Bachelor Project

At the centre of the Bachelor course is a design project run over the course of a semester. The project, framed within a thematic investigation, is carried out in small groups, each contributing to a wider group study of a given situation. A specific neighbourhood or context is chosen in Munich within which students act on a variety of sites.

The focus is in the design of buildings, interiors and urban spaces from strategic thinking to construction detail. The course encourages a growing sensitivity to the character of the city and how the design of a building engages with the wider character of the urban context.

The Professors are supported by Assistant Claudia Duell-Buchecker and a number of part-time Junior assistants who are practicing architects in the city. Alongside the design project a lecture series is run addressing related themes.

SS 2024 – Bachelor Project (4th Sem / Exchange / BA Thesis) Leaving no Trace
Light-touch living in Freiham Nord

Permanence has been the foundation of most of our teaching and perhaps of our individual architectural practices to date but this semester’s theme 'leaving no trace' stands as a counterpoint to this position. It provokes us to confront our preconceptions as to how to build sustainably and sits comfortably within the broad investigation of the teaching studio towards a sustainable architecture, engaging with the very real emergency condition of the Anthropocene.

Leaving no trace is about the ecological footprint of architecture, it means touching the ground lightly. The architecture of the so-called Dark Ages (early Middle Ages 5th-10th centuries AD) was primarily in wooden construction and as such there is almost no evidence left to archaeologists investigating their formation. Leaving no trace is about time, short, medium, long term. It offers an alternative perspective on how to ‘build to last’. It acknowledges that some materials have a working life and then need replacing, re-covering, re-newing. Leaving no trace means using an economy of means. Leaving no trace is about the use of organic unprocessed material. It is a timely provocation to the process-led and highly unsustainable condition of the global construction industry. We are reminded of Walter Segal’s self- build method which was based on traditional timber construction methods modified to use standard modern materials. The need for wet trades such as bricklaying and plastering is avoided, resulting in a light-weight method which can be built with minimal experience and is ecologically sound. The roofs tended to be flat with many layers of roofing felt, allowing the creation of grass-covered roofs. Foundations are minimal, often just paving slabs, the strength coming from the geometry of their construction. Leaving no trace can mean transient or transitional. That means questioning the idea of permanent solutions for fixed problems and instead thinking of tolerant strategies that can be designed for an unknown future or one of constant change and evolution.

The studio will work on various locations within the newly built first phase and soon to be built second phase residential development at Freiham Nord, an area west of the centre of Munich. We will consider three strategies for intervention; fringe spaces, densification of existing space and meanwhile use. Some projects may be proposed on sites where edges of development can be reinforced with fringe development, like tassels on a carpet edge, establishing transitional structures between the city and the landscape. Other projects may be located in the found space between things, within courtyards, as extensions to what already exists, or on unsuitable sites for mainstream housing bringing densification by adding small scale buildings intelligently. In recognition of the long timeframes for developing new residential areas and regeneration projects a strategy of meanwhile uses can gain ‘quick wins’ on the site to engage the community, to bring immediate use and act as testbeds for future ideas, creating a sense of ownership and identity. The third strategy is therefore about temporary use with a strong emphasis towards the communal and transient.

Through these projects the studio will explore lightweight, dry-trade construction providing new buildings as gifts to the already planned development which are ‘stitched into’ the residential structure, defining boundaries better and clarifying ownership as well as introducing a much-needed supply of alternative housing.

Stephen Bates and Bruno Krucker, April 2024
Leaving no Trace Light-touch living in Freiham Nord

Bachelor Project

SS 2024
Leaving no Trace – Semester brief

Semester introduction

Introduction Exercise one

Introduction Exercise two

Introduction Exercise three

Introduction Exercise four

Introduction Exercise five

Introduction Exercise six