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ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN | Reverse Architecture Chemnitz | Germany

Chemnitz, an eastern German metropolis (~250.000 inhabitants) in Saxony, went from being off the radar of public awareness to be breaking national and international news. This was caused by events that happened on and after August 26, 2018 - these were triggered by the homicide of 35-year-old who was stabbed to death after an annual public festival. This marked a turning point in the self-awareness of stability of the democratic system in Germany.

As a counter-reaction to the stabbing, a to this day unidentified gathering of Hooligans, right-wing extremists and ready for violence slobs took over the city in an anarchic demonstration of power. They hunted foreigners, foreign-looking people, people that opposed and those who stood up for democratic values. The police that showed up too late and with not enough reinforcement had to give up the state’s monopoly on legitimate use of force.

While Saxony’s third largest city, Chemnitz, is currently trying to win the vote to be the ‘European Capital of Culture 2025’, it has to face public perception to be a breach of taboo since the summer of 2018.
Chemnitz is now a term for escalation of a brutal and aggressive crowd, that was supported by ‘worried citizens’ and that did not less but to fight peace, disarm the constitutional state and destroy democracy.

Not to amplify the alarmism around the debate in an unprejudiced way, the examination of urban situations where the crucial venues of that conflict took place were the center of attention.

Architectural tools, media, theories, and strategies are used to research an existing situation and thereby exposing its historical backgrounds, urban planning, use, genesis, potentials, and unique qualities. By doing so, a complex urban situation is investigated and in process medially transformed to generate an actual, differentiated and critical contribution. Focus lay on mass and void, space and volume but also historical, social, cultural and political forces and changes.
Here, architectural practices were not used to change sites or situations, but to experimentally research and dig into the multi-layered connections, to make these visible and readable.

Not an addition or intervention was the topic of this project, but the complexity of the status quo.

Media Sources:
Deutsche Welle International:
New York Times Video:

IMD Study Trip Chemnitz:

Concept and directed by Nicolai Schlapps with Prof. Matthias Karch
Student work by
Anxiety Spaces: Jennifer Kamm, Josefine Kiesewalter, Yvonne Köneke
Karl-Marx-Junction: Jia Yuzhe
Forensic Demonstrations: Markus Gamm
Reverse Diary: Katharina Buchardt
Uncanny Hill: Ahmed Kria, Niklas Labuhn
Photography © Nicolai Schlapps Schlapps - 2019-02-06 JIA YUZHE 09 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 JIA YUZHE 05 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 JIA YUZHE 04 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 JIA YUZHE 06 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 JIA YUZHE 02 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 JIA YUZHE 03 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 JIA YUZHE 08 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 ANGSTRÄUME 01 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 ANGSTRÄUME 02 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 ANGSTRÄUME 09 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 ANGSTRÄUME 04 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 ANGSTRÄUME 03 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 ANGSTRÄUME 10 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 ANGSTRÄUME 07 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 ANGSTRÄUME 06 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 ANGSTRÄUME 08 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-06 ANGSTRÄUME 05 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-14 UNCANNY HILL 01 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-14 UNCANNY HILL 02 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-14 UNCANNY HILL 03 web1024.jpg Schlapps - 2019-02-14 UNCANNY HILL 04 web1024.jpg