MARCIN KURDZIEL, DANNY WILLS from URBAN THINK-TANK
Amalia-Alexandra Skamagkouli, Charlotte Balmer, Eleőd Huba, Jesus Sanchez, Sárdi Krisztina, Lorenzo Marconi, Martin Spalek, Kőműves Márton, Bálint Viola
TYPE inn-refugee shelter-pilgrim house
The migrant is a person physically displaced from their home due to a variety of reasons. Escaping corruption, unemployment, poverty, conflict, war, or environmental destruction, these travellers leave behind their established communities in hope for a better, more secure life. They take many forms – expatriates, immigrants (illegal or legal), asylum seekers, refugees, workers, pilgrims, nomads. Whatever we choose to call them, one thing is common for all – the loss of home and all the things that come with it, a shelter, a job, a livelihood, a community. The Migrant House proposes to challenge this phenomena of displacement through an inquiry into what defines a community centre, and how, through this space, one can rebuild shelter, safety, integration, economic security, and spirit. Combining the purposes of a PUB, CHURCH, and BORDELLO for their contrasting and potentially perverse takes on the establishment of community, the project merges a medieval European pilgrim house (Alms house / Ale house) with Urban-Think Tank’s ambition for dignified housing.
Danny Wills and Marcin Kurdziel are both research assistants to Prof. Brillembourg and Prof. Klumpner at the Urban-Think Tank Chair at ETH Zürich, as well as project architects for the ‘Empower’ housing project in Cape Town.
Danny is a graduate of The Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York City. Before U-TT, he worked as an architect and developed many exhibitions, including research, design, production and fabrication for Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Institute for Sustainable Design, and Lyn Rice Architect, all in NYC. His current work investigates sustainable development of informal areas through ecological systems thinking in food, sanitation, and water.
Marcin graduated from the Bartlett, UCL and is a registered architect based in Basel, Switzerland. Prior to joining U-TT he worked as an architect and project designer with Morphosis in Los Angeles, Coop Himmelb(l)au in Vienna and Herzog & De Meuron in Basel. Marcin taught at the Bartlett and AA in London and was a visiting professor at the exparch./studio3 in Innsbruck, Austria. He is currently teaching MArch design studio at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany where he’s also a PhD candidate.
Urban-Think Tank is an interdisciplinary design practice dedicated to high-level research and design on a variety of subjects, concerned with contemporary architecture and urbanism. The philosophy of U-TT is to deliver innovative yet practical solutions through the combined skills of architects, civil engineers, environmental planners, landscape architects, and communication specialists.
Their work concerns both theoretical and practical applications within architecture and urban planning. Working in global contexts by creating bridges between first world industry and third world, informal urban areas, they focus on the education and development of a new generation of professionals, who will transform cities in the 21st century.
The Urban Think Tank's current work in Cape Town, South Africa focuses on practical strategies to alleviate a national housing crisis, while remaining embedded within community-driven processes. The proposed project for HELLO WOOD will build off of the same constraints of modular construction, community capacity building, rapid and incremental upgrading, and quick, pre-fabricated assembly and disassembly methods. The structure itself will be migrant in nature. Its ability to be transported and rapidly installed is key, and a major performative aspect of the project. How can we imagine structures that both assemble, grow, shift, transform as the pilgrim grows and plants foundations within a new community? How can the structure build community spirit through its space and function, allowing for passing nomads and permanent residents alike to find orientation through a meeting place, a resting place, a place of integration?