, while at the same time absorbing the implied speed in the apparent chaos of its folds. Colour and coatings are applied to the structure and the paving, which is extended to create a larger zone of safety in this area heavily frequented by fast traffic. The motorists flashing by and people waiting at the bus stop are interconnected and communicate. In this exposed position, the bus stop communicates on large and small scales, at fast and slow speeds, is both a bright signal and a place to linger.

ZIGZAG, CRUMPLE AND PERFORATION The bus stops manifest themselves through the use of three elements: the Zigzag, the Crumple and the Perforation. Woven into every structure, these three elements help construct the fabric of place. The Zigzag – at first glance, this seems to be the simplest manifestation of a fold. Nonetheless, when deftly handled, it can encompass surprisingly complex forms. The many-legged Zigzag has a repetitive Stamen element at its root, adapted to every stop through the addition of Zigzag extensions of differing length and form. The Stamen is re-used in every bus stop, while the extensions are sometimes repeated. The Crumple – a seemingly chaotic folding method whose inherent order has only recently become apparent, as the corresponding digital technology has emerged. Thanks to its form, the Crumple is a free-standing structure and is repeated at every stop, changing only at the point of connection with the Zigzag. When needed, these points of connection can be built into the main formwork, which is re-used for every bus stop. The Perforation – seemingly irregular ovoid holes allow not only light and air to permeate, but also accentuate the filigree nature of the wafer-thin textile-concrete structure. The Perforation is made using simple tools and a repetitive stencil. It is applied to the finished structure and does not affect the formwork. The arrangement of the holes suggests an abstract representation of the city map of Sankt Valentin.

5 Herzograd This bus stop is situated at the tip of a tongue of ancient forest, the only remnant of the former duke’s historic forest, which separates a residential area from an industrial one. This remnant will soon be reduced to provide a parking lot for the neighbouring factory. In order to raise awareness and emphasise the importance of its preservation, our design references a forest clearing and suggests a gateway. Because of the adjoining factories, the area around the bus stop is very busy, and the roads are heavily used. The facto­ ries operate around the clock, and shift changes in the morning, afternoon and evening are especially busy. The bus stop is clearly visible to all motorists, ensuring both workers and bus users’ protection from traffic and noise, and forming a space for thought and reflection intrinsically connected to the place.

1 Hauptplatz (Main Square) The new bus stop in the main square of Sankt Valentin can be found between the main entrance of the primary school, a splendid tree and a monument to Saint Valentine. It is designed and positioned in such a way that it is clearly visible to bus drivers and other motorists, while offering a protected environment for children entering and leaving the school. The Zigzag, Crumple and Perforations serve to compose not only a bus stop, but also sheltered spaces for adventure and discovery. The vectors adopted by the folds refer to existing pathways – long established, but often ignored – thus further embedding the bus stop in its environment. These pathways are further emphasised using light and watercourses in the paving. The Stamen element of the Zigzag fold is repeated behind the Crumple, creating a further space of discovery on a child’s scale.

6 Altenhofen

4 Reihenhaus This bus stop sits on a curve in the road, marking the entrance to a residential area and allotments historically farmed by railroad workers. The many garbage bins situated here increase the frequency of passers-by. Our project activates space in many directions and on many levels by inviting users and passers-by to walk through, rather than around it, and by establishing two main visual axes. The first is a view towards Westbahnstrasse and the field behind it, picturesque in the morning hours when the fields are shrouded in mist, framed and accentuated by the continuous Zigzag. The second, an open view of the housing develop­ ment and the allotments, provides greater visibility for motorists and passers-by. Embedded seats on the other side of the Crumple encourage the activation of the gravel square, where people can linger, sunbathe and watch children have fun.

The new bus stop in Altenhofen is located in the northernmost corner of the site, preventing dangerous traffic situations, and offering a view from the highest point of the property. The site is steeply sloped where the Crumple element serves as a retaining wall and a protective barrier against flooding. The drainage has been planned as an adaptation of the fold, which ­directs the water away from and behind the bus stop itself. Together with the Crumple, the Zigzag forms a new place of interaction, exchange and communi­ cation. It complements the existing site without destroying it, constructing a place protected from direct sunlight, rain and wind that invites people to linger and enjoy. A new street light derived from the Zigzag fold lights the immediate area, and acts as a Wi-Fi antenna and a support for further street furniture. In effect, the new bus stop provides a point of confluence for the members of the surrounding community, creating a special place of their own while at the same time connecting them to the city.

Michelle Howard, Luciano Parodi


Michelle Howard Luciano Parodi

Design Studio BArch 3




Supervisors: Michelle Howard Luciano Parodi Students: Philipp Behawy Marcella Brunner Marie Eham Christina Ehrmann Une Kavaliauskaite Felix Kofler Nathaniel Loretz Tea Marta Prima Mathawabhan Madina Mussayeva Nils Neubรถck Maximilian Pertl Ruben Stadler Patricia Tibu

3 Westbahnstrasse

ATTITUDE #1 – The City Made of Rooms: The city is composed of the multiplication of individual cells; both architecture and urbanism follow this logic of organisation and form. Attention is given to the relations between spaces. By adding up private units, dense urban forms are produced, which take the complexity of the vernacularly grown city as their reference. Such “collective form” is understood as the ultimate expression of community.2

ATTITUDE #4 – Redefining Centre and Periphery of the Apartment: Driven by the idea of optimising the inner organisation of a living unit, the circulation space within the apartment is suppressed, while bathrooms and kitchens are placed along the façade. This shift produces a filter zone, turning the most intimate spaces towards the outside and confronting them with the space of the city. “La bande active” (1987) by Yves Lion and François Leclercq is a prototype of that ­concept.5

ATTITUDE #5 – Shifting into the City: Interwoven with the urban fabric, this approach features a permeable transition between private and public spaces. Its spatial articulation of openness creates a dialogue with the city. Certain areas of living become accessible from the street. Incomplete forms can be further developed by the users. The relation to the city has to be continuously constructed anew. In other cases, living is extended into the city by shifting programmes conventionally dedicated to the individual living unit into the shared space of the neighbourhood.6

