Maintenance and Repair on Site

Innovedum Lehrprojekt Herbstsemester 2023

This project integrates the teaching of heritage preservation, construction and sustainability with architectural design. The design studio on building within the existing context, an elective on heritage preservation and an on-site design-build seminar week are aligned to offer a focus semester on repair and maintenance in architecture.

In the context of the climate crisis, resource scarcity, and the transformation of our cities, the following has become clear: Our task as architects is no longer to build new, but to take care of our built environment, which we inherit from previous generations. This requires a deep understanding of existing buildings and their construction, the ability to act in a caring but also creative manner with appropriate tools and strategies.

This heritage-led teaching project combines an architectural design studio (Studio Tom Emerson) with the elective Repair (Prof. Silke Langenberg), a design-build seminar week and focus works (optional) to teach students to apply the methods of heritage preservation (Denkmalpflege) to architectural design. Students will survey carefully selected objects, design creative repair strategies and maintenance measures, apply these on-site (seminar week), and reflect on their learnings and failures. These will be accompanied by inputs on the theory and practice of heritage preservation, and self-reflection on the repairability of designs. Students will develop an attitude toward prolonging the lifespan of buildings first, and designing new second.

This project strongly builds on the planned curriculum revision at D-ARCH which envisions integrated design studios and will serve as a mock-up. The insights gained will be carefully documented and communicated within D-ARCH and beyond. The course will be monitored with the help of the steering committee of the curriculum revision.