Holly Wilkinson // Mannheim

The Peripatetic Embassy for Migrants

The project seeks to find a way for the role of embassies to evolve to be representative of people’s aspirations and power, rather than those of government. Designed as an open democratic platform, the Embassy invites migrants and Mannheimers to come together to learn and debate the current political process, with the elected committees formally charged with representing the Embassy to the German Government in the Bundestag. The Embassy is representative of all, and any, country and as such has a rich and bold form, interpretively replicating traditional forms with contemporary materials in a strong rhythmic way – black riven bricks are used for framing and decorative elements; white slim bricks for liberal, political spaces; and warm grey bricks in a classic running bond for softer, safe spaces for people to pause and learn.

A building of three parts, the project consists of the Chancery (the administrative and archival guts of the scheme), the Embassy (the charged, political heart of the site) and the Residency (housing migrants in dire need). Walkways wrap around and through the democratic forums, inviting both the public and migrants to get involved or to remain as spectators in these transparent spaces, meanwhile the Residency provides emergency accommodation for refugees, and interweaves public terraces with more private balconies and rooftop gardens, creating a plethora of alcoves and meeting spaces for everyone to use.

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