The conceptual model that Oswald Mathias Ungers submitted for the competition “Neue Stadt Köln” proposes a radical idea: a fluidity of the collective space of the city passing through solids of individual units. Tiny (wooden) volumes added up to form towers represent the vertical addition of individual bedrooms, enclosed by load-bearing walls. All in-between space, comprised of the living rooms of the apartments, the circulation spaces of the buildings and the space of the surrounding city, is left open and forms a continuous, collective space. This continuity between the open space of the city and the shared spaces within the building didn’t come to fruition in the housing complex in the Chorweiler district of Cologne, built in 1964 by Ungers. The project “Equilibrium of Voids” picked up the idea of the void as a continuous and accessible flow of spaces. Here, the central staircase, reduced to a minimum in Chorweiler, is expanded and turned into an active space. Ungers’ idea of a city made of rooms is reversed, as attention is given to the voids themselves in the project’s design. The individual unit can temporarily expand into a sequence of designed spaces. Different outlook positions are accessible from the street and create visual relations back to the city. The specific design of the in-between space stimulates active uses. A definition of temporary responsibilities, regulations and schedules addresses the questions of care, access and appropriation.

But what if, as another experiment, all circulation space is instead suppressed? This opposite strategy for entangling housing with the city is proposed by the project “Common Transmission”. The project speculates on the effects of multiple entrances, and questions conventional forms of distribution. What if circulation space is replaced by platforms and generous spaces used by a larger public? The living units are separated by pockets of programme: living units are accessed by crossing a public library or, conversely, small courtyards can be reached by crossing apartments. Programmed “pockets”, like theatres, libraries or markets, or even – in some specific cases – the living unit itself, operate as hubs with multiple entrances, stimulating and regulating access, and allowing the temporary consolidation of communities, based on specific interests. Through these configurations, communities of different sizes, temporalities and interests interlock. The neighbourhood is continuously kept open.

Common Transmission: Simon Lesina Debiasi & Mikkel Rostrup

Students: Frederik Braüner Nygaard Marija Katrina Dambe Clara Fickl Elisabeth Fölsche Burak Genc Christopher Gruber Sophie Hartmann Jakob Jakubowski Silvester Kreil Aysen Ladea Simon Lesina Debiasi Madeleine Malle Jean Makhlouta Brina Meze-Petric Stepan Nesterenko Urban Niedermayr Tobias Römer Mikkel Rostrup Sonia Wipfler

The students’ design process was based on an understanding of different positions of housing design vis-à-vis the city. To structure the debate, we defined five “attitudes” that were illustrated by a series of historical and contemporary case studies of housing projects. The case studies demonstrate manifold ways of establishing either strong relations to the existing urban fabric, or constructing the ground of the city anew.

ATTITUDE #3 – Pocketing Urban Programmes: Through the addition of programmes like swimming pools (elaborated, for example, by Henry Sauvage in the housing complex at Rue des Amiraux in Paris, 1916-1926), shopping facilities, educational infrastructures or office spaces, architects seek to open up the monofunctionality of a housing complex, and to connect the residential community with the surrounding neighbourhood.4

Attitude #4 Final exhibition: „La bande active“

Supervisors: Daniela Herold Lisa Schmidt-Colinet

In this year’s BArch 5 studio of the Platform History | Theory | Criticism, we worked on the notion of an open city by identifying spatial sequences that allow for such porosity. The students explored and designed transitional spaces navigating between individual retreats and shared spaces in the city. For a moment, we left behind the idea of a housing complex as an enclosed entity. Diluting the structure of the block and assuming a more fluid state of living and the city, we asked which new spatial entities could crystallise. Students designed fragments of liveable space, exhibiting different degrees of accessibility, possible uses and liabilities. Extended into the urban realm, these proposed habitats transgress the spatial conventions of private/housing and public/street.

ATTITUDE #2 Brunswick Center: drawing by Frederik Braüner Nygaard

Focusing on the relationship between city planning and housing production, between domestic and urban life, and between the retreat of the individual and the articulation of a collective is our attempt to open up the ongoing housing debate, which has seemed to be trapped in questions of efficiency. Instead, we could ask for a different kind of performance, and we could ask for more: How can living space expand to become an integral part of the city? How can it provide additional qualities for the surroundings, thus creating further added value for the city? To create a mutually beneficial situation, visions for cities and models for living need to be discussed and generated in a vibrant exchange.

Visions for Vienna: The city has the capacity to be further densified if the condition of porosity can be met – if the city is kept open. For only a porous city fabric allows for multiple connections and permeability on the spatial, economic and social level. Here, we refer to Richard Sennett’s idea of an open city: “Closed means over-determined, balanced, integrated, linear. Open means incomplete, errant, conflictual, non-linear. The closed city is full of boundaries and walls; the open city possesses more borders and membranes (...). Yet to design the modern city well, I believe we have to challenge unthinking assumptions now made about urban life, assumptions which favor closure. I believe we have to embrace less re-assuring, more febrile ideas of living together, those stimulations of differences, both visual and social, which produce openness.”1

ATTITUDE #1 Quinta da Malagueira: drawing by Elisabeth Fölsche & Madeleine Malle

At last year’s kick-off meeting for the development of the International Building Exhibition (IBA) that will take place in Vienna in 2022, the increasing challenges of providing affordable space to live in the city were outlined. Today, Vienna faces not only population growth, but also an economic situation in which rent prices are rising sharply in relation to the incomes of its inhabitants.

ATTITUDE #2 – Circulation as Encounters: The relation between housing and the city is established by elements that evoke characteristics of traditional urban spaces, like streets, paths, squares or green areas. They provide not only access, but also spaces for communication and multiple uses. The circulation space becomes a meeting place for the inhabitants, overlapping with the fluctuation of visitors.3

Throughout the semester, we explored, developed, tested, reinvented and formulated these different attitudes towards the space of the city through case studies and project proposals. The oscillation between critical analysis of the examples and projective design was introduced as a practice that treats the canonical examples as open and allows their creative potential to further unfold. Sectional drawings and models were produced to reveal the different ways in which relations between living spaces and the collective space of the city can be formed. In the following, four examples will be presented to illustrate how the students developed their oscillating view of a given case study and a design fragment in the Viennese context.

