Adaptive Skin Berlin

Rethinking urban fabric

The second skin of the earth (the city) provides shelter, space and opportunities for human life. Its structures, materiality and forms are constantly changing, adapting and evolving in response to new challenges. The second skin of human beings (clothing) provides protection, space and opportunities for movement. Its structures, materiality and forms are constantly changing, adapting and evolving in response to new lifestyles and user requirements. What do the city and clothing have in common in their role as second skins? Which functionalities are specific? What is needed for both “skins” to respond to the future? What can be learnt from transferring design methodologies and prototypical thinking from one scale to the other?

In the design studio, the human scale was the mediator between the urban and the micro fabric scale of the clothing. The “second skin of earth” was explored through the eyes of a fabric or textile designer and the architects learnt from clothing, surfaces, facades and interface elements to interpret and rethink urban fabric. A trans-disciplinary project team of architects and textile/ product designers jointly examined the characteristics of both skins and created solutions at different scales. Alexanderplatz served as the study field.

As an outcome of the semester project an Adaptive Skin of the Future was designed and translated into a dynamic masterplan for the Alexanderplatz as well as facade designs, urban furniture and other products made of innovative textile and material designs.

The project was set-up as a teaching cooperation between Nadine Kuhla von Bergmann (former lecturer at the department CHORA Conscious City, TU Berlin), Christiane Sauer (Professor for Material Design) and Antonella Giannone (Professor for Fashion Theory) of the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee and was attended by students of both universities.The architectural detail design was supported by Marta Carrero Casas (Department of Building Technology & Design, TU Berlin). Markus Lager (Kaden+Lager Architects) and Matthias Heskamp (Radbahn Berlin) supported as guest lecturers. Gian Marco Morigi and Sophia Albrecht supported in the research around historic facts of Alexanderplatz and future urban trends.

The image above shows a “Raumkleid (Space Dress)” resulting from the one-week intensive workshop in November 2017.