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AA Berlin Laboratory 2016 – Paperspace


Venue: University of the Arts – UdK Berlin




The ‘Building Laboratory: paperspace’ revisits forgotten pearls of utopian modernism of both East and West Berlin. Based on these precedents that were pioneering at the time but are mostly unappreciated today, we will zoom into their hidden DNA, analise their topologies and textures in order to extract their embedded ideas and formal principles. Departing from the study of existing examples of the radical socialist East Berlin and the heterotopian West Berlin, we will use them as inspiration to reenact and further develop them into our own concepts in form of built 1:1 structures that will ultimately merge into one large organic superstructure. Similar to testing the qualities of an architectural proposal through scale models, all experiments will be entirely realised in paper like a probe or a forerunner of higher ambitions and future possibilities. We will experiment with paper-made modules and repetitive shapes leading to larger complex formations, exploring the production of space through method-based working techniques such as abstracting, rescaling, overlaying, intersecting, folding, duplicating etc. Oscillating between bare structure, geometric sculpture and constructivism, the walkable real-size spaces provide a platform to test new approaches and concepts. The AAVS Berlin will not only look at the legacy of Berlin’s famous modernist ideas but will likewise engage with current examples of experimental local architecture and urban life through a series of visits and events, l­­ectures and talks.


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AA Berlin is an applied research and building laboratory of the AA located at the University of the Arts in Berlin. For several consecutive years, the programme has documented the changing landscape of Berlin and its relation to the experiment of identifying Berlin’s special status as a ‘heterotopia’ or counter-site. Building on the city’s tradition of experimental construction, we set up the ‘Building Laboratory’.

We will continue to collaborate with Norbert Palz (http://www.arch.udk-berlin.de/palz/index.php), professor in Digital and Experimental Design at the University of the Arts Berlin, one of Germany’s leading art schools.
The workshop will be led by Christoph Zeller with support from Olaf Kneer, Marianne Mueller and others, and will be hosted by the University of the Arts Berlin. A public programme of lectures and seminars with speakers from architecture and art will provide an extended stage for a debate on experimental design / construction.

The course is directed by Marianne Mueller and Olaf Kneer, AA Graduates, fomer unit masters and research cluster curators. Olaf and Marianne are directors of Casper Mueller Kneer Architects based in London and Berlin.(www.caspermuellerkneer.com).  Recent projects include the galleries for White Cube in Bermondsey, London and commissions for the Wellcome Trust and fashion house Celine in Paris.

This year, the course will be co-directed by Christoph Zeller, who established the architectural studio Zeller & Moye with bases in Mexico City and Berlin after having worked over ten years for Herzog & de Meuron and SANAA. He was head of design for The Tate Modern Project, London and the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012, London. He studied architecture at the University of Arts Berlin under Günter Zamp Kelp and Lothar Baumgarten and at the TU Berlin under Diane Lewis. Christoph is currently teaching a master unit in urban studies at the UIA in Mexico City and has been jury member, lecturer and guest critic at various universities. (www.zellermoye.com)

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