Equilibrium of Voids: Christopher Gruber & Jakob Jakubowski

ATTITUDE #1 Neue Stadt Köln: drawing by Christopher Gruber & Jakob Jakubowski


Multiplicity of Living: Elisabeth Fölsche & Madeleine Malle



Daniela Herold Lisa Schmidt-Colinet

Design Studio BArch 5



As early as the 1980s, Yves Lion and François Leclercq experimented with the idea of suppressed hallways on the scale of apartments. They first published their ideas on a possible reorganisation of the apartment in 1987 as “Domus demain, la bande active”. In their proposal, the reduction of circulation space, and the shift of all sanitary and kitchen cells towards the façade, results in an open inner space within the apartment. Economic considerations were the driving force for that experimentation: sanitary and kitchen blocks could be industrially produced and simply replaced as standardised elements of the façade. The proposal was also born out of a distrust of the potential of circulation spaces for social interaction. Thus priority was given to a maximum of private space. The following two student projects reveal another aspect of Lion and Leclerq’s proposal: the visual effects of the “bande active” translated into an urban scale – looking at and looking from.

The project “Perpendicular City” develops in height. Agglomerations of housing units drift apart, allowing the city to enter in between. In contrast to the subtle porosity suggested by Ungers’ c ­ onceptual model, open, accessible spaces and public programmes like schools and gardens can find their place on different levels here. The project was developed by means of a double-sided sectional model – one side describing the layout of the apartments and their relation to collective spaces, and the other showing the view from the city towards the inside. While working on the model, the two spheres started to collapse and actively interlock. The connected towers of the “Perpendicular City” are wrapped with a “bande active”, which clashes interestingly with spaces used by the neighbourhood. In contrast, the project “Co-existence” uses the “bande active” to establish open courtyards with differ­ent degrees of intimacy, asking: What kind of

anonymity and urbanity can be produced by the visibility of the sanitary cells on the façade? What Yves Lion proposed for the inner part of the apartment is taken to another scale here. The project starts from the assumption that exposed sanitary cells produce urban anonymity rather than a neighbourhood feeling. As a consequence, the “bande active” is only placed at one side of a building, whereas the other side looks into a courtyard shared with the neighbours. Such interlocking of closed and open courtyards resonates with the tensions between social embeddedness and the advantages of being anonymous in the city. Perpendicular City: Sophie Hartmann & Sonia Wipfler

But how can large entities of programmes, like a library or a market, be integrated into the structure? This project took two contrasting attitudes and case studies as a starting point. It refers to Henri Sauvage’s building at Rue des Amiraux – a terraced urban block of apartments enclosing a public swimming pool at its centre – as well as the proposal of a “Local Community Area” by Yamamoto & Field Shop. The latter negotiates between a minimised private cell, flexible extensions of private spaces, and the space of shared use, challenging the conventional Japanese model of one house per family. Sauvage’s layout strictly separates the programme for the general public from the spaces of the building’s inhabitants through separate entrances and apartments turning their back towards the swimming pool, whereas “Common Transmission” allows for the interaction of urban programmes and a physical crossing of the different crowds.

Co-Existence: Burak Genc & Clara Maria Fickl


The final exhibition brought together the different aspects of the students’ design fragments and analysis of the case studies. Structured along the five attitudes, it established a productive cross-reading of altogether 23 projects. Together, the projects demonstrated how housing typologies and communal spaces in housing, as well as their relations to the urban context, are shaped by different ideas of living; how they are embedded in different ideologies, and driven by larger economic and political interests.

1 Richard Sennett, “The Open City”, talk at the ­Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2013. 2 The concepts and projects analysed were the competition entry for “Neue Stadt Köln” (1961) by Oswald Mathias Ungers, the renewal of Ivry-surSeine by J. Renaudie and R. Gailhoustet (19681978) and the settlement of Quinta da Malagueira in Evora by Alvaro Siza Vieira (1974-2000). 3 Examples were the Justus van Effenstraat Complex in Rotterdam (1919-1921) by Michiel Brinkman, the Alexandra Road Estate developed (1968-1978) by Neave Brown, and the Brunswick Centre (1959) by Patrick Hodgkinson, both located in London. 4 Another example was the housing estate ­Rabenhof (1927) by Hermann Aichinger and Heinrich Schmid built during the time of Red Vienna. 5 The concept was applied in a rudimentary way in the housing projects of Villejuif in Val-de Marne (1986-1992) and Marne-la-Vallée (1997-1995), and more radically in the Ban Building (2001) by Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop, Niigata. The Filter House (1990), a competition entry by Willem Jan Neutelings, Alex Wall, Xaveer de Geyter and Frank Roodbeen, follows a similar approach. 6 The Yokohama Apartment (2009) by ON Design, the project of the Local Community Area by Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop, and the Moriyama House in Tokyo by Ryue Nishizawa (2005) were the case studies.

Students: Pia Christina Grobner Cenk GĂźzelis Stasa Kolakovic Linda Lackner Matej Malenka Rebecca Merlic Bahareh Mohammadi Wolfgang Novotny Rumena Trendafilova Dominic Schwab Svetlana Starygina Dennis Stratmann Anna Valentiny

Studies on Geometrical Composition, Wolfgang Novotny

Supervisor: Michael Hansmeyer


Sacred Grounds, Dominic Schwab



Michael Hansmeyer

Design Studio MArch



The City on the River, Anna Valentiny

Cathedral of the Universe, Svetlana Starygina


Today, we can fabricate anything. Complexity and customization are no longer constraints. Yet there is a discrepancy between the wonder of digital fabrication technology and the conventionalism of our designs. Put simply: we can fabricate more than we can design. We need a new type of design instrument. We need tools for search and exploration, rather than simply control and execution. These tools will no longer require words, labels or categories, as they must create the previously unseen. Knowledge and experience will be acquired through search and mining. As of yet, we have countless tools to increase our efficiency and precision. Now is the time to create tools to inspire us and to help us be creative: the machine as our muse! In this studio, students learned to code in order to invent, implement and explore their own design tools. After numerous design studies, these tools were applied to the design of a sacred space. Emphasis was placed on examining the scope of output inherent within a single process, particularly in regard to a spatial complexity and the ability to articulate architectural geometries at multiple scales and resolutions.



Abandoned industrial sites and old deposits by federal districts, source: Austrian Federal Environmental Agency, Register of Suspected Contamination Areas, 13.

