Category Archives: Conferences

Vitra Design Museum Houses an Exhibition on Social Housing

The Vitra Design Museum is housing Together! The New Architecture of the Collective, an exhibition focusing on social housing that is mostly triggered by social unrest, high real state values, and housing shortage. Launched this past week, the exhibition shows social housing’s history and development through time, presenting various projects from Europe, Asia, and the United States. The exhibition shows how new concepts of collective housing are creating a new form of living, and it pushes the message that conventional housing development might not be the answer to our 21st-century housing challenges.

Using models, films, and walk-in displays, the show is structured in four sections, starting with a look into the history of collective housing borne from social and political unrest. A series of films show the responses to housing challenges of their time, including the Phalansteres invented by Charles Fourier, the late-19th-century Monte Verita colony in the Swiss part of the Ticino, the housing cooperatives of the 1920s, the autonomous community of Christiania in Copenhagen, and the Karthago cooperative in Zurich. “For many, the idea of collective living offers an affordable remedy to urban isolation,” says the exhibition’s press release.

In the exhibition’s second section, visitors can get a closer look at 21 large-scale models of contemporary social housing experiments, curated to create an imaginary city. In addition to focusing on the social aspects of collective housing, these projects—designed by international architecture firms such as Einszueins Architektur, Heide & Von Beckerath, Michael Maltzan Architecture, Ondesign $ Partners, Pool Architekten, and Ryue Nishizawa—explore fundamental principles of “volume, facade, and materials,” according to the press release, and demonstrate how facing challenges along the way led the architects to achieve a unique aesthetic. These projects also blur the boundaries between private and public spaces.