The current situation is forcing us all to reflect on the way that we normally interact with each-other, natural resources and our environment at all scales, the question is whether we will really soon return to “business as usual”, or does the current upheaval offer a chance to establish some kind of lasting change?  The pandemic will directly influence the way that we approach the semester, not least in terms of the formats and tools we will be using, but also in the sense that we will be imagining a different kind of urban future based on the realities of resource scarcity and climate change.
Various Digital Locations
First (digital) Meeting
Thursday 23.04 / 10:00
Deadline 16.04 via ISIS
Open Studio Q&A Session
Tuesday 14.03 / 13:00 – 14:00 / via innocampus
The studio will consist of two distinct phases; we will begin with a research analysis phase focussing on the potential of timber for the territory of Berlin Brandenburg, we will then apply these ideas to a detailed design proposal at Berlin’s Molkenmarkt. Based on the requirements of the current situation we will be required to explore new tools and formats that will allow us to maintain our discursive approach to design studios while using only digital tools. While this poses a big challenge especially in terms of the technical infrastructure available, we are looking forward to developing new formats for collaboration with you as part of the studio!
Just 1/3 of Germany’s timber harvest annually would provide enough raw material to cover all domestic new construction . Berlin is expanding at an unprecedented rate and there is an increasing awareness that building with timber is the only solution to the housing crisis that can also allow Germany to meet the targets of the Paris agreement. Yet despite 37% of Brandenburg being classified as forest , timber construction is relatively underdeveloped in comparison to the southern Bundesländer, making it a considerable socioeconomic potential for the region. As such the need for expertise and capacity building in all branches related to timber construction is high on the political agenda for both states. Considering the potential of timber for the wider region of Berlin Brandenburg will be the point of departure for the re:source Timber design studio.
Yet wood is far more than just a potentially renewable material that can sequester CO2, it is also thewoods– productive social landscapes providing myriad cultural, economic and environmental benefits. Moreover they are also delicate eco-systems and valuable reserves of biodiversity that require careful stewardship to allow us to reap their benefits. 70% of Brandenburgs forests are made up of pine trees, the most commonly used type of wood in the building industry, yet these mono-functional plantations all over Germany are suffering under stress from the pressures of global heating and infestation . Although the process ofWaldumbau –transforming areas from pine to more robust mixed deciduous forests with species such as beech began almost 20 years ago, it will take time for the industry to adjust to the character and properties of these new products.
In the first part of the semester we will look to expand our understanding of timber as a resource and map the processes and value-chains associated with bringing wood from the forest to the building site. We will also consider the potential of timber as a circular resource and investigate the application of ideas like cascading usage of timber for urban timber construction. In the second part of the semester we will use this knowledge to inform designs for a new mixed-use neighbourhood in Berlin Mitte. The Molkenmarkt used to form part of the historic center of Berlin, yet fell victim to the car-centric city planning of the post war era. New plans for the area have been in discussion for more than a decade, especially due to their association with the critical reconstruction paradigm of the infamous 1990s “Planwerk Innenstadt”. Having critically navigated this complicated legacy, a series of new strategies for the area were developed in last semesters master design studio “Mitten in Gemeinwohl? Planwerk Innenstadt Reloaded” from CUD – Chair for Urban Design and Urbanization. The urban concepts will form the basis of our design project. Expanding on their work we will develop detailed constructive designs for a series of mixed-use typologies in timber informed by an understanding of the processes associated with timber as a re:source for a rapidly changing Berlin Brandenburg region.
 Peter C. Baker, “We Can’t Go Back to Normal”: How Will Coronavirus Change the World?’, The Guardian, 31 March 2020, sec. World news, www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/31/how-will-the-world-emerge-from-the-coronavirus-crisis
 H. Kaufmann et al., Bauen Mit Holz: Wege in Die Zukunft (Prestel, 2016).
 Ministerium für Ländliche Entwicklung, Umwelt und Landwirtschaft (2015). Wälder Brandenburgs Ergebnisse der ersten landesweiten Waldinventur. Potsdam. MLUL
 Thünen-Institut, ‘Wald Im Trockenstress: Schlechterer Kronenzustand, Mehr Tote Bäume’, accessed 9 April 2020, www.thuenen.de/de/infothek/presse/aktuelle-pressemitteilungen/wald-im-trockenstress-schlechterer-kronenzustand-mehr-tote-baeume/
 Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft, ‘Ergebnisse der Waldzustandserhebung 2019’, accessed 9 April 2020, www.thuenen.de/media/ti/Infothek/Presse/Pressemitteilungen/2020/2020-04-07/200407_Waldzustand_Broschuere.pdf