Supervisors: Hannes Stiefel Kathrin Aste


Students: Baumgarten Christian Bonell Manuel Dusper Josip Hertz Maximilian Hudec Adam Hye Ronja Jöchl Hannah Kurtishi Blerim Patton Silvano Peinsipp Natascha Petersen Suna Samir Duha Savickis Helvijs Scheicher Doris Schwärzler Raffael Sola Luka Taehwan Kim Zebec Sara Zißler Andreas

Situated in the overlapping fields of ESC and GLC*, the thought experiments of this joint studio focused on particular socio-spatial contexts that we call critical environments: spaces, sites, areas and building structures that are endangered or highly contaminated – or dangerous in such a way that people and constructions on site are at risk. Problematic legacies of our societies’ more recent history (going back to the industrial beginnings of capitalism) that create precarious environmental conditions need to be addressed with architectural means. We no longer design individual buildings. We explore and design processes and structures that reflect, convert or negotiate the dynamic interplay of those natural and human forces that shape the constructions of the crust of the Earth. One of the studio’s aims was to reclaim land, space or identity that has been threatened by industrial exploitation, or affected by various human activities that – at least in retrospect – turned out to be hazardous and destructive. Such tasks usually belong in the fields of the humanities, natural sciences and engineering, while the role and position of architects in pursuing further interdisciplinary and necessarily comprehensive investigations of such environments has not yet been defined. However, we believe that the spatiotemporal foundation of all architectural thinking can significantly contribute to an understanding of the process-related conditions of such environments.


101 – 500

51 – 100

> 500

We refer to Charles and Ray Eames’ film Powers of Ten (1977) and to Marguerite Duras’ observation that the Earth everywhere wants to invert its structure (Le Camion, 1976). This raises questions of scale, and of relational spaces – scales that range from gigantic pits, visible from outer space, to nuclear or heavy metal contamination of idyllic landscapes. What are the contours of a site, and how does it potentially ­encroach upon its surroundings? Critical environments are complex systems, grounds that migrate in various directions. Their constitutive and often invisible components, forces and actors interact with each other and with neighbouring or distant environments in a way that is no longer causally explainable. The studio’s experimental architectural design proposals study the dynamic forces of such sites and attempt to orient them in the direction of desirable futures. This includes not only the rehabilitation of contaminated areas, but also the exploration of future inhabi­tation and utilization of these unstable spatial reserves. The projects research and architecturally transform the relations between each environment’s components. They identify precarious forces at play, visualize their reciprocities, and shift, alter and possibly enhance their impact. Thus the projects seek to extend the function of architecture through intensified interplay with environmental issues. The studio understands architectural design as a way of thinking about environments. It affirms that such research by design leads to a broader understanding of a critical environment’s complex require­ments and acute instabilities – and it constructs their novel poetic condition. Architecture may thus fuse with scientific and environmental realms, while simultaneously strengthening the discipline’s a­ rtistic and conceptual foundation.

REGISTER OF SUSPECTED CONTAMINATION AREAS Most projects of this studio developed concepts for the rehabilitation and transformation of sites listed in the Austrian Register of Suspected Contamination Areas (Verdachtsflächenkataster). Other projects investigated and developed similar sites in international contexts. The Register of Suspected Contamination Areas is a report published by the Austrian Federal Environment Agency. It lists more than 60,000 sites in Austria. The participants of ESC and GLC added them to the list of what we call critical environments. Suspected sites are demarcated areas of old industrial sites and landfills, which, due to past use, can pose considerable risks to human health and the environment. The assessment essentially covers the investigation of suspected areas and the environmental hazards that can arise from contaminated areas and affected sites. In addition, the report provides an overview of the status of rehabilitation and securing of contaminated sites.

Federal state Old deposit Abandoned industrial Sum site 3.201 2.912 14.547 10.559 6.002 8.135 4.948 2.603 14.839 67.746

O 76 / Natascha Peinsipp & Suna Petersen: NASU X DIALYSIS MACHINE

Burgenland 102 3.099 Kärnten 471 2.441 Niederösterreich 1.211 13.336 Oberösterreich 1.466 9.093 Salzburg 425 5.577 Steiermark 391 7.744 Tirol 648 4.300 Vorarlberg 169 2.434 Wien 314 14.498 Sum 5.224 62.522

* IKA’s platforms for Ecology Sustainability Criticality (ESC) and Geography Landscapes Cities (GLC)

Coking plant Linz

Registered contamination areas listed by Austrian federal states, 2016

Hannes Stiefel, Kathrin Aste

O 76 / Natascha Peinsipp & Suna Petersen NASU X DIALYSIS MACHINE The contamination of the site of the former coking plant in Linz is located underground and consists of aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene and cyanide. At the coking plant, coal was split up into coke and its side products, most importantly tar oil and benzene. Through accidents and bombings in the past, those substances leaked into the ground. Due to varying soil conditions, the conta­mination settled at different depths and is carried by groundwater into the Danube River.

The proposed decontamination process creates new spaces for future uses that bear traces of the former factory. Using water, pressure and heat, the ­process of transformation is derived from the function­ ing of the former coking plant and its centre of industrial production: the coke oven battery. The transformation requires a time span of 33 years and is performed by the dialysis machine N ­ aSu X. The contaminated groundwater is filtered through charcoal and reused for soil cleaning. The clean soil is then recycled as a component of the concrete used to construct urban developments on the site. The landscape appears excavated and re-formed.

BROWNFIELD O 76: COKING PLANT IN LINZ District: Municipality: Type of brownfield: Industry: Size: Period of use: Contaminants: Endangered resources: Priority class: Date of brownfield registration:

Linz Linz Abandoned industrial site Coking 350,000 m² Since 1851 PAH, benzene, cyanide Groundwater 1 15 Oct. 2009


Hannes Stiefel Kathrin Aste

Design Studio MArch




N 64 / Raffael Schwärzler & Andreas Zissler DIOQSK64, section


N 64 / Raffael Schwärzler & Andreas Zissler DIOQSK64 (Dioscuri, a QSK switch and the brownfield N64)

Millions of tons of coal are shipped halfway around the globe; turbines rotate at a constant rate of 3000 revolutions per minute, transforming steam into electrical energy. The transmitter of a sine wave oscillates at a frequency of 50 Hertz – a signal surrounding us everywhere in our daily lives. It is audible when you plug in your guitar or listen very observantly in a closed room.

installation view

industrial area at Moosbierbaum,

The industrial area Moosbierbaum near the city of Tulln has a 100-year history of military and industrial production. It holds a coal power plant, two symmetrically built towers to turn coal into energy. One of the twins is still active and will burn coal for another decade. The other has been switched off.

