The Corral area (Images 1&2)
Lionel Esche in collaboration with Laura Brixel
The corral area right in the center, close to the Theresienwiese and the Isar, at the same time close to the railway tracks and in one of the busiest and most vibrant quarters in Munich: The Isarvorstadt. In our area, streets and public spaces divide the space into the corral area and the stockyard area. The tracks are a chance to wide and enlarge the space and let the city grow.
The southern part the main corral area is a public space. Here you should meet in the future as well, to enjoy the open-air theatre, meet, eat, work and relax together, while the typical character of the space should coexist with the new structure. The context should remind at the history, while it plays “en passant” with the new buildings. Small details, as existing anchors for animals, an old sprayed wall, the train station, and underground system and the old existing halls explain the context and tell the story of the quarter, to which the residents can relate. The industrial and harsh character of the corral area should coexist. Big volumes form spaces and structure around the old existing buildings. The volumes are structured: In the ground floor, you work, while you sleep upstairs in the upper floors. Inside the spaces, everyone meets each other, drinks a coffee, plays around, or sells his goods. It is loud and harsh. Through a large pergola in a patio, you are going upstairs to the living rooms. The basic principle of shared space in the ground floor is continuing in the upper floors as well with shared loggias, hobby rooms and a small garden.
The northern part, the stockyard is different to the corral area, a quarter for living and working. It should separate the traffic from the corral area and should be a lock to the creative quarter, the corral area. The existing buildings are integrated into the log construction. High points lead the pedestrian through the quarter. A view to the existing buildings explains the context.
120 Hours Competition – Extreme Preseration – Totum pro Parte by Lionel Esche (Images 3&4)
Preservation? Yes! But what is preservation actually? Preservation is to keep something alive, make it lasting, let it survive and let it breathe. And what can we do with an old coaling industry in our time, in the middle of the time where we have solar and wind energy and enormous problems with global warming? To keep it short: Nothing right now. So what should we preserve, the old architecture similar to a museum? And conserve it later, make it adaptable to show the so called failures of humans? No! This time we want to try out a different way. We do not want to store architecture in a shelf and recreate the whole city. To strip it down to the core: Pyramiden was an old industrial city with only one goal – to produce coal – which was lost in time. If we want to preserve the city, we need to create the same atmosphere of that time and at the same time remember the old city. We have to say goodbye to all the old techniques, all the old pragmatism and dogmas. Recreate the city as if the city was build today or tomorrow. A peristyle creates the frame around the new and old city center and hereby the garden of Pyramiden. Following old orders the beauty is represented by the garden, which gives life to the city, while the frame is inhabiting everything from utilities to strength: From sports to living, back to offices and to research centers – for global war- ming –, to trading places – for transport ways and stock from Asia to Europe – and again back to hostels for tourists. All these different and contrasting structures are always connected visually, into a single space, which changes with the flow of the people crossing it during the day. The central courtyard is the main entrance for the city, a space without hierarchy or directionality. The peristyle is the frame around the core of the city. The grid inhabits small spaces with dimensions of 2.60m x 2.60m. In the frame, everything is oriented to the grid, the sleeping rooms, the balconies, the living rooms, the bathroom, the hostels, the sport centers, the schools, the working spaces as well as the containers, which fit perfectly inside the structure. If there is no need for the offered space, it will be empty, similar to before. The court is the new and the old heart of the city. To remind yourself where you are and in which place you are, the old established buildings in Pyrami- den will not be changed nor inhabited. Instead, to connect the space and recreate a space for nature itself the ground will change. From the old harsh and cold city, it will become a rich garden, designed by humans, where the old buildings mark the difference and remind youself of the old city. In this way, we will not build a box or a simple frame around the city, but a courtyard for ourselves, to feel like home. What we build is still a part of the old city. It is reinterpreting the old space.
Who influences you graphically?
So many people influence us graphically and not only graphically, it would be simply too much to count them all and in which way they influence us. However, we do have certain images in our mind, with which we like to work. These images are always there and are current to us. It is important to know these images or feelings to work with them: And of course, one of these images is about home, since this is one of the very basic interests in architecture. – Just to give an example.
Therefore, we can say that we want to create an image, where we can transport the feeling of the project and of course the idea of the proposal. If there would be no possibility to transport this feeling through an image, a visualization would make no sense. In addition, for us an image always gives more than the idea, it is showing the details through small elements, where the viewer itself can decide what he wants to see. He creates an image for himself.
