This May I was happy to participate in the 72 Hours Urban Actions in the team VIVID/H. This year Action took place just 3 hours away from Berlin in the city called Jena-Lobeda. The city name consists of two parts which express its development: Jena is an old town and Lobeda is a GDR Housing Estate Development (Mikrorayon).
Anja Cambria Oellermann
Photos in this post belong
to the Team VIVID/H
Our site was at the park on top of the Autobahn Tunnel. It is a green area that is loved and widely used by the residents of the district. Everybody seemed to be happy with the existing situation as one could walk with the dog, or ride a bicycle or just sit on one of the numerous benches and observe the passing cars or the beautiful view of Saale valley.
The only downside was, as in many former Housing Estate Developments, certain unpopularity of living there. One can always argue that it is not so, as these places contain so much greenery and fresh air for the inhabitants. At the same time, this greenery can be empty.
This situation got us puzzled for a while: how could we contribute to this place? As there is no obvious “problem” to be solved, as a starting point for which we, as architects, usually look for. After long discussions, it hit us: ok, if not problem-solving, maybe it’s a chance for dreaming and bringing something extra to the existing site?
While being on site we noticed the existing strong wind and the absence of sounds. Autobahn noise was cut off by tunnel and there were only few birds singing. And the wind is a perfect potential music instrument.
Our intervention became almost invisible light net structure with plastic elements which by clapping provided calming noise, reminding of waves. One could seat underneath or lay down clothe one’s eyes and rest. Light became another instrument that creates a play of moving shadows on the ground. During the final and opening day, our work was supported also by the local master who creates actual musical instruments and one of his objects that people could try.
Looking back, it is still hard to believe that we found the way to create and build such a structure just in 72 Hours! We slept no more than 8 hours, but somehow, inner drive, curiosity, and teamwork kept us going forward.
The structure could stay on-site for 1 month and got dismantled.
Now, the Autobahn Authority has an interest in bringing our installation back. We are currently working on the potential scenario of reinstalling The Mirror.
As for the 72HUA itself, I can only say: take part! It is an incredibly fun and inspiring experience! It fulfilled all my expectations and even more.