Contemporary Housing – inspiration from Berlin
What kind of housing to choose? How to build? What and how to share?
BAUGRUPPE (in German “bauen” – to build, “Gruppe” – group) is a term for a concept of building and living based on the individual initiative of mini-builders and architects. An architect and a group of individuals cooperate directly to build a house, usually an urban apartment building that is adapted to the specific needs of the clients as well as to their common ideas about shared spaces and functions of the building.
The “Baugruppe ist super!” exhibition presents the most interesting examples of Baugruppe projects carried out by renowned Berlin architects: BARarchitekten, fatkoehl Architekten, HEIDE & VON BECKERATH, ifau and Jesko Fezer, Kaden + Partner and zanderrotharchitekten. With more than 3000 apartments and 200 houses constructed over the past ten years, Berlin is the European leader in terms of Baugruppe projects. The exhibition examines experimental projects that have developed new solutions and strategies under the condition of rising living costs and have been implemented on often difficult and sometimes seemingly unattractive sites for housing development companies. This model is also widely-spread in Freiburg (1900 apartments) or in Hamburg (more than 1600 apartments). The Project “R 50 – cohousing” was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2015.
What differentiates Baugruppe projects from ordinary homes is primarily the dialogue between the architect and the client (a group of mini-builders) during the design process – every project is unique and reflects the dynamics and the requirements of the group. A project can be initiated by an architect or the members of the group, the future inhabitants of the house, who buy a plot of land. After that the architect and the Baugruppe start organising common meetings to openly discuss the design of the building. When an agreement is reached, a residential structure is built. The Baugruppe members become owners of their individually adapted apartments. What is special about Baugruppe projects is the new kinds of neighbourhood relationships, shared spaces such as meeting rooms and shared terraces, and a number of sustainable design solutions. The project does not necessarily include constructing new housing; many projects are based on the renovation or conversion of existing buildings.
“The utilization of unused building land will stimulate the creation of a compact and efficient city, which is in concord with the current urban planning goals,” says the architect Vladimír Fialka from the Planning and Development Institute of the City of Prague. In his opinion, Baugruppe members are very often committed people who care about where they live, which in turn enhances the quality of neighbourhood relations and creates a stable social environment.
The “Baugruppe ist super!” exhibition will feature presentations by Berlin architects and a “Baugruppen-Casting” – a workshop led by guest experts from Germany. In addition, on certain weekdays, the curators and architects of the exhibition will be present at the exhibition to answer visitors’ questions and to react to their suggestions. Moreover, they will analyse the potential for Baugruppe projects in the Czech Republic. The exhibition is co-organised by the Prague Institute of Planning and Development and has received financial support from the Czech-German Future Funds, the Czech Architecture Foundation, the City of Prague and the Goethe-Institut in Prague and the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and takes place during the 20th anniversary of the Prague – Berlin City Partnership in 2015.

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