This travel studio unpacks and directly engages the influences, actors, and sites of public space production through research, on-site observation, and active participation. In Berlin, a city that has spawned exemplary historical and contemporary innovations in the formation of public space, students focus on the formative mechanisms behind their production.
Although the studio deals with urban and architectural issues, it is multi-disciplinary in nature. The collaborative nature of the project could appeal to DMBA students, as well as Grad Design, Interior Design, Community Arts, Social Practice students, or any student with an interest in public space production.
Behind the Production of Public Space
Instructors: Christopher Falliers, Antje Steinmüller
SF campus: 3 days to be determined
Berlin: May 27–June 17, 2016
Housing check-in: Friday, May 27, 2016
Housing check out: Friday, June 17, 2016
Berlin is simultaneously Hauptstadt (Capital city) marked by politics and symbolism, Raumstadt (spatial city) articulated by coherent and jarring spatial definitions, and Sofortstadt (immediate city) exhibiting a culture of radicalism and action, most recently manifest in the pioneering efforts around interim-use strategies for the many urban voids left behind by World War II bombing and the removal of the Berlin Wall. It is a city marked by contrast, turmoil, and energy of its past and present.
Oversized statues of Marx and Engels sit next to the Neo-Classicism of Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s Altes Museum. Fragments of the Berlin Wall in Potsdamer Platz sit among new commercial/retail constructions by Renzo Piano and Arata Isozaki. The "pioneer fields" at Tempelhof juxtapose citizen DIY playfulness within a Nazi-era airport. The reconstruction of Berlin after World War II, the isolation of the Cold War city, new developments following the post-1989 reunification, and contemporary city life reveal Berlin as a city of continuing evolution, contradiction, and complexity. All of these influences and cultural constructs make Berlin one of the most unique contemporary cities in the world. It is a city with exemplary artifacts to explore -- and current players/actors/experts to engage.
A "mobile think tank of urban actors," this studio presents a range of entrepreneurial approaches to the activation of public space through site visits (supplemented by guided tours and presentations) and discussion sessions with local guest speakers. Public space -- and the confluence of factors that shape it -- is by definition locally specific: based on cultural patterns, urban formation processes, current social trends, and the historical, political and economic conditions of a place.
An introductory three-day seminar in San Francisco in May introduces specific case studies of present and precedent models. These case studies become key components of the travel itinerary. In Berlin students engage directly in an ongoing educational urban commons project known as "Die Gaertnerei." Unfolding on unused green space in Berlin’s trendy Neukoelln district, Die Gaertnerei is a collaboration between raumlaborberlin, a multidisciplinary design collaborative, and the educational non-profit organization Schlesische27.
The result is an "urban gardening school" that brings together refugees, volunteers, and local residents over planting, cooking, and classes on landscaping, language, and the navigation of German bureaucracy -- all of it taking place in a jointly-produced environment that understands itself as both art installation and urban respite. As a project for a neighborhood of immigrant communities, the influence of non-German cultures and refugee crisis are important parts of the public space dialogue.
In the course of their research, students produce rigorous drawings and diagrams that catalog the spatial characteristics and the underlying historical, political, and organizational mechanisms of Berlin’s public space spectrum. This visual catalog, conceived as a "set of instructions" for the production of public space, will be printed as a publication.
About the Instructors
Antje Steinmüller is an assistant professor of Architecture, whose research focuses on temporary urban strategies and their capacity to inform longer-term urban development. A native of Germany, she received part of her architecture education at the Technical University of Berlin. As a John K. Branner Fellow at UC Berkeley, Antje conducted field research on bottom-up processes that transformed the space left behind by the Berlin Wall. At CCA, she has taught two ENGAGE courses on the topic of alternative models for urbanism, and two summer studios on the subject of public urban space: one in Berlin (Formations, summer 2013), and one in Vienna and Madrid (Urban Act(ivat)ors, summer 2015). Together with Chris Falliers, she previously collaborated with raumlaborberlin, the main collaborator for the Berlin Mechanisms summer studio.
As principal/founder of u l a design (1999-) and associate professor of Architecture, Christopher Falliers’ professional and academic practice engages in architecture, public art/ public space design, and urban/architectural research. Chris’ area of academic research and professional production focuses on the design of constructed public artifacts. Graduate seminars and advanced architectural studios have looked at the relationship between contemporary theory and media in the description of "city," syntheses of public art and architecture, hybridization of "parks," and the use of branding tactics in neighborhood revitalization. He has taught both ENGAGE and travel studios on public space topics, and conducted grant-funded research on visualizing urban formation. Professional practice centers architectural design as the link between public programming, art, and urban/infrastructural design. This has included collaborations with artists and clients on merging public art and architecture and, with Antje, exploring the evolution of food truck environments through the design of temporary public architectures.
Architecture Undergraduate Students: successful completion of Architecture Studio 4 and instructor approval
Interior Design Students: successful completion of Studio 4
Architecture Graduate Students: successful completion of Architecture Studio 2 and instructor approval
In addition all students must be in good academic, conduct, and financial standing for the 2015-16 academic year.
What course fulfills
Architecture undergraduate students: this course satisfies 3 units equivalent to one half of an Advanced Architecture Studio or one 3 unit Architecture or Studio Elective.
Interior Design Students: this course satisfies a Studio Elective or Interior Design Advanced Interdisciplinary Studio.
For all other undergraduate students: this course satisfies a Studio Elective.
Architecture graduate students: this course satisfies one 3 unit Elective.
For all other graduate students: this course satisfies a Grad-wide Elective.
$4,950 + $50 registration fee
Included in program fee
3 credits, housing, museum entrance fees, local transportation, main project supplies, and ﬁeld trips, and travel/health insurance.
Not included in Program fee
Airfare to and from Berlin, ground transportation to and from airport in Berlin, meals
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All CCA summer study-abroad courses (including the New York Studio) are coordinated by the Office of Special Programs.