Bachelor / Thesis 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 2022 – Bachelor Project Landform and Infrastructure
Sustainable settlements in the Munich fringe

The studios’ continued investigation into exploring definitions of a sustainable architecture focusses this semester upon patterns of development and re-interpretating the ground to support future inhabitation. To develop an enabling strategy that modifies and adjusts the land, reinforcing the sense of place and providing for the basis of a settlement to be established or extended is to make what we may call a ‘Landscape Infrastructure’.

The saddle-backed hill of Maiden Castle dominates the surrounding Dorset landscape in south-west England. First occupied in the Neolithic and early Bronze Age it was subsequently re-settled in the early iron Age and by the Romans and again briefly in the 4th century. It may be seen as a paradigm of a ‘landscape infrastructure’. The site was shifted and adjusted to create a framework for settlement which had a special sense of place. The structure of embankments and ridges, originally built for defence now offers opportunities for reverie and hiking. Thus, the original shaping of the ground continues to encourage different kinds of occupation. The garden allotments adjacent to Fulham Palace in south-west London are organised as a pattern of plots to provide domestic horticulture. Accessed by a network of primary and secondary pathways the individuality of each plot becomes evident by the small building structures erected for the storage of garden tools, vine covered terraces for sitting and other structures mostly built from found materials. Water pumps are located strategically at small clearings across the site and communal pavilions provide toilet facilities, a shop and a place to chat. Both examples inspire ideas about patterns of development enabling inhabitation and community.

The projects will explore how the ground of a given site can at first be understood forensically before consideration is given to how it may be adjusted and stabilised to provide for a specific settlement: a caravan park, a social housing cluster, a rural short stay retreat and a light industrial compound. The ecological footprint of the proposals will be a central component to the investigation with an insistence on demonstrating ideas to Re-use, Replenish, Regenerate and the principles of Circularity and passive low-energy use. The enabling strategies that form the basis for the placing of buildings will aim to be both precise and indeterminate at the same time: precise in their form and dimension but also indeterminate in the way that they anticipate use and occupation in an unknown future.

The setting for our projects will be the fringe of Munich and its surrounding settlements; sites which are given character by topography and landscape but which are also influenced by existing buildings or loose urban structure. It is interesting to consider how these edges, somewhere between town and country, may facilitate and prompt new uses and where the ground itself may become a key protagonist in the development. projects should explore an environmental architecture based on permanence and passive technologies, employing a circularity of material and process.

Stephen Bates and Bruno Krucker, March 2022
Landform and Infrastructure Site locations

Bachelor Project

SS 2022
Landscape infrastructure – Semester brief

Semester Introduction

Introduction Exercises one and two

Introduction Exercises three and four

Introduction Exercise five

Introduction Exercise six

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