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move, mobile real estate 02-200x.jpg © Rolf Brunsendorf
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move, mobile real estate 03-200x.jpg © Rolf Brunsendorf
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move, mobile real estate 01-200x.jpg © Rolf Brunsendorf
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move, mobile real estate 04-200x.jpg © Rolf Brunsendorf
Buch: move, mobile immobilien
Verlag: Artypo Schaller GmbH
Stadt: Cologne, Germany
Datum: 01 / 2009
Bildrechte: Rolf Brunsendorf, Jörg Zimmermann, Wilfried Dechau, Jörg Hempel, Jörg Lange

move, mobile real estate: Research Work on Usage Densification

The debate between those who think architecture from its form and those who think it from its use has been running through the architecture scene since the 1960s. One can describe the attitude of both currents with the simple pattern of Freudian psychoanalysis. On the one hand, there are those who see the solution in order and clear structure, who create rules, are control-fixed even over the completion of the project, and use forms repetitively. They correspond to the Freudian superego and have a tendency towards representative architecture. Their clients are primarily representatives of the state or economic elite. The unconventional, intuitive, and situationally controlled are connected to the superego in permanent opposition, so to speak, for whom the other and the foreign, the unfamiliar and uncontrollable in architecture constitutes a quality. She is convinced that architecture is preferable to the experience of complexity and contradiction. They are representatives of the id. For Freud, the central task is the integration and balance of the id and super-ego elements in the ego. “An overpowering superego threatens to destroy the vital and creative energies and suffocate the joys of life - it causes neuroses. A superpowerful super-ego undermines any chance of planned rational action.

In other words, two alternatives are discernible: “Architectures that derive their quality from physical realities, and those that derive their quality from what they make possible.

The book takes a position and clearly favors open architecture. Everyone may clarify for themselves which direction they find more appealing. Before going into the topic in more depth, the following questions should be asked:
-> Do you inform clients openly or strategically?
-> Do you insist on unconditional execution on the building site, or do you let people talk to you?
-> Does a client who is continuing to build on your project bother you?
-> Do you come back with the photographers even after the clients have moved in?

Starting point

The notion of an omnipotent space that overcomes what separates and draws only temporarily necessary boundaries between inside and outside, that does not make functions or their spatial appearances a permanent state, that provides different and also contradictory qualities, the notion of a space of complexity that moves freely between different states and, despite all the possibilities for change, also brings one back to the starting point, a space whose omnipotence does not burden, but rather stimulates discovery - this notion is possible today.

Several developments form the basis:
-> a progressive social liberalization
-> a rapid technical development
-> and an emancipation of society in the use of technology

The models and theoretical debates on interactive and mobile systems are not new and have been known since the 1960s. After postmodernism, however, the idea of changeable space is experiencing a new impetus. But what is different today? Are there other conditions that override the main criticism of a lack of use of flexible spaces?

The decisive differences that facilitate the use of interactive systems and give them a new meaning, not only in terms of the media, have been evident in social developments since the 1960s. The use of architectural offerings requires self-determined, active personalities who are aware of the offerings and also have the decision-making ability to use them. The 1960s created the basic conditions for this through social liberalization.

Flexibility - the liberation from ties to the floor plan - was the architectural response of the 1960s to this development. While these ideas were only accepted by a limited number of users at the time, they are now a natural part of our society. Today, we have left the rigid ties of familiar milieus and switch unexcitedly between different working worlds and forms of work. Our everyday products are characterized by accelerated reactions to changing consumer wishes and serve increasingly complex usage requirements. Today, everyone wants more: We want the simultaneous availability of different things in a situation and enjoy the freedom of choice.

Today, mobile real estate meets a different social understanding. Today we are used to a reflective lifestyle. Technology tailored to the consumer is being made accessible in a playful way. Its scenic quality perfectly matches the attitude to life of our leisure society and its hedonistic consumer behaviour.
Added to this is the blurring of the boundaries between private and public and the penetration of the public into the private. Both question the classical architectural space and lead to the dissolution of the functional bondage of places. In addition, the blurring of the spaces and their use is promoted by an unbelievable variety of architectural offers and furnishing possibilities as well as the resulting demands and contradictory wishes of the users. We are in an age of ambivalence. It is not about compensation strategies in search of ways out, not to fall back into simple images or historical certainties, but about understanding the qualities and chances of this freedom for architecture and developing it further.

