COMMUNITY BUILDING – FOR REFUGEES AND CITIZENS OF STUTTGART, GERMANY
A Meeting Point in the Center
of Stuttgar t, Germany
For Newcomers and Citizens,
Students, Young & Old.
Made to exchange different cultures.
People + Purpose
The Community House for Refugees and Citizens of Stuttgart has been
erected on the proper ty of two new Refugee Accommodations in the
140 people, 70 of them children, have moved into the Buildings in
August 2017. Besides the shared bedrooms the Buildings don‘t provide
any privacy or the oppor tunity to spend time in common spaces, do
Homework, to study or retreat.
Our Building, approximately 100 squaremeters, involves two rooms and
is used as extended living area for the residents, as a room for cook - or
dance events and lit tle concer ts. There is room to gather and rest, for
the exchange of various cultures. It is open to be used as a child care
center in the morning, as a playground in the af ternoon and a safe
place for young people at night.
The idea of Begegnungsraum was initiated by two architecture students
in October / 15: Tine Teiml and Meike Hammer. It all began with the
profound research of fleeing movements and the arrival process in
Germany, numerous Interviews with stakeholders of this issue, partners
and teachers. A very well at tended open panel discussion at the Faculty
of Architecture in Stut tgar t called „Lager feuer “ with the Professors
Markus Allmann, Gerd de Bruyn and Arno Lederer about Places of
Shelter and the Social Responsibility of architects within the refugee
debate marked the beginning of the project (ht tp://www.irge-unistuttgart.
de /einszueins /projekt / lagerfeuer-event). Perceptibly a very
relevant topic at that time.
The next steps were collaborative Workshops with refugees living in
acccomodations to find out about their residing circumstances, needs
and challenges. The dialogue with social workers helped to create a
base to develop ideas on as well as material - and spatial research.
Introducing the idea to the City of Stuttgart and choosing the Site were
to follow. An appreciated par t of the Networking-process was a Design
Build Workshop at the Architecture Biennale in Venice we were invited to
talk about the project.
Countless people and organisations were involved in the process: the
Social Welfare Departement of the City, the Building Department and
Municipality, Volunteer Work Associations, Züblin, the State Counci,
craf tsmen of all kinds, students, refugees, the most amazing donors,
generous companies and committed volunteers.
The Core Team started to form in the Summer Semester of / 16 with the 2
initiators, 3 students that worked on the building application and 1
photographer responsible for visual communications.
In the Winter Semester, once the construction site started, it developed
into a bigger Group of Students. The site management was partly
submitted to a carpenter of the team who also studied architecture at
From March / 17 until the Final in October / 17 the Team remained as a
stable Group of 6 - 10 people and felxible helpers.
Since the Begegnungsraum is finished and used the Team consists of 8
people who manage, connect, organize and supervise all the
Period of Time
Oct 2015 - Apr 2016:
Apr - Sep 2016:
Sep 2016 - Oct 2017:
The project started with an amount of 0 Cents. There was no money at
all. The framing company Züblin made the building application
successful by doing the foundation slab. Only this part was in value of
approximately 30.000 € and formed the of ficial beginning of the house.
Since there was no going back the acquisition had to start. We called
company af ter company and asked for material suppor t, alongside we
applied for competitions and foundations. One significant step was to
construct the brick walls of the building. Two brick companies donated
the material and af ter one week the first and rough shape of the House
To sum it up: ever y single piece of Begegnungsraum has been donated
or of fered for a reduced price by companies. The more the project grew
the easier it became to convince the companies of the buildings‘
significance. In retrospect we are beyond thankful for the suppor t we
were of fered. Without the generosity of companies and the gratuitous
advice of exper ts the community building would never exist.
We believe the Begegnungsraum project has an influence on both the
realization period and the now finished building. The house has not only
provided for an extended living area that people can use. The
par ticipative building process, the workshops and meetings during the
whole process brought an exceptional kind of action into the dreary
accomodation routine. Being an impor tant part in the Begegnungsraum
Building History gave the refugees an active role and a special
appreciation. A lit tle bit of responsibility and self-determination in their
every day life, progress in language, craf ting skills and the possibility to
comprehend the culture they were placed into better. Regarding the Use
that is currently being established we have formed a Team of
responsible people that organize appointments and all incoming
actions. One Afghan Man and a Pakistan Lady are a stable part of the
group. Both of them are spokespeople of the accomodation and being
trained to lead dif ferent activities such as Babycafé and Study Times.
We hope to be able to empower them more and more so they become a
significant and confident part of the Society in Stuttgart.
But not only the refugees were the ones to learn. All of the participants
and theplanning team were challenged to take steps towards unknown
encounters. But in the course of time conversations became easier, we
were provided with tea and lunch and experienced hospitality in a
moving way. These human beings that have lost their homes, parts of
their families and have nothing but 4 squaremeters to live on will
welcome you warmly with the best food and friendliness. Strong,
extraordinary, funny, precious and diverse people were revealed and
To create a subculture with all of our new Neighbors we need places
such as Begegnungsraum, where both aware and unaware encounters
can take place, where integration is made easier. Begegnungsraum is a
room that has the potential to bring dif ferent par ties together and
change the perception of the Citizens of Stuttgart regarding true
community with people of dif ferent origin and culture. It may require a
new approach, patience and sensivity once in a while but the incredible
gif t of intercultural learning is worth it.
We can say this projects has constantly brought people together.
Students and Politicians, Amateurs and Exper ts, Children and
Craf tsmen, Muslims and Christians, Social Workers and Professors,
Young and Old, Dedicated and Critics, and the list goes on.
Begegnungsraum has just started but with its special story we believe it
is going play a significant role within the City of Stuttgart and its
Currently a range of activities take place in the House: Homework
Tutorings 3 times a week, Acting Workshops, Tandem Groups, Women‘s
Breakfast, Open Space, Play time, Birthday Parties and Meetings. For
the coming year there‘s a Baby Café in Cooperation with the Mother
Center Movement in Planning.