This article about EASA Denmark 2017
was published in German original version
via the online platform of DETAIL magazine
EASA [European Architecture Students Assembly] is the biggest architecture students’ network reaching all over Europe. It is a platform for architecture students to share thoughts, ideas and methods across borders and cultures. Our common language is architecture in all its shapes and sizes.
Every summer EASA gathers around 500 students of architecture from more than 40 countries and 200 different schools of architecture. For over two weeks the architecture students, graduates and tutors live, learn and create together — being involved in various practical and theoretical workshops held by skilled tutors, accompanied by lectures of locally and internationally acclaimed architects.
This year's organisers of EASA Denmark in Fredericia defined the “current global crisis of hospitality” as their topic. Therefore, they made it their goal, to use the potential of intercultural exchange within the framework of EASA, to reflect on new concepts of humanity as well as hospitality between different cultures, spaces and societies in architecture.
A field report.
Still in a heavy blues after EASA Lithuania 2016, the so-called melancholically celebrated mood after the intense summer workshop weeks, I got caught by the selected subject of EASA Denmark, that was closely geared towards current social and political issues. That is why, together with Lisa Marie Hafner, we decided to hand in a workshop proposal for this year's event.
Hospitality, arrival, departure, out and about at home – a condensation of terms that describe my everyday life over the past year pretty well. Rarely, I was “at home” for more than three weeks in a row. Especially, for young [soon to be] architects, just as I am, the concept of being at home is a formative one. Not just our particular living and working conditions – moving from internship to internship, from city to city – are changing continuously, but as well the conditions of many people we are supposed to design for are under the pressure of fundamental changes on a global scale. In the area of friction between flight, migration, digitalisation and self-adjustment of generation Y, we asked ourselves, what home means to us.
„what is home for you?“
Within our #makeyourselfa(t)home workshop we wanted to get hold of “home” together with our participants as well as with the whole EASA community. How does this so hard to grasp notion influence our work as architects? Through theoretical analysis, discussions, and a lot of reading [from Jane Jacobs, up to Hannah Arendt, Pierre Bourdieu and DOGMA] every single participant developed a conceptual idea of what is home for her or him that was to be translated into an installation within the second week. The selected topics of reflections ranged from privacy to perception, sensory experience up to the fathoming of [minimal] personal requirements concerning space.
Besides the intensive work in our small group, we wanted to encourage as well the whole EASA community to actively take part in our thinking process of home, privacy, as well as socio-cultural aspects of space. During the two short, but very intensive weeks there is no time left to deal with all the impressions one is perceiving unfiltered at once.
„what is your responsibility as an architect? stop working & start thinking.”
Appropriation of space, settling, adaption to new surroundings, finding one selves position in a new group – all those aspects happen on fast-track at EASA. It works like a microorganism, following its very own rhythm, procedures, and traditions. Inspiring conversations and friendships emerge at the bar, queueing for food in the same line or as a result of collective suffering from the crazily changing weather conditions. What can we learn from that as architects? To make everyone aware of this so valuable process of experiencing, to even foster it, we decided to put up posters asking subtle questions to all and everyone passing by. Find some of the question inserted in the article as well as a full insight in our project here.
„how does your social backdrop influence the way you design? did you ever reflect on that?”
While our workshop was busy reflecting on the position every single one of us wanted to take regarding “Making Heimat”, Foreigner Bodies decided to look behind the kind of opposite position: The relation between guest and host was put into the spotlight. Relations, positions, circumstances that were discussed with residents as well as refugees living in Fredericia. Self-experienced through direct contact, overnight stays at foreigner homes, as well as through performative action.
The preceding described workshops are just a little piece of all EASA activities. In total, the participants were able to choose from 36 workshops, various daily inputs, several competitions, and different excursions to take part in. All activities were dealing with aspects of the chosen topic in a variety of ways – and it’s worth having a look at all the different outcomes. Have a look at the EASA after-movie by Aleksandra Kononchenko, that provides a thorough insight.
For everyone curious about or interested in EASA: The preparation for the upcoming RE:EASA 2018, that will be held by the Croatian team in Rijeka, started already. From 19th to 21st of October the International Tutors Meeting will take place as the first Kick-off event: potential tutors, organisers and a city with blank spaces and unused vacancies come together to discuss ideas on how to RE:THINK Rijeka and EASA itself on site. The upcoming thematic focus will be on the prefix “RE:” and all the human activities that go along with it – RE:FLECT, RE:THINK, RE:FRESH the way you think about our way of life, our profession, our comfort zone, EASA. Or how the organisers put it:
„RE:EASA will put an emphasis on its communal life with one’s creativity, involvement and responsibility in its core. All that we learn and create is to be passed on. RE:EASA is to be a platform for the social experiments and a springboard through which the RE:considered models of (community) living could be spread beyond our community. RE:EASA will attempt to use and RE:USE waste in every aspect of our communal life and work, RE:DUCE costs, RE:THINK the event structure, RE:CONNECT with the locals, RE:CALL our purpose, RE:CLAIM the city, RE:INVENT our very way of thinking.”
If you’d like to have a glimpse inside the EASA world, you can have a glance over my shoulder in October at the ITM via my Instagram – the preparations for the next workshop edition are about to start. The official RE:EASA website will be online with further information soon. Find the latest updates here meanwhile.
Big thanks to all and everyone from the always helping hands of all the organisers, to all the other tutors as well as to all participants involved at this years’ EASA. Special thanks to Lisa Marie Hafner for co-tutoring with me as well as to our participants for their dedicated work through the fantastic, exciting, and inspiring two weeks we’ve spent together!