Architecture That Evokes and Revitalises Memories _IG Fortuna + Series of Fortunate objects
Leipzig is a relatively small city southwest of Berlin. Being part of the East Germany the city was major urban center and after the fall of communism Leipzig began to restore or demolish some of its historical buildings, reinforcing its infrastructure, efforts which helped Leipzig to become an economical center. Towards downtown and west, Leipzig has a lively and energetic sense but as we go on to the east where IG Fortuna is located that energy starts to fade. The fabric becomes more residential and quite, the public spaces declines or grows more distant from one another. At a time when the topic of densification of cities has become increasingly urgent, these urban voids gain relevance and prominence in the reforming and revitalizing process, due to its centrality, area, and informality. My goal as an architect was to fill this this urban void with familiarity and interaction.
While visiting IG Fortuna in Leipzig, it was obvious that this part of the city has been long neglected, and would rarely be considered a place of social interaction. Residents most likely will have to drive or walk some distance from this area for a place of meeting. In my opinion they seek to keep the memory of one of their oldest cultural heritage, a memory that has been lost in time.
My goal was not to impose a program that creates fast forward solution, but to keep what is already there and use it to form a local square for the neighborhood. Knowing that the residents care very much about keeping the theater, I aimed to take a step further and make the space around the theater as lively and as open as possible, letting the space to be defined on its original terms and leaving it up to people to decide how they use the space, a space that can work as the heart of the area and invite various cultural events. All of this might seem like vague statements, but I stand my ground to propose a democratic space that loosely fills the void and it enables an open mind to various interpretations and does not persist on forcing any change to happen but rather letting changes to happen on their own time.
My first step towards the design was laying the pattern on the ground, which enabled me to divide the field into smaller parts, the pattern is not a simple grid but it is concentric circles with their center starting from the lower tank in the market, making the Market the heart of the field and where people are led to end up, eventually the pattern became the emblem of the space. I chose to unify the pattern and use one single Material for the whole field. A coarse rusty sand that is hard enough, not to be scattered and blown in the wind and soft enough to prevent injuries in small kids falling down on the ground.
The existing wall enclosing the site is to be demolished opening the space to street level.
There are interactive, primitive formed objects, distributed through the empty field. Their form follows their function, whether it is to play with, to sit on or to be used gatherings. Although they have symbolic qualities, they are to be understood by their users. Some objects to be built from concrete, and some others from metal and wood, depending on their shape and function (explained on the booklet).
The tanks also don’t have a concrete program; they are to be enhanced in order to accommodate various events. Flee markets, public gatherings, etc. below the site there are allotments for the locals; therefore it was appropriate to use the lower tank as a markets place. The upper tank however is more defined by adding the steps to the inner periphery, shaping it into an amphitheater. To accommodate festivals, concerts various performances, etc.
I chose “abstraction “over “clarity “on this matter, this project is currently hypothetical and therefore there are no investors and authoritative evaluation of its profit, therefore I played with the idea that, I’d stand aside as an architect and let the void form it own identity for its users. I’ve proposed objects to fill in the blanks here and there as tools for people to interact with and also with each other to create a stronger sense of community and finally to revitalize old traditions and develop new ones.
Who influences you graphically?
For me, Collage and Illustration are strong tools for narrating a space or many spaces at once. They modestly suggest different ambiances and feelings, leaving less solid specifics to the observer’s imagination. Abstracted images allow progression, which in essence is the reality of architecture, a long process of accumulation and elimination of components. I initially discovered Collage Drawings of Fala atelier and OFFICE KGDVS, browsing online, and from there on I came across many others by different students and studios that to this day influence my drawings immensely. For this project I drew inspiration from Persian Miniatures, fascinated by its pure and bright colors, adorned walls and often drawn in various complex views.
What dictated the images through which you choose to reveal your proposal?
With this project I’ve attempted to embellish an industrial landscape with human scaled objects rather than a structure, therefore conveying their relation to each other was key in representation. The bird-view and axonometric images express the object’s disposition and scale in relation to site and people. The perspective images however, represent the real sense of place and also how people can relate and interact with the different objects.
How important is the use of texture is establishing an atmosphere?
The use of textures, helps to bring a sense of familiarity and a subtle depth into the collage, and because it is exactly that and not a photo-realistic drawing, I felt I could refine the textures to a simpler form. For instance, the existing silos are from bricks, but I chose to use a rusty sand color as opposed to the brick texture, not merely suggesting to change them from it’s existing condition but also to eliminate using heavy texture such as brick in my image.
What dictated the very simple use of line drawings when juxtaposed to the views? How do these communicate different ideas?
They allow me to create my own reality about the project; it is my scenario on how the designed objects might be set about the landscape, and how people might be moving among them. I’ve been very sensitive with the site, trying to intervene as little as possible, aiming to give space to imagination, thus the line drawings carry that message in a simple way, yet it also allows the observer to think more openly about the image and not to be forced to view it as a final product.
Atoosa, is currently enrolled as a second year Master student at the Architecture Institute in Prague, Czechia. She has worked at different Ateliers in Prague, most recently Grido Architects.
She has recently been focusing on the Educational side of Architecture for the younger generation with Design Disco; a team of Architecture Students, organizing workshops and lectures to educate youth about the importance of aesthetics and design.