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Home Workshops
Workshops PDF Print E-mail

In order to make things easier when you arrive,  please let us know your first and second preferences of workshops to attend. We will work hard to accommodate your choices but please be aware that this is not always possible.

International teams will work on four different aspects:


1) Garden shed XXL

Although many of Dessau’s inhabitants work in Switzerland, in Austria or in Southern Germany, they nevertheless maintain close family ties and connections in the city. Allotment gardens are ideal places for rest and relaxation, and while private apartments are usually too small to accommodate the temporary homecomers or for shared celebrations, the summer houses on the allotments have enough space for temporary extensions.

While the current housing vacancy rate in the town of Dessau-Roßlau is 16 per cent, just 3 per cent of Dessau’s allotment gardens are uncultivated – all in all, quite an ideal set of circumstances. However, the allotment clubs are struggling to contend with an increasingly ageing membership, declining numbers of lessors and plots, which are becoming neglected.

An allotment garden may be perceived to “publicly reveal” the essentially hidden private living environment. Given the broadly open and visible nature of the garden plots, spatial and social rules and regulations compensate for the lack of protection, which is usually offered by one’s own four walls. Neglected plots indicate alarming failures in the functioning system of neighbourly regulation, of which the intrusion of unregulated nature is a conspicuous and undesirable signifier.

How could the unused plots be customised to serve the accommodation needs of Dessau’s temporary residents?  What happens when the user’s first home is outside the local context, that is, when is it not “around the corner”, but hundreds of kilometres away? What deviations does this “elsewhere” introduce into the strictly regulated “here” of the allotment garden structure? What long-term impact could this new type of occupation have on the overall structure of the allotment clubs?

These questions form the point of departure for an analysis of the role of the gardens from a personal perspective: Based on several now derelict allotment gardens, an internal experiment consisting of a 10-day presence in an allotment garden area in Dessau will explore the options of utilising these for Dessau’s “out-of-towners”.

Team leader: Philipp Reinfeld
List of participants


2) Boarding house

Local residents and housing associations will act as hosts providing temporary accommodation for commuters, students and tourists. Given the high vacancy rate in Dessau the flexible management and use of flats shall be tested in cooperation with municipal housing corporations.

Team leaders: feld72
List of participants


3) Home comforts on the move

Walter Gropius’s Master’s House in Dessau demonstrated what modern living in the 20th century should looke like, a way of living which was above all characterized by mobility. Frequently publicised in the media, the Bauhaus has shaped internationally the notions of modern interior design. Life on the go was considered modern, this found its expression in the material world. What do we need to feel at home wherever we are, even if it is only for a short time? An interior design consulting service in keeping with the tradition of Modernism will answer this question: different experiences and habits of ‘making oneself at home’ when travelling will be compiled and exhibited in a show flat.

Team leaders: MUF
List of participants


4) Global home Platte

Dessau can look back on a long tradition of industrial manufacture in its housing construction history. The Törten Estate is one of the earliest examples of the industrial prefabrication of residential buildings. And more than elsewhere, the prefabricted DDR-'Platte' has dominated Dessau's post-war urban development. At the same time, this type of housing can be found all over the Eastern bloc: Standardized layouts promised equal living conditions for everyone, be it in Budapest, Warsaw or Dessau: home is everywhere. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Platte's reputation has changed drastically from being a modern privilege to being a sign of poverty and exclusion. Based in a 'Platte' in the "Am Leipziger Tor" estate, this workshop will research how residents have dealt with this transformation and develop ideas for the future of the neighbourhood with locals.

Video of Workshop

Team leaders: Adam Page & Eva Hertzsch
List of participants

In these four workshops, the issues, discourses and ideas around the ‘Growing House’ can be updated and fit within the context of the Urban Redevelopment of the Bauhaus City (IBA 2010). The subject of the exhibition in 1932, that is the search for new types of homes which would bring about a change in settlement types, has not lost its relevance over the years. Once more, we are forced by the current swings between growth and shrinkage, boom and bust, and staying and leaving to come up with new types of settlements. In this respect, the summer school can be understood as a contribution to Dessau’s IBA Urban Redevelopment Project, which tries to answer the changed/broadened patterns of the habitat with a perforated urban landscape.