installation views of the exhibition
„Deutschlandscape“ – may well confound preconceived notions of the contemporary architecture scene in Germany. The fresh overview of over 38 built projects throughout Germany dating between 2000 and 2004 is a deliberate shift in focus away from metropolitan urban centres to the more peripheral areas on the urban fringe.
Deutschlandscape is an assemblage, the word itself a laconic parody of a typology. A hybrid scape, it intends to provide a variable frame for a heterogeneous selection of architectural projects that undertake to reactivate spaces within the urban sprawl, suburban and de-industrialised zones. These are residual, often overlooked spaces, the amorphous in-between spaces which evade description, or those which have outlived their former usefulness.
The aesthetic ambivalence of the diffuse outlying urban landscape with its storage warehouses, malls and business parks interspersed with housing estates is such that architects rarely leave their mark here, and yet the sheer banality of such architectural vernacular becomes - within the Deutschlandscape - a basis for architectural intervention and transformation.
In their collective argument, the projects exhibited within the Deutschlandscape seek to open up a broader discourse - focussing upon the featureless landscapes of the urban margins and provincial towns.
In this sense, the focus of the Deutschlandscape confronts a malaise, which makes itself felt throughout Europe. How to influence this ever-spreading and indistinct terrain, and in what ways can architecture take on this task?
The periphery therefore becomes identifiable not simply as a place but also as a condition - one lying beyond the bounds of cognition, out of the focus of the architectural mainstream, and yet provides a fertile ground for an architectural avant-garde prepared to confront such problematic areas.
Epicentres at the periphery represent architectural flashpoints. They reveal that it is possible to generate paradigmatic shifts by administering architecture in homeopathic doses in areas seemingly impervious to change. They show how the urban margins have become significant fields of architectural experimentation.
With ironic self-reflection, architectural norms and conventional typologies are reworked and given a new aesthetic twist. The built projects by a critical young generation of German architects reveal a highly innovative use of new materials, generate suburban 'plug-ins' - temporary and mobile architecture, and alter the familiar with skill to create solutions which are both provocative and enigmatic. Existing structures are 'implanted' with new functions, creating surreal juxtapositions and architecture that profoundly influences its surroundings in spite of its small or moderate scale. The most effective architectural strategies here tend towards the micropolitical - incorporating the everyday, or appropriating and reworking what is already there. Rejecting elitist aestheticism and taking risks, the exhibited architectural statements represent a spirit of invention within a profession beleaguered by economic constraints.
© urban drift productions Ltd. 2005   impressum   Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau- und Wohnungswesen