The Osthang Project
Building the City Together explores the topic of action in public space, through the scope of a common space for living, working and thinking together designed and built on the Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt in 2014. The Osthang Summer School, curated by raumlaborberlin, invited 60 participants to settle there for three weeks as a new artist colony. Artists? Or were they architects, furniture makers, landscape designers, cooks, or maybe civilians?
Through different levels of experience, participants of the project explored opportunities for experiencing and living the appropriation of processes of spatial production, and the urban sphere in the larger scale. In the process, they rethought a neglected space in the city, unearthed previously unimagined claims and gave it new impulses for an unknown future. Drawings and sculptures were made, poems and songs were written, recipes were designed, questions were asked: how do we want to work? What do we wish to share? What is private, public or common? Can it be sustainable? Are we being productive? What reality have we been living? Can we make it a dialogue?
Questions of architecture as a practice, instances of commoning, strategies for living together, opportunities and limits of temporary architecture arose and were carefully considered, actively researched, and discussed both in and out of the frame of the Summer School. Different modi operandi for different groups of tutors permitted different approaches to these questions (among which Atelier Bow-Wow, ConstructLab, umschichten, orizzontale, Collectif Etc and Martin Kaltwasser). This publication contains introductions to the five structures built on the Osthang, including interviews with and text by the individuals involved in the projects, as well as three conversations with professionals reflecting on three aspects of participative projects in urban context: Experimental Architecture, Commoning and Cooperation, and Incremental Urbanism.
raumlabor Berlin (Markus Bader, Jan Liesegang)