There is another signal. Every hour, tons of coal are blown into the hot centre, the heart of the power plant. Its boiler is a vast, vibrating exhausting combustor, creating sound through the constant oscillation of all its parts. The boiler is a giant transmitter. The other, inoperative tower is a listening aid: by coiling a spool around the boiler, it becomes a receiver for very low

frequency electromagnetic waves. You can hear the world of ubiquitous electrosmog. Listen to the tectonics of coal shipped from Eastern Europe, the USA and South America: it has a million-year story to tell. Vessels, tanks and pipes are resonant bodies, turned into speakers with specific natural frequencies.

BROWNFIELD N 64: INDUSTRIAL AREA AT MOOSBIERBAUM District: Municipality: Type of brownfield: Industry: Size: Period of use: Contaminants: Endangered resources: Priority class: Date of brownfield registration:

Tulln Zwentendorf an der Donau Abandoned industrial site Oil refinery 850,000 m² Since 1942 Mineral oil, HC Groundwater, surface water, soil 1 15 Oct. 2009


RUS K 01 / Helvijs Savickis & Manuel Bonell: NEBOLA, section


Baikonur Cosmodrome is the world’s first and largest operational space launch facility. The site has an elliptical shape, measuring 90 by 85 kilometres with the cosmodrome at its centre. It was originally built by the Soviets in the late 1950s as the base of operations for their space programme. Under the current Russian space programme, Baikonur remains a busy spaceport, with numerous commercial, military and scientific missions launched every year. All manned Russian spaceflights are launched from Baikonur. The project ‘‘Nebola’’ seeks to position Baikonur in humanity’s collective memory. The proposed architectural structure is conceived as a shared pool of knowledge, where information and memories can be shared and constructed by different

social groups. We are using architectural language to highlight the site’s importance in human history, which is comparable to that of the Pyramids of Giza. The proposed structure works with human consciousness. It results from processing collective and individual memories, and thus creates awareness of the multifaceted nature of human actions. Observing and interacting with radical anthropogenic events – terrestrial and extra-terrestrial events – can give us a better idea of the future direction of humanity. It is in our hands to create projects that have the potential to shift the direction of the current cataclysmic path. “We are only seeking Man. We have no need of other worlds. We need mirrors. We don’t know what to do with other worlds. A single world, our own, suffices us, but we can’t accept it for what it is. We are searching for an ideal image of our own world,” Stanislaw Lem wrote in his 1961 book Solaris.

Test site in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan image: Alexander Lieschen

RUS K 01 / Helvijs Savickis & Manuel Bonell NEBOLA


O 75 / Duha Samir & Doris Scheicher AREA REHABILITATION The site is located in Upper Austria, the premises of a former tannery. During the chemical process involved in tanning, chromium (III) is transformed into chromium (VI) – a highly carcinogenic substance. For 150 years, wastewater was dumped into large ponds and seeped into the soil. When a more sophisticated sewage system was introduced, the abandoned ponds were taken over by wilderness over the course of 50 years. Furthermore, it is suspected that the soil contains anthrax pathogens, presumably because infected animal cadavers were buried on site. Anthrax is a highly resistant bacterium, and its endospores are able to survive in the ground for decades. The most efficient way to eliminate anthrax pathogens is to first make the endospores germinate, and to then tackle the much weaker bacteria. This can best be done in a protected biosphere. Periodically, the

soil is exposed to infrared (IR) light to make the spores germinate, and subsequently radiated with ultraviolet (UV) light to eliminate the bacteria. After each cycle of decontamination, one layer of soil is removed and the process is restarted. The skin of the architectural structure is designed to filter natural sunlight. For this, the chromium on site is brought to crystallization in a chemical reaction. Chromium crystals show gradients of violet to almost black. The black crystals can process IR radiation and the violet ones UV rays. During the night, the cleaned soil is processed. The project’s goal is to make the plot accessible again. The architectural intervention constitutes a restoration tool as well as an instrument of observation. The structure transforms the site, represents its h ­ istory, and alerts to present conditions and dangers.

BROWNFIELD O 75: WASTEWATER PONDS OF VOGL TANNERY Wastewater ponds of Vogl tannery

Karmakshy Baikonur Contaminant deposit Space launch facility 7,360 km2 1957 to 2050 Heptyl, metals Soil, plants, groundwater 1 1 March 2017

O 75 / Duha Samir & Doris Scheicher AREA REHABILITATION, top view

District: Municipality: Type of brownfield: Industry: Size: Period of use: Contaminants: Endangered resources: Priority class: Date of brownfield registration:

District: Municipality: Type of brownfield: Industry: Size: Period of use: Contaminants: Endangered resources: Priority class: Date of brownfield registration:

Braunau am Inn Mattighofen Waste disposal site Industrial and commercial waste 62,000 m³ 1920 to 1991 Metals, chromium, HC Groundwater, surface water 3 10 April 2009

Design Studio MArch




There are over 70 active oilrigs in North Dakota. The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is a pipeline 1886 km long, currently under construction, which will transport 74-90 million litres of oil per day. Predictions say that millions of litres of oil will be spilled due to pipe leakage. Recently, construction of the DAPL reached Lake Oahe, a sacred burial site and main water source of the Standing Rock Sioux community. Should the pipeline burst, the impact would be devastating.