To give a short answer: At the end, we do not have one clear influence that generates our graphics. As we develop and change our interests towards architecture and society the graphics will constantly modify itself. They will change. Therefore there is not one main influence for us, we appreciate not one sort of image or a series of images, we like to see the total amount of perceptions and like to decide what we can adapt and perceive for us. We think that our idea of graphics should depend on every new idea we have, so we cannot say now how the graphics of tomorrow’s project will look like. It is dependent on the project.
What role does color play?
Color is mandatory, at some point you have to decide, which color a building should be. For the idea itself and in our development of the project, we like to think in abstractions. However, we know at the same time that color gives the image a certain feeling and enriches it. For us we always worked with the colors of the context to keep the diversity in mind. In the end, we wanted to express our feelings of the project: Create a loud and crowded space, which lives in harmony with the context and at the same time establish a new theme. We think we can express this specific idea best with a very “colorful and bright” image that shows exactly the diversity of the design. At the same time, we do not want that the colors dominate our image, as they should subtle underline the expression.
What function does your paint like texture play in your proposal?
The texture is a very basic element! It shows us the difference between different lines and different surfaces. With a texture, we can divide an object into different surfaces, an image into certain elements. Within we can understand its complexity. Therefore, the texture simplifies the image for the viewer and explains itself to the viewer itself.
It is quite similar to a drawing, first you draw the lines, then you draw the texture with a shading and afterwards you draw the shadow. Hereby, the texture is only contrasting the idea of the image and is a tool to abstract our project and put it in its context. When we use textures, it helps us to express the volume that shows clearly the main idea. For this urban project, it was very useful in its abstraction. However, it is also very important, which texture you use: For us a concrete texture was very pure and in its rationality and pure without any hierarchy or directionality. It underlines the idea of the rather massive volumes, organizing the squares, the urban space. We think you have to choose very wisely, which texture to use for which reason and which purpose, since every texture transports a certain or a memory of a unique feeling of the surface and reminds the spectator to his experience. Overall, we think the texture is very similar to the drawing.
How does the juxtaposition of time portrayed through the allocation of painting figures from another era play out with respect to your proposal idea?
Every project is different. Therefore, every presentation of an image should have a different style. For us the theme of the historic context and the large public spaces were very important. We wanted to abstract the image to its core: Show the public space, the building volumes and the context. Hereby we liked the style of historic references, to show the idea of a new corral area in its fragmentism of history. So why did we choose “rather old” images and adapted them in our collage? We wanted to show how the old historic city continues to grow in the old context in our time.
The architectural drawing is the difference between the building practice and the architecture itself and in a way, architecture has to be different to the building process, because it is a process of thinking and in its core, it is inextricably to the artistic painting. – Which was developed in the 14th century as an artistic expression. It is a failure to fetishize this style of visualization: If you create such an image, you have to be aware of the expression of the image and not simply create an image for the simple artistic pleasure.
This produced image is aware that it clearly separates itself from the classical idea of a visualization, so of course we could also picked another theme in our current time, but we didn’t want to. For us the image plays with the diversity of the different layers and fragments, but creates one image for the spectator that transports the idea of the proposal.
To what extent do the characters abstract or reinforce the timelessness of your proposal?
Every project is different. We have to keep that in mind!
For this project, we created a diverse image. An image full of fragments of old and upcoming times. Full of historic references to show, in the abstraction, how the project reflects on different characters of different times. We have chosen these characters to show how the project would have looked like centuries ago.
In this way, we did not create a simple image, but an image that creates a frame of different times in our society. This image creates a very interesting and contrasting atmosphere, which challenges the viewer to classify the image into a category: But the spectator realizes soon that this image and this project cannot be classified. On the one hand, it is a historic view with fragments of the middle age and fragments of the 19th century, but at the same time, it is a current image in our time. It is adapting old values and it is integrating them into the image. The different layers of the images, where different characters abstract different layers reinforce the timelessness for our proposal. Our project illustrates our idea of the area with these contrasting figures.
For this question, we talked very long about timelessness and what it actually means. We concluded that mostly everything is timeless, if you want to see it that way, so it is also personal. We think that timelessness in its complexity is very difficult to reach. Maybe it is all about the moment. Now this is timeless, now we like parts of the Brutalism and 20 years ago, the society did not appreciated it. So we can say that before you speak of timelessness, that you have to create a unique a common word for timeless, so that we are sure to speak about the same meaning of timeless. Otherwise, we could speak of completely different meanings.