Technical development is the engine of possibilities. Siegfried Gideon used medieval furniture to describe its various uses and mechanisms. In architecture in the 1920s, simple mechanical systems made possible mainly by the folding mechanism were the starting point. The use of the folding mechanism was transferred by modernism in a leap in scale to parts of buildings. Entire walls became available, and room components could be put together as desired. Essentially, it was a matter of saving space, which enabled functional double occupancy of locations.

In the 1960s, groups such as Archigram and Haus Rucker developed from simple systems that had been used mechanically for centuries to evolutionary computer-assisted processes that made use of new developments in materials and enabled extreme stretching and informative presentations of surfaces.
While the 1960s offered a visionary outlook on future developments and were more of a narrative promise than state of the art, today we have a technical knowledge that makes the computer the natural background of our reality. However, its use is mainly limited to intelligent building technology for energy saving and less to the changeability of the room itself.

While simple mechanical systems tend to break up the classical spatial concept in residential projects, the evolutionary computer-based systems are used in commercial or public buildings. The only limitation is the cost.


The prerequisite for mobile real estate is to no longer think of architecture solely in terms of form, but rather in terms of its use and potential situations. In the design process, we have to focus on the idea of what might happen, and not just on the representative capabilities of the form.
We are called upon to evade the formal cynicism that is so appealing in the repetition and self-dramatization of architecturally familiar images. A formal strictness that signals to the most simple-minded about self-limitation “There must be architecture here” enables recognizability, but is at best a negation of the diversity and freedom of social and societal conditions and is therefore unrealistic. The one-dimensionality of a form- and style-oriented professional group with its permanent author reference contradicts in its architectural results the reality of a postmodern, pluralistic society. Architecture is not only an aesthetic object of admiration or symbolic representation. It is also a starting point for life. It is about a structural differentiation of architecture analogous to the diversifying demands of the users.

The understanding of form is changing. The classical form is dissolved and the perceptible options inscribed in the space confidently take their place and their task - but more freely and openly. In the best case, dealing with the space corresponds more to a flowing between the options than to a mutual recall. In this self-understanding, architecture is process rather than form. We experience an architecture that is free of form, transformative and perceived as a course and sequence.

The boundaries of classical space with its “frozen forms and uses” are passé. The new spaces have a calling character and provide a multi-layered offer, so that the diversity, the contradictions and
can reflect the ambiguities of social life in them. In contrast to the purism of aesthetic constriction, the architecture of the final form is not created, but rather an architecture of the users.


Due to the boundless possibilities of the new technologies of the media age, architecture is a place of networking and exchange. The classical place of historical and spatial morphologies is dissolving in favor of a field of meaning of changeable relations. The result is a new paradoxical picture of limiting individualization and infinite relation.
“Everyone is referred back to himself. And everyone knows that this self is little. The self is little, but it is not isolated, it is trapped in a fabric of relations that has never been so complex and mobile,” says Jean François Lyotard.

Why should architecture elude this reality and its opportunities? Architecture must have the intelligence to create relations to the environment, to the user and to the narrower and wider space in analog or digital form. It must be capable of initiating a dialogue in which the user is not only a spectator of formal perfection, but also has the ability to make decisions. The resident should be given the opportunity to not only react to rigidities, but to act in interaction between subject and object. He should be confronted with an architecture that offers alternatives and optionally enables different uses. Flusser formulates: “[…] future building designs will be nodes for a dialogical network. For the first time we are no longer subject to habits, but we can design them.

Why then, in a roundabout way, should architecture be understood not only as a place equipped with tools of communication, but also as a communicative medium, whose surface is not only played on in the sense of informative charging, but whose structure itself possesses qualities of changeability and performance?

The flexibilisation of the floor plan represents nothing more than an indirect form of communication between architect and inhabitant about the break in connection with the completion.

Both as well as

Since the use is conceivable, but by no means controllable, a straightforward discursive design process can be of little use, we must also design differently. The classical architectural design process is first and foremost a
simplification model. One situation is distinguished from another and finally the apparently better one is preferred. Variants serve to determine the optimum. In retrospect, a comprehensible logical design process with a multitude of decision nodes is created - “either-or” is the principle. The result is a fixed, permanently binding architectural condition for the user.

