Artistic and Architectural Strategies in Constructing Identities for a Small Town
In his Lecture 'Pre- and Post-Architecture' at the International Bauhaus-Colloquim 2009 declares Philipp Oswalt, today's Director of the Bauhaus Dessau, that the profession of the Architect is increasingly determined by questions that have nothing in common with the traditional role of the design architect: such as the question, how to develop a demand for (new) architecture, and the question, how to deal with existing buildings that have lost their purpose.
The historical Market Square of the small town Biedenkopf, which is rich in history and tradition, can be described as such a place: as a consequence of the advanced auto-mobilization of the population, almost all trade businesses have moved away from the historical, yet tight inner city into the industrial area close by the bypass road. Large new developments for public services, medical and educational purposes have long since been erected on the perimeter of the town, and cultural uses are, in the age of home-entertainment, insufficient to fill the city center. A Town is imploding.
In co-operation with the Institute of European Urban Studies, Chair for Construction Management / Project Development, students of the disciplines of Architecture, Urbanism, Design, and Public Arts, will, together with numerous local actors, develop Strategies and Projects that aim to discuss and revive an inner city which has become useless. As a practice of 'Quartiersmanagement', defined as a sustainable Networking of local people, we will, aside from deriving the ususal master plans that have no use in the face of lacking investors, try 'communicative' methods to instigate urban renewal and change.
Aside from aquiring the necessary theoretical background of the relevant discourses, construction of identity, home, tradition, memory and its renewal, role models, connectedness to a place, regionalism, and studying known artistic and architectural strategies to incite discussion and change, cultural management, gentrification, etc., we will develop and test our own miniature projects in mixed groups of architects and artists.
We will jointly visit the town at the beginning of our project for an intense workshop phase involving local people as well, and have a brief on-site presentation phase at the end of the semester. We will draft scenarios for the future of the city, and discuss pros and cons to find new ideas and strategies. Test designs for a few open lots can complement our studies.
Dipl.-Ing. Olaf Pfeifer M.A.
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter 2005-2012