Capturing components - 'Roofs of Berlin' studio project winter semester 22/23

 Quelle: Elisa Romero, Leonidas Jakobi, Benjamin Brenner, Jiaona Hu

Prof. Giovanni Betti, LB Anna Bajanova, WM Christian Schmidts, T Angely Angulo Meza, T Kinan Sarakbi


Weekly meetings at the studio (room 314)

Wednesdays 2 pm - 6 pm

First date: April 19th at 2 pm



Our current period is marked by a crisis, and our built environment bears significant responsibility for it. To effect change, we need to focus on the biggest lever: material usage. 

The Weizmann Institute in Israel reports that in 2020, man-made products have surpassed all living things in terms of mass. The material comprising the built environment -concrete, asphalt, bricks, and aggregates- accounts for over 80% of this mass. Although building from renewable resources like wood can help transform the built environment into a planetary-scale carbon sink, doing so puts additional economic pressure on already-strained ecosystems.

However, one abundant resource is found in our waste streams, particularly construction waste, which constitutes over 55% of Germany's solid waste by weight. To move towards a circular design paradigm, we need to radically rethink our relationship with materials. Rather than assuming material availability, we must grapple with the concept of material scarcity.


Course Thesis and Structure

In this design studio, we aim to challenge the conventional design process by establishing a new relationship with materials and creating a fresh design paradigm. We will do this through the collective creation of a 1:1 pavilion made of reclaimed materials.

The pavilion will be intentionally designed to be taken apart, as the process of dismantling it will be the initial focus of the subsequent semester's studio.

Typically, the design process involves starting with a brief or program, analysing it to generate an architectural form, and then looking for materials to materialise the design. However, this has often led to practices characterised by formal purity and material excess. In contrast, we seek to invert this process by prioritising the selection of materials and allowing them to shape the design.


Procurement/ Scanning:

We have established a collaboration with a demolition company to serve as our source of materials. We believe that what is commonly referred to as "waste" is actually a valuable resource that has yet to be utilised. In order to expand the catalogue of available materials, students are encouraged to contribute based on what is available in their immediate surroundings, as well as their own interests and curiosities.

We will start the design studio by creating a digital catalogue of the available materials supplied by our partner demolition company, with support from the team at InKüLe (Innovationen für die künstlerische Lehre). The first phase will focus on creating a collective catalogue of materials and resources that will be available for subsequent phases of the project. We will explore questions related to material passports and properties relevant to designing with reused materials, and the procurement process will become a curation process and the first step in the design process. Representational techniques such as photography and 3D scanning will be used to capture useful information about the materials. We will also investigate the precision, accuracy, and trust in reusing existing materials. The end goal is to create a collective catalogue of the constituent elements of our pavilion, which will serve as the basis for the design and be collated as a museum exhibit. In the second phase, we will study assembly strategies using the catalogue of available materials and resources. Students are encouraged to add to the catalogue based on the material availability around them and their interests.



This catalogue of parts will then constitute our basis for design.

Throughout, there will be an ethos of respect for the existing materials, and the goal will be to explore how to combine them in small prototypical details that can serve as both prototypical architectural elements (such as a wall, a floor, or a step) and conceptual assemblies that render explicit meanings imbued in the found and catalogued materials. The aim will be to create architectural elements that not only function but also carry a narrative and cultural value through the use of reused and repurposed materials.

Formal and programmatic considerations will be paired with reversible connection strategies that minimise material intervention and maximise reusability.

Designs will be collectively assessed and reviewed until one will emerge as the proposal to be collectively  realised.


1:1 Construction

The latter half of the summer semester aims to bring together the lessons and investigations into a single collective 1-to-1 realisation. This project, while still experimental and prototypical, will exceed the previous work of the semester in terms of scale and ambition. Its aim is to visually represent the lessons learned throughout the entire year-long course through both architectural and sculptural elements.


Weekly Program

KW 16 (19.04.23) Intro

KW 17 (26.04.23) Material Catalogue + Digital Tool Workshop in the morning

KW 18 (03.05.23) First Pavilion Concept

KW 19 (10.05.23) Connections + Digital Tool Workshop in the morning

KW 20 (17.05.23) Iteration + Digital Tool Workshop in the morning

KW 21 (24.05.23) Mid-term presentation

KW 22 (31.05.23) Design concept finalisation + Digital Tool Consulting in the morning

KW 23 (07.06.23) Design Development

KW 24 (14.06.23) Design Development + Digital Tool Consulting in the morning

KW 25 (21.06.23) Design Freeze Pavilion

KW 26 (28.06.23) Material preparation

KW 27 (05.07.23) Realisation + Documentation

KW 28 (12.07.23) Realisation + Documentation

KW 29 (19.07.23) Final presentation


Pavilion opening at Rundgang (21st July 2023)