BROWNFIELD USA ND 01: DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE State: Area: Type of brownfield: Industry: Size: Period of use: Contaminants: Endangered resources: Priority class: Date of brownfield registration:

North Dakota Lake Oahe Contaminant deposit Oil industry 1886 km 2000 to 2017 Oil Soil, plants, groundwater 1 1 March 2017

Oil leak of the pipline

USA ND 01 / Sara Zebec & Blerim Kurtishi FUNGI TOWN – The Sabotage of the Oil Pipeline


USA ND 01 / Sara Zebec & Blerim Kurtishi: FUNGI TOWN, section

We chose the site where the pipeline crosses the Missouri River and endangers the sacred land of the Standing Rock Native American community for our intervention. We propose a hybrid structure made of natural organisms and artificial materials. The entire pipe is covered with a multi-layered skin and “mycelium wiring”. Trough bypass tubes, the skin is connected to artificially made, fungi-populated ponds. In case the pipeline leaks marginally, the mycelium will decontaminate the polluted area through metabolic processes. In case the pipe bursts and the second skin fills up with oil, pressure sensors will activate the bypass tubes, and the oil will be withdrawn by suction and rerouted into the ponds. A few weeks later, the first mushrooms will appear. The fungi will feed off the oil and decontaminate the site.

Clay pigeon shooting range

O 56 / Christian Baumgarten & Hye Ronja: THE LEVITATION OF CONTAMINATION, section

After decontamination, the next ecological stage will be launched. Nurtured by the oil, the fungi will grow into superstructures – like millions of years ago, when prototaxites populated the planet. They can grow to ten meters high, their heads measuring one meter in diameter, forming platforms and filling the air with billions of spores. This will result in the reforestation of the area as a fungi town.


O 56 / Christian Baumgarten & Hye Ronja THE LEVITATION OF CONTAMINATION

District: Municipality: Type of brownfield: Industry: Size: Period of use: Contaminants: Endangered resources: Priority class: Date of brownfield registration:

The site is part of the large military training ground of Treffling. For several decades, the area has been used as a clay pigeon shooting range. In the course of 50 years, about 108 tons of lead were fired here. The contamination of the terrain has increased with each shot. Today, lead particles and clay chips are dispersed, embedded in the soil. Once in the ground, the lead corrodes slowly. It is absorbed by the soil and surface water, and moves towards the Esterbach stream. Furthermore, it seeps through the soil layers and can reach groundwater.

Linz Linz Abandoned industrial site Not classifiable 80,000 m² Since 1962 Metals, lead Soil, groundwater 3 1 March 2003

The rehabilitation concept provides for the complete removal of the contaminated soil. It proposes digging out enough clean soil in addition to the contaminated soil in order to restore the lead content of

the entire excavation to normal levels. The higher the lead content, the deeper the excavation has to be dug. By this, a new topography is created. The purified soil is preserved and used to build a hill on site. Besides its toxic properties, lead can shield from various forms of radiation and is diamagnetic – a quality the project makes use of. Through particular arrangements of poles, diamagnetic materials can float. The architectural design proposal suggests lifting the toxic metal from the ground into the air with the help of a magnetic field. The extracted lead is recycled and processed into new lead shot. Thus the previous use of the area is preserved, while the ground’s contamination is remedied. The lead floats in a flexible cloud above the magnetic field and above the ground. The conventional clay pigeons are replaced with organic seed bombs to promote the reforestation of the area.
















Lex Communis



Open Source


Political, The

Praxis Communis






Res Communis




Tom Avermaete

A few decades ago the Italian theorist Manfredo Tafuri drew a distinction between avant-garde and experimental architecture.1 Avant-garde movements, whether they concern eighteenthcentury revolutionary architecture or certain trends in twentieth-century modernism, are always exclusive and ab­ solute, according to Tafuri. They do not enter into any fundamental association with reality, but instead attempt to construct a completely new reality. Tafuri contrasts the avant-garde with experimental architecture, which he recognizes in, among others, the Gothic and Mannerism. It does battle with the existing architectural language, but its eventual aim is not a complete revolution. Rather, experimental architecture aims to introduce shifts, cracks and new connotations into the existing code. As a result, the architectural project takes on an interrogative or investigative char­acter; it is not a statement. Both approaches may still be at work in contemporary architecture, but in recent years the centre of gravity seems to have shifted from a deep-rooted notion that architecture is primarily an avant-garde activity, to a more experimental approach to architecture.


ARCHITECTURE AS UNLOCKING SHARED RESOURCES EXPERIMENTS WITH SHARED RESOURCES In contemporary architectural design practice, important experiments are taking place, which are challenging the traditional approach towards the urban project. Many of these experiments can be understood as practices of commoning. Design projects such as the NDSM wharf and De Ceuvel in Amsterdam, the Luchtsingel in Rotterdam, the Prinzessinnengarten in Berlin, the Yale Building Project in New Haven, and so on and so forth, have called into question the character of the architectural project by emphasizing co-production in development and realization. In such projects, the praxis of the architect is increasingly linked to the multiple actions of other actors: emphasis is placed on the co-productive nature of the enterprise. Various elements of the urban territory, as well as the knowledge and skills of citizens are understood as immanent resources that are unlocked, activated and managed by the architectural project. Are the impulses we detect in these projects the prefiguration of a broader new interpretation of the architectural project? Can we in future regard the interventions of architects as the unlocking and management of such important communal resources as territory, time

1 Manfredo Tafuri, Progetto e utopia. Architettura e sviluppo capitalistico, Rome/Bari 1973. For a further discussion of these ideas, see: Mikael Bergquist, ‘Transformation’, in: Crucial Words, eds. Gert Wingårdh and Rasmus Waern, Basel 2008, p. 172. 2


Endowed Professorship for Visionary Forms of Cities 2016/17

Anton Kos, Van meenten tot markten, Hilversum 2010.

3 Paul Valéry, ‘The Crisis of the Mind’, in: The Collected Works of Paul Valery, ed. Jackson Mathews, vol. 10: History and Criticism, New York 1962. Op. cit. Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani, in: Codes and Continuities (Oase #92), Rotterdam 2014, p. 24.

