Vitra Design Museum
Vitra Design Museum
Charles-Eames-Str. 2
79576 Weil am Rhein

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Vitra Design Museum | Together! The New Architecture of the Collective
Kommune 1, 1968 В© Werner Bokelberg.

Vitra Design Museum

The New Architecture of the Collective

June 3–September 10, 2017


Opening talk: “Together! How do we want to live?”: June 2, 6pm, with Ilka and Andreas Ruby, Daniel Niggli, Angelika Fitz, and Kieran Long
Buckminster Fuller Dome

Vitra Design Museum
Charles-Eames-Str. 2
D-79576 Weil am Rhein
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Housing is scarce—that has become evident in the last years. Real estate prices in big cities continue to skyrocket, conventional ideas of development prove unable to meet demands. The reaction to these challenges has been a silent revolution in architecture—towards collective building and living. Using models, films, and walk-in displays, Together! addresses this global phenomenon by presenting a broad array of collective building and living projects from Europe, Asia, and the United States. An overview of historical precedents for the current wave of collectives demonstrates that the idea of collectivity has been a recurring theme in the history of architecture, from the reformist ideas of the nineteenth century to the hippies and squatters of the twentieth, touting the slogan “Make love, not lofts.”

The exhibition begins with a look at the history of social housing ideals that mostly originated in a protest against the existing conditions. The urgency is evident: a series of films shows examples of social unrest triggered by housing shortages. There have been many attempts to respond to these challenges—for instance the Phalanstères invented by Charles Fourier (1772–1837), the late-nineteenth-century Monte Verità colony in the Swiss part of the Ticino, the housing cooperatives of the 1920s, the autonomous community of Christiania in Copenhagen, and the Karthago cooperative in Zurich. Many of them were closely related to the social shifts of their day. It is no surprise that they are once more gaining currency, as more and more people live different from the nuclear family—as couples, single parents, singles, or elderly people living alone.

A new architecture of the collective has already become real. It may be found in cities as diverse as Berlin, Zurich, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Vienna. The innovative thrust of this new collective architecture extends to fundamental principles such as volume, façade, and materials: the specific challenges and limited resources confronting the architects give rise to a unique aesthetic, blurring the boundaries between private and public sphere.

To show that the new collectives emerge as social laboratories not least because the digitalisation gives rise to new possibilities of life/work organisation, a full-scale model of a “cluster apartment” enables visitors to enter and experience its communal and private spaces. To get an insider’s look into everyday life in the new collectives, the photographer Daniel Burchard documents the everyday life in eight housing projects in photographic essays from a variety of countries. Case studies answer some of the most pressing questions when it comes to innovative housing forms: How does the new architecture of the collective work in economic terms, which new challenges come with it, and how can it actually be realised?

These projects show that non-profit collective housing experiments can thrive within—and transform—the commercially driven real-estate market for the better. Grassroots movements such as Occupy have had a dramatic impact on the political landscape, just as the »sharing economy« is revolutionising the very idea of property ownership. These ideas are changing the way in which inhabitants and architects together conceive new forms of living. They provide an answer to a central question of our time: how do we want to live together in the future?

Participating architects
Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter (Denmark), CASA Architecten und Vrijburcht Stichting (Netherlands), ifau und Jesko Fezer/Heide von Beckerath (Germany), Hütten und Paläste Architekten (Germany), Naruse Inokuma Architects (Japan), Naka Architects’ Studio (Japan), Studio mnm (Japan), Osamu Nishida and Erika Nakagawa (Japan), Ryue Nishizawa (Japan), ON design partners (Japan), Jinhee Park, SsD (KR), pool Architektur ZT (Austria), gaupenraub +/- (Austria), einszueins architektur (Austria), Buol & Zünd (Switzerland), Beat Rothen Architektur (Switzerland), Müller Sigrist Architekten (Switzerland), pool Architekten (Switzerland), Enzmann Fischer und Partner (Switzerland), Schneider Studer Primas (Switzerland), Lacol Cooperativa d’Arquitectes (Spain), BKK-2 (Austria), Silvia Carpaneto + fatkoehl architekten + BARarchitekten with Die Zusammenarbeiter (Germany), Michael Maltzan Architecture (USA), Duplex Architekten (Switzerland), Santiago Cirugeda of Recetas Urbanas (Spain), all(zone) (Thailand).

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