This year Studio Arrival City has been located in Mannheim, Germany. Mannheim is an industrial city of about 300,000 people in the Baden Wurtenburg region of Germany, bisected by the Rhine and the Neckar rivers. The city has a history of migration and hosting refugees — 44% of the population have a migrant background, the highest rate of larger German cities after Frankfurt. In September 2015 the City found itself at the centre of migrant crisis with its central station designated a so-called refugee “turnstile”. More than 80,000 refugees arrived in around 150 special trains via the Balkan route. Many of these people were temporarily housed in US Military barracks vacated by the Americans in 2010.
The studio has been investigating the notion of Mannheim as an Arrival City and has set out to explore how the new arrivals and a culture of openness and resourcefulness might inform new ecological forms of architecture and urbanism. Projects emerging from the studio include an Adhoc Embassy, a Nation State of Refugia and new ‘ tv drama’ documenting life as a migrant.
We visited Mannheim in November and met with representatives from the City of Mannheim including the Officer for Building Culture, and the leader of the Migrants for Cities Programme. We also had the opportunity to meet with a Professor and students from the University of Kaiserslautern who arranged a tour of the Spinneli Refugee barracks and to visit the self-build Community House which recently was awarded the Erskine Award in Architecture. The barracks site subsequently became the site for 2 of the students in the studio.
The insights on the city provided by the people we met whilst in Mannheim have been invaluable in informing and routing the projects in Mannheim. A number of students have retained links to contacts we met in Mannheim and have secured funding from the University to return to Mannheim at the end of the academic year to present the work of the studio and to run a series of workshops with local activists. They are also looking to set up a Live Project in Mannheim that will run next year.
The research, initially undertaken collectively, resulted in a wide range of projects exploring varying issues emerging directly from San Siro, the wider city context and migration trends. View projects here
As a studio we would like to give special thanks to all those who were so incredibly generous with their time during our visits to Mannheim including:
Lena Werner: Migrants for Cities
Tatjana Duerr: Stadt Mannheim
Prof. Stephan Krötsch: University of Kaiserslautern
Swetlana Hermann & Caroline Courbier: Klokke