Group – Berlin, Germany
Established in 2003, Baupiloten is a collaboration between Technical University Berlin and Susanne Hofmann Architects, which allows architectural students in their fourth and fifth years to be involved in building projects. Set up in the context of a growing call within the German architectural profession for students to be more prepared for professional life, the aim of the studio is to combine education, practice and research. Susanne Hofmann Architects are responsible for finding prospective projects and clients, whilst the changing group of students design, manage and implement the design. Supervision and support is provided by the architectural practice whose principal, Susanne Hofmann, is also part of the faculty at TU Berlin.
The majority of the projects carried out by Baupiloten are for schools or kindergartens for which there is an ongoing programme of restructuring within the German school system. With schools staying open all day and kindergartens taking on explicit teaching roles, existing buildings need to be adapted. Unlike the design/build studios that are popular in the US, such as the Yale Building Project or Rural Studio, Baupiloten do not construct their designs, instead using professional builders. Students work in parallel on individual designs for a few weeks, placing an emphasis on involving children through workshops, drawing and modelling sessions. A final design is agreed upon collaboratively by combining elements from the various designs; afterwards each student takes responsibility for a certain part of the project with Hofmann acting as mediator.
Baupiloten is one of a few examples in architectural education where students are able to work on a building project from design through to completion. The organisational structure of a separate design firm working alongside the university allows questions of liability to be handled separately, making Baupiloten a viable option for institutional clients.
Susanne Hofmann, ‘The Baupiloten: Building Bridges Between Education, Practice and Research’, Architectural Research Quarterly, 8 (2004), 114-127.
—, ‘Schools and Kindergartens under Reconstruction’, in Schools and Kindergartens: A Design Manual, ed. by Mark Dudek (Berlin: Birkhäuser, 2008), pp. 50-53.
Nico Saieh, ‘Taka Tuka Land / Baupiloten’, ArchDaily, 2008, http://www.archdaily.com/519/taka-tuka-land-baupiloten/ [accessed 16 March 2010].
‘Dragon tales: school refurbishment, Berlin, Germany’, Architectural Review, 216 (2004), 83.
‘Il mio asilo e un’isola = My island kindergarten [“Tuka-Tuka-Land,” Berlin, Germany]’, Domus, (2007), 109-113.
‘Conversion of “Tree of Dreams” nursery school in Berlin.’, Detail (English ed.), 3 (2008), 254-255, 330.
‘The Baupiloten – A group of students doing real life projects’, 2008, http://www.archinnovations.com/featured-projects/academic/the-baupiloten-part-1/ [accessed 16 March 2010].
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Erika-Mann Elementary School Berlin
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