The sense of belonging that we get from a place is determined by the way it opens itself for appropriation. When a project lacks of spaces that foster interaction, encounter and exchange of ideas, segregation is a natural, yet unwilling consequence. We believe that through bringing together cultural and working/labor activities that usually do not tend to interact, while at the same time fostering spaces where different work cultures can come together, inclusion can become real.
The aim is to create a place that encourages and drives interaction and community with the purpose of avoiding segregation. Everyone is invited to be involved in the decision-making in both the conception and the active life of the project. We believe that all the voices should have the equal right to be heard, and architecture can help this to happen.
Adding to the production of a place of belonging, we started thinking not only of the physical architectural result, but also about to question its becoming. To have an involvement of what is to become of the project, we were triggered by the idea of imagining a system —that could be understood as a software— that will allow this architectures to be appropriated.
As a starting point, we conceive many of the spaces to be working environments, surrounded by more-open structures that we call courtyards, and we set a main focus on the places in-between, the gray zones of interaction as a discursive framework of inclusion.
For the interior spaces, we envision them as small-scale working places, where people that do not have the best opportunities to start-off in Berlin can appropriate by a designated grant, this is what we call the software of the framework we are designing.
This grant will provide firstly, an opportunity to experiment and showcase their work. Later they can decide to be included elsewhere in the city, or to settle into the existing building. Secondly, the Common Block provides guidance and assistance from experts in fields that are usually not easy to access to (e.g. financial, law, design and other services). This interaction is envisioned to provoke and create unexpected and creative outcomes.