and action? It would seem so, but there is an urgent need for more reflection, discussion and even theory about such a new conception of the architectural project. NEW DEFINITIONS, ROLES AND DEPENDENCIES What notions can we use to interpret the character of the new project as interventions in a communality? Since the Middle Ages, the Netherlands has had an interesting landscape term for such a communality: the ‘meent’, the equivalent of the English ‘common’. The related word ‘commons’ refers to land or resources belonging to or affecting the whole of the community. The notion of the ‘meent’ also refers to the communal use of a part of the landscape and to how it is collectively maintained, treated and used.2 Communal resources and communal actions are brought together in the notion of the ‘meent’ and inextricably linked. Perhaps the notion of the ‘commons’ could offer an initial starting point from which to develop such a new definition of the project. Against this background, an architecture of the commons should be understood as an intervention in these common resources and in the series of collective actions that are part of them. This definition of architecture as working with available resources is vaguely reminiscent of the discourse about sustainability. But what is interesting about the abovementioned designs is that they are not about energy flows or consumption, but about resources like territory, time and human knowledge and behaviour in the built environment. They illustrate how the architectural project can be understood as the cultivation of those common resources by way of accommodating, transforming and activating them. Thus architecture gives shape to the commons, but is also shaped by it. It becomes partner in and part of a common territory, time and action. A new definition like this also entails a number of challenges. It requires a different articulation of the role of the architect. Architects will

need to be seen less as the inventors of radical forms or atmospheres, and more as the cultivators of a number of resources that have always been there: territory, time, action, as well as materiality, form and technical skill. Out of this perspective architecture appears as a bit more of an archaic activity. The French poet Paul Valéry, writing about his own work, commented: ‘I consider my archaisms innovations which may or may not establish themselves, depending on the advantages of use and on the energy of action and the field.’ 3 The second part of that quotation points to another important aspect of an architecture of the commons: it is dependent on the field of common resources and actions in which it intervenes. In the past, the fact that architecture depends on specific existing material, typological or spatial resources or on the actions of others, has sometimes been negatively interpreted. A new conception of the project could instead emphasize the cultivation of that dependence and elevate working with it to the objective of architecture. Architecture could in this way be understood more as the coordination of those dependencies. Finally, a different definition of the project also calls for a new kind of architecture criticism; one that no longer confines its accolades to formal innovation, but regards the cultivation of resources like territory, time, action and knowledge as valuable criteria in judging a design. What would happen if we were from now on to judge buildings on the basis of the way they deal with the common resources we have at our disposal? Would that lead us to new criteria, conceptual frameworks and approaches for architecture? Under the header of ‘The Commons’ we have explored during the 2016-2017 academic year these issues in a series of lectures followed by debates, in a seminar and in a research-oriented studio. The results of these provide a starting point for an answer to such questions. They are explorations of what such a new conceptions of the role of the architect, as well as the character of the project and its dependencies might entail. They invite for further experiments, debate and discourse.




WWTF research project (2014–16) hosted by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and publication (2016)


In the midst of accelerating financial and ecological crises, and multiple migration flows paired with aggressive waves of enclosure, the concept of the commons has resurfaced as a key feature in the discussion on alternative societies, social movements, and urban transformation. The debate on the commons claims new entry points for a radical repudiation of neoliberalism; it inspires the envisioning of alternatives beyond capitalism and other forms of domination. The creative insights, the energies developed in and around the debate promise to provide perspectives for a new economic, political, and social discourse that helps articulate and build on the many existing struggles challenging the politics of accumulation and exclusion. The past twenty years have been marked by a growing retreat from radical visions for alternative futures; the commons debate insists that another world is possible. Yet the promise of the commons does not imply that coming together will be free of friction. On the contrary, the commons is simultaneously made against, as well as within, existing fields of power to negotiate their manifestations, not reproduce them. As different dimensions of power organize the overdetermined terrain of the social, social movements are often caught between competing agendas, as well as in the gap between their declared aims and the actual complexity of everyday life. We call this struggle commoning. Beyond shared resources, commoning involves a self-defined community, commoners who are actively engaged in negotiating rules of access and use or the making of a social contract. As Peter Linebaugh argues, commoning is a verb, a social practice: as commons are not yet made but always in the making, they are a product of continuous negotiations, reclaiming, reproducing in common. Commoning, by its unstable and malleable nature, is a perspective, a guiding horizon. Spaces of commoning then are a set of spatial relations produced by practices that arise from coming together. They are the spaces of encounter and mediation of differences and conflict. They are also a means of establishing and expanding commoning practices. In this ambiguous space of commoning, of trying to come together without knowing how, we as a group of artists, architects, and social theorists engaged in a search for uncommon knowledge. We first approached the commons as a pool of shared resources, with Marx’s account of primitive accumulation and the massive waves of enclosure in the woods of London echoing in our minds, as well as Silvia Federici’s insistence that this accumulation process appropriates land as well as women’s bodies. We soon recognized the necessity of linking discussions on commoning to the long history of colonized lands and bodies, and how accumulation in global capitalism has always relied on the social production of race. Just as important, we agreed that the commons cannot be reduced to a physical space and that establishing the commons as a viable

Winter of distress in 1918: shortage of firewood leads to citizens’ self-subsistence in Wienerwald. Kreisky-Archiv, Inventory of Renner-Institut, Signature 14/509. Vienna Museum, inventory number 49342.

Anette Baldauf, Stefan Gruber, Moira Hille, Annette Krauss, Vladimir Miller, Mara Verlic, Hong-Kai Wang, and Julia Wieger

discourse and form of living means embracing the negotiation of social relations. Building on this, we wanted to explore what it would mean to come together as an equivocal, nonessentialist, and, in effect, highly unstable “we.” Meanwhile, over the course of our project, thousands of people seeking refuge from war, persecution, and poverty arrived in Vienna and a “culture of welcoming” turned into a decisive anti-immigrant stance and populism. As global economic discrepancies accelerated in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Vienna remained deeply implicated in growing the divide between the global North and South, East and West. As we watched the aggressive politics of enclosure taking shape, our study on commoning seemed both timely and presumptuous. THE UTOPIA OF THE EVERYDAY Here we turned to artistic practice and the concept of utopia. Building on Ernst Bloch’s concept of concrete utopia and José Esteban Muñoz’s vision of “cruising utopia,” we approached the utopia of the commons neither as an always delayed future nor as a coming together in an idealist space, but closer to what Federicci calls a “commoning with a small c”—the often invisible everyday gestures, sonic registers, and visual clues involved in trying to come together. What we term the utopia of the everyday allowed us to dwell on the potential of everyday life and to locate, in the here and now, a future that might be otherwise. As the tension between the urge to problematize and deconstruct the flaws and fault lines of prevalent spaces of commoning, and the longing to overcome pessimism and make a difference was tearing our group apart, we repeatedly found reassurance in Fred Moten’s much-quoted

