A further thought: “Do you just exist, or are you living?”
Photos: Eichholtz, Klauenberg, Hasselder, Wieczorek, homenotshelterwien – Petra Panna Nagy
What could this famous slogan of a Swedish furniture shop have to do with the situation of the many people obliged to leave their homeland? Many of them can barely imagine a proper home in a far-off place, and end up at best in something amounting only to accommodation. Architects and town planners do indeed find it an enormous challenge to provide a really satisfying answer to this question of tackling the structural aspect of immigration in a manner that delivers solid integration rather than crumbling brickwork.
In 2015, the Hans Sauer Foundation used this as the basis for a project entitled Home not Shelter!, in which students of architecture at Jade Hochschule Oldenburg, a college governed by the University of Hannover, and the technical universities of Berlin, Vienna and Munich developed their own visions of how to make it easier for refugees to encounter our culture. The project approach is based on joint living communities of students and migrants, and is intended to show whether opportunities to integrate and participate can be improved by urban planning and architectural measures. It is not merely a matter of creating theoretical models. Students and refugees live together and actively work on the structural transformation of buildings and rooms such as those in Vienna’s Kempelengasse, thereby allowing them to sound out the actual possibilities on offer. We are eager to know whether viable, intercultural urban-planning approaches will result.