We would like to briefly break away from the mold of projects and architects that we have typically featured at Archinnovations and shed the light in a series of articles on Baupiloten, hoping that it would inspire Architecture schools to adopt similar programs that encourage architecture students to get involved and accomplish real life projects.
All photographs are courtesy of Jan Bitter
As explained by its founder Suzanne Hoffman : « The Baupiloten are a group of students at the architectural faculty of the TU Berlin who carry out building projects under my guidance and supervision. This allows the students to have the unique chance to experience all the various building phases starting with design methods and concluding with cost control and site supervision. The Baupiloten learn how to develop and detail their design within a given budget and how to convince the client of the project through presentations and information, while displaying their competence and knowledge. Throughout the design process the students are able to consolidate their team project within all relevant disciplines, for example technical subjects, CAD and quantity surveying. »
Susanne Hofmann’s intention in founding the Baupiloten in June 2003 was to give fourth- and fifth-year architectural students practical experience on architectural projects and to teach them the skills to develop and realise a design.
In spring 2004 the TU Berlin chose to use the Baupiloten course as part of Studienreformprojekt – the attempt to reform some of the teaching program in the faculty. During the next two years the architect –since January 2005 supported by architect Martin Janekovic- has been given the brief to establish a design studio which brings together theory and practice, which then – provided it is successful – should be integrated into the regular teaching program.
Although the projects that are produced by the Baupiloten are small in scale, we were impressed by the amount of ideas and original concepts that are packed in each project.
Selected Baupiloten projects:
Project 1: Erika Mann Elementary School
The refurbishment of the Erika Mann Elementary School in Berlin
The “Baupiloten” completed - under the supervision of architect Susanne Hofmann, AA Dipl - their first project: the Erika Mann Elementary School in Berlin.
Together with the pupils of the school the "Baupiloten" created the imaginary landscape of the Silver Dragon to serve as the basis of an expressive and playful architecture: the further you get into the school building, the stronger you feel the spirit of the Silver Dragon - a spirit which alters, resonates, glows and shimmers.
The architecture outlines the different presences of the imaginary dragon at the individual floors.
Ground floor: Star Dust Diving: above the yellow-green lacquered expandable metal furniture grow plants under a violet light, which offer the dragon his sleeping place.
First Floor: Breath of Gentle Air: between the light translucent veils of the ceiling and the shimmering textile wardrobes the breath of the dragon becomes perceptible.
Second floor: The Throne on the Beat of the Wings: Protected in the crook of the dragon’s wings groups of small children read, work and discuss together.
Third Floor: Flying on the Dragon’s Tail: between glowing and reflective dragon tails small study groups engage in discourse.
Main staircase: Giant Humming Trail: the dragon dances and jumps along a musical trail up the stairwell to the sky.
Secondary staircase: The image gallery band presents the work of the schoolchildren. The integrated wardrobe and seating furniture create a flexible and stimulating space for small groups of pupils.
The Erika Mann Elementary School is situated in Berlin-Wedding in the middle of a social trouble point: the unemployment rate is more than 50%, while 85% of the parents come from a non-German-speaking background. The 400 schoolchildren have their cultural background in 25 different nations. The refurbishment of the school should help to overcome linguistic and cultural barriers and integrate the school into the community as an educational centre for all inhabitants of the district.
Pupils, parents and teaching staff all participated in the building
process, while the German sponsor program “Soziale Stadt” contributed
substantial funds to the project. A large part of the actual work was
carried out by prisoner craft workshops and companies, which specialize
in training disadvantaged young people.
The project has been praised as an exemplary case of cooperation between diverse protagonists in the neighborhood.
Baupiloten 2002/03: Frank Drenckhahn, Johannes Gutsch, Gordana Jakimovska, Nils Ruf and Urs Walter
(continued with baupiloten's "Tree of Dreams" ..)