statement: “I believe in the world and want to be in it. I want to be in it all the way to the end of it because I believe in another world in the world and I want to be in that.” The concept of commoning reminds us that the commons can never be fully realized: because of the very condition of the social field, there is no state of perfect togetherness. Instead, the commons serves as a guiding horizon—a cluster of imaginations on how we want to work together, live together, be together. But as the worldly, situated, and embodied practice of commoning helps us to find our way, the commons depends on a continuous subjection to scrutiny calling upon the reproduction of the norms and conventions of hierarchization and exclusion. STUDY AS / OF COMMONING Commoning was the subject as well as the intended means of our study. We approached commoning as a possible methodology, a modality of social relations, and the collective state of mind that framed our working together. The research confronted the complex double tension of the study of commoning and study as commoning. In the book resulting from our research, the study of commoning can be found in a series of entries that investigate different spaces of commoning. The entries assemble, in dialogue and also in conflict, a spectrum of distinctive accounts on commoning. Study as commoning manifests itself in the eponymous series of fragmented conversations that is intended to disrupt the flow of the book. In these texts, eight researchers with different backgrounds and training in different disciplines reflect on and literally work through the conditions, modalities, and implications of a group’s attempt to come together. While the study of commoning

ENTWERFEN ERFORSCHEN Der „Performative Turn“ im Architekturstudium Basle, Birkhäuser Publishers, 2016

IMPRINT Institute for Art and Architecture Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

Editor: Julia Wieger Design: grafisches Büro

explores more or less conventional paths of research, the later calls for their un­ doing. Study as commoning challenges the dominant division of subject/object that continues to structure the foundation of Western thought as it reflects on the challenge of letting ourselves be dispossessed and repossessed by others as we study in common. The question of commoning as methodology is most pressing when the two trajectories, study of commoning and study as commoning, converge. Two articles explore this intersection most explicitly: “Study Across Time” and “Study Across Borders” have been written collaboratively, and can be read as both a documentation of our study process as well as our endeavor to come to terms with the challenges of commoning in specific situations. “Study Across Time” documents an excursion into the past to learn more about the presence. In this collective study we tried to learn from the so-called settler movement that spread in the city of Vienna after World War I. Faced with poverty, hunger, and a devastating housing shortage, residents turned to the woods for survival and as a place to make new homes. Out of this constellation grew a powerful social movement that emphasized self-organization, collaboration, and what today is called DIY. As we struggled with the lack of documentation, we consulted historians, activists, and anarchist librarians and tried to counter the gaps in memory with our own imagination to speculate on the movement’s condition of coming together as well as the various utopia of the everyday. Our conversations brought the past into the present, and turned commoning into a practice of the here and now. “Study Across Borders” traces our collaboration with students and teachers

Angelika Schnell, Eva Sommeregger and Waltraud Indrist (eds.) Since modernism, the architectural design process has also become a social and critical practice. On the HTC platform, three design studios taught directly after each other performed research on that specific process by using design methods as the object and the tool of research at the same time. “Building the Design” (Bachelor design studio, winter 2012), “Building the Theory” (Master design studio, summer 2013) and “Play Architecture” (Bachelor

Temporary premises: Augasse 2–6, 1090 Vienna 1st floor, core A

from the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design and the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development at the University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Formally, the collaboration relied on institutional contacts; it was framed as a workshop and generously hosted by the Alle School. With regard to its content, our study group sketched out a research plan from abroad, suggesting to engage in a study of the grand-scale housing projects introduced by the Ethiopian government, but the actual encounter redirected our focus and we navigated between the recognition of the situatedness of our systems of knowledge and the making of a “we” in this precarious endeavor. Our struggle to meet was bound by the stark, uneven distribution of resources as much as the violence of Western immigration regimes, but it was also invigorated by the enjoyment of communicating, as much as miscommunicating, across borders. “The differences between us necessitate the dialogue, rather than disallow it,” Sarah Ahmed writes and continues, “a dialogue must take place, precisely because we don‘t speak the same language.” Both “Study Across Time” and “Study Across Borders” make obvious that commoning as a methodology cannot be smoothly transferred across time and space but in fact requires the ability to respond to the specificities and situatedness of the people involved. They document study as being imbued with blind spots, projections, miscommunication, Eurocentrism, the making and remaking of borders—and evoke what we, following Gayatri Spivak, have termed “having to make it without being able to.” This text is an edited version of the introduction to the book “Having to Make It, without Being Able to …,” in: Spaces of Commoning: Artistic Research and the Utopia of the Everyday, Anette Baldauf, Stefan Gruber, Moira Hille, Annette Krauss, Vladimir Miller, Mara Verlič, Hong-Kai Wang, Julia Wieger (eds.), Berlin, Sternberg Press, 2016

1 David Harvey, Rebel City: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution (London: Verso, 2012). 2 Peter Linebaugh, The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberties and Commons for All (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008). 3 Stavros Stavrides, Common Space: The City as Commons (London: Zed Books, 2016), 2. 4 Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (New York: Autonomedia, 2004). 5 Paula Chakravartty and Denise Ferreira da Silva, “Accumulation, Dispossession, and Debt: The Racial Logic of Global Capitalism—An Introduction,” American Quarterly 64, no. 3 (September 2012): 361–85. Achille Mbembe, Kritik der schwarzen Vernunft (Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2014), 11-81. 6 Massimo De Angelis and Stavros Stravrides, “Beyond Markets or States: Commoning as Collective Practice; A Public Interview, Athens, July 2009,” An Architektur, no. 23 (July 2010): 4–26. 7 Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (Wivenhoe: Minor Composition, 2013), 118. 8

Harney and Moten, Undercommons, 115–22.

9 Sarah Ahmed, Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-coloniality (London: Routledge, 2000), 180.

design studio, winter 2013) also used contemporary theories on speech acts and performativity to re-enact and reproduce their specific case studies of architectural design processes in the 20th and 21st centuries. The book, edited by Angelika Schnell, Eva Sommeregger and Waltraud Indrist, contains the students’ work, accompanied by theoretical contributions by Elke Krasny, Maximilian Müller, August Sarnitz, Claudia Slanar and Wolfgang Tschapeller, who also served as critics and respondents during the students’ studio presentations.

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IKA REVIEW presents the work of the design studios, research and publications developed at IKA during the winter term 2016. Editor: Julia Wi...