Students work with Berlin architects to design mobile buildings

12 October 2017
Future architects globally on the move

Students from the Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Design in Architecture recently had the opportunity to complete a five-day intensive studio with renowned international architects Martin Ostermann and Lena Kleinheinz.

students at Magma Architecture studio

Co-founders of Berlin-based studio Magma Architecture, the pair are the recipients of the The Australian Institute of Architects Foundation’s 2017 Droga Architects Residency. Magma Architecture is known for its unconventional and ephemeral approach to architecture, producing designs that are temporary, lightweight, and even mobile.

The studio workshop was titled ‘Permanently Temporary’ and began with a focus on the Manly coastline. Students were asked to examine the movement of water and imagine how a physical structure may react or adapt to this movement over time. Rather than building polished models representing a final solution, students worked in pairs to make a series of models as they worked through their ideas.

“There was a lot of exploration here for the students. It was not a typical architectural task in a sense that we asked them to explore how to make mobile architectures. This required a deep breath and some courage,“ Ostermann said.

Kleinheinz continued, “usually in architecture you start with a building with a specific use but we started with an experiment with movement and water, and then designed a structure that could work with this water and movement.

“What amazed me here was how quickly the students understood the very conceptual, abstract idea of movement. This can be very difficult for students but here everyone was able to understand that,” Kleinheinz said.

The course asked students to also consider the very real threat of rising sea levels, and how architecture might intervene. In a blog post about their time in Sydney the pair wrote, “The beaches are as much an icon of Sydney as the famous Opera House. They form part of the urban culture and are interlocked with the urban fabric. When the sea level rises will the beaches disappear? None of the people we have interviewed to date could point us to plans for their preservation.”

Bachelor of Design in Architecture student Ben Chen got a lot out of the experience. “It was interesting hearing ideas and feedback from architects who not only have much more experience, but also practice on a global scale,” he said.

“It's important for us, as students, to understand the scope of works from a perspective beyond our immediate environment. Martin and Lena were able to provide informed opinions based on their experiences with projects in various cultural landscapes”

A highlight for Ostermann and Kleinheinz was helping students to understand the unique qualities of their own work. “We might have seen something in it they hadn’t really noticed and could then bring them towards realizing that this is something special and something they have invented and created themselves,” Kleinhein said.

Ostermann and Kleinheinz will present a closing lecture and exhibition reflecting on their time in Australia. The exhibition will include a selection of student projects from this workshop and a similar workshop held at UWA in Perth.

Event details

Permanent Temporary - Realising Change in Australian Cities - Magma Architecture, Berlin
Friday 12 October, 6.30 – 7.30pm
Pre drinks from 6pm

Tusculum, 3 Manning Street, Potts Points

Pllease book your tickets online