Isa Stein

Isa Stein (2010), The Attempt of an Authentic View on Social Housing by Using Two Examples of Roland Rainer, Institute of Urbanism; 1st reviewer: Jean Marie Corneille Meuwissen, 2nd reviewer: Anselm Wagner; 159 pages, German.

Architecture shapes our environment and is a mirror of our society. We are surrounded by architecture that often looks like either simple cardboard boxes or was designed to show off and showcase the architect. Even the architect often sees himself as an archistar (a popstar of architecture) in order to gain success, but is less interested in architecture itself. Especially the social housing projects usually show a lack of care and dedication. The human being turns into an object. Almost all of us morph into one single social character, and we all do, what we think is expected from us. There are hardly any architects left who can rightfully be called visionaries. The term system maintainer is more appropriate. Even the professional training at our universities does not support the role model any longer that we know from the 1920s. Our current environment shows best how architects lost their status and turned from visionary into handyman. Two local projects support this theory. The garden city Puchenau was developed by Roland Rainer right from the start. There was only one housing management corporation involved with the project. The second example is solarCity. Twelve housing management corporations and multiple architects who sought self-fulfillment worked on this project. Even local politicians had high-flying dreams for solarCity: The project should become the leading example for ecology, the integration of legal alien residents, for outstanding architecture and so on. As we can see in this specific example, too much influence from too many sources leads to a lack of identification. In both examples we see that the human being - the resident of the building - should be stimulated very little in order to actively create his personal identification in his neighborhood. Our primary needs are satisfied by only few amenities. This study shows the systematic influences on our built environment.

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