You Can Have It All

David Ames
Universität Stuttgart

Project idea

As production is leaving many german cities in search for cheaper labor and better conditions for continued growth, many of the former factories are now being demolished. In the wake of this development a large part of our post-war architectural heritage is erased. The project proposes a new life for these old buildings, but not by giving them entirely new functions, but rather by rethinking what a modern urban production could be.

In a time of climate crisis repair becomes a bigger and bigger factor in our quest to slow down CO2 emissions and material waste. But in order to create a new culture of repair we need also new kinds of buildings. Buildings that connect the consumers to the repair of their things and connect people who repair with each other, without the need for endless growth.

Project description

The Bau F in Stuttgart Feuerbach by Georg Heinrichs is an award winning factory for the folder company Leitz. Since 2015 it is mostly empty and because of the sheer size and problems with asbestos, insulation and heritage protection all attempts to rehabilitate the building have been unsuccessful. In search of a new life in this building the project imagines an experimental reuse as part of a process of establishing independent workshops, which focus on repair and sustainability.

In order to avoid the bad insulation, asbestos and heritage protection a quirk of the building becomes its chance at a new life. Roughly 1/3 of the built mass was not build in the initial construction during the 1960s but only recently in the 1990s. If a first intervention starts here, a lot of problems are simplified. In order to create a public building a new circulation system is introduced which also creates the possibility for different sizes of smaller workshops and a common area to meet in.

Technical information

This new circulation system requires a few cuts within the grid of the existing structure and simple new partitions and stairs made from wood. These interventions are always modified to the specific situation, like with the deconstruction of an existing canopy or the newly opened roof terrace. In these moments the building also becomes readably in its construction and as part of a repair process in and of itself.

The remaining 2/3 undergo a minimal sealing of the asbestos and become a place to imagine possible futures. As a sort of extra space this creates a freedom to explore what could be possible without determining everything from the beginning, an integral part of repairing everything from bikes to buildings. The interventions that are fully planned therefore aim to also give a maximum of freedom in adapting and appropriating them for future users of the building.

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