Architektur als Social Design

Community building – for refugees and citizens of Stuttgart, Germany



2017 – Universität Stuttgart

Institut für Baukonstruktion und
Entwerfen 1, Prof. Cheret

project leader: Meike Hammer und Tine Teiml

with students of the University of Stuttgart




A Meeting Point in the Center of Stuttgart, 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 City Center. 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 Start 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. Team 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 that time. 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 movements. Period of Time Oct 2015 – Apr 2016: Master Thesis Apr – Sep 2016: Planning period Sep 2016 – Oct 2017: Realization Period Costs 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 was set. 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. Impact 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 participative building process, the workshops and meetings during the whole process brought an exceptional kind of action into the dreary accomodation routine. Being an important 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 became friends. 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 parties 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. Altogether 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 people. 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.


Begegnungsraum für Geflüchtete und Stuttgarter Bürger/Innen

Breitscheidstraße 2f Stuttgart


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