If you want your projects to reflect the complexity of social reality, you have to detach yourself from the automatism of the optimization model. In the future, architecture will be a gateway to the variety of possibilities. In the ideal case, this requires the integration of all conceivable solution possibilities during the design process.
In a pluralistic society, one-dimensional space is only of limited use as a solution. The desire for a single, clearest possible solution is anachronistic. A self-determined society demands that design decisions be shifted to the utilization phase. Design must rather be an open field of manifold possibilities, in which functional and social relationships can be freely designed at any time.

The strategy is often the same: first things are taken away from their usual context of meaning and fixed expectations; then ambiguity is transferred to them.

How can this be imagined? Similar to the cinematic concept of “Lola runs”, different conceivable possibilities are considered equal in the project and, if possible, merged. A deep, multi-layered, perhaps even opaque space is created. It gives chances for discoveries; wishes, contradictions and options are inscribed in it. It will offer more than what the user can imagine or what he expects from the architect during the assignment. It holds formal and functional secrets whose hints appear on the surface and serve as a starting point for an architectural journey. The design reflects possible scenes, sets the inhabitant himself in motion by incorporating several possibilities for action and thus lets him merge into the space as a self-confident control element.


Appropriation is one of the key terms for understanding mobile real estate. Appropriation is basically an active process, but has static and dynamic aspects. Appropriation is rather static in understanding and arranging the space as a mental walk through the place by means of the senses and challenges the dynamics of the inhabitant in personalizing, changing and intervening. Only through appropriation does the user give meaning to his built environment and create a connection to it. The aim is to “occupy the space physically, perceptively and emotionally”. The appropriated space is a “stable frame” and at the same time the starting point for action and discovery. “The constancy of the architectural space structures one’s own life spatially and temporally and at the same time stimulates the inhabitant to vary and change. Appropriation takes place in the alternation between assimilation and change.
The opposite - expropriation - takes place in lifeless anonymous or dominant architecture that does not allow active confrontation and exchange.

The focus of the project and appropriation process is first and foremost the user. However, the logic and easily understandable advantages of the often unusual combination of functions of mobile projects also facilitates communication with those involved in the construction site. The strategic and conceptual rather than formal approach makes the projects so robust that they can withstand limited “revision” and formal change by those involved, since the focus is not on the consistently executed form, but rather on the fact of different dispositions of the produced space. The relaxed relationship of form between architect and craftsman often leads to technically better solutions. Tormenting wrangling over competence and classic role models are no longer necessary. The discussion does not focus on an appropriate representation,
millimeter-exact execution, but on the enabling of the often unusual, but always obvious functional relationship. The humor that the projects trigger during execution leads to a different communication. The mobile projects of our office mean above all fun for those involved on the construction site - the client, the architect and the craftsmen.

For me, however, the cognitive linguistic appropriation of the space by its inhabitants was the surprising experience. The unusual possibility to dispose of the space not only triggers an action in “Fahrt ins Grüne”, but also shapes the language of the residents and visitors - not only in terms of its formal representation. The house becomes a real partner that is talked about, whose possibilities for change are described and commented on in language. The discussion is characterized by a lack of distance. The scenic nature of the architecture and the fact that it cannot be set in motion by itself, but only with the residents, creates a naturalness and familiarity in mutual interaction. The building is perceived and described as humorous or bizarre.
The unusual fact that a house is mobile is not only understood by its inhabitants as being consistently conceptual. It does not remain just an object, but through its movement becomes a living, equal communication partner with a sense of humor. At first I felt it was an insult to my architectural awareness that architecture here is first and foremost nice and sympathetic, and above all its humor is perceived. But more and more I realized that the wit of the projects and the integration of the architecture into the language of the inhabitants is the real quality and that this shows a relaxed attitude towards architecture. An architecture of transformation and option without dominance of form is one that is direct, uncomplicated and playful, humorously poetic and also universally understandable.

In the more than 10 years of existence of “Fahrt in Grüne”, I have never met anyone who did not immediately recognize the usefulness of transformation and, moreover, did not get carried away by the poetically humorous level of the project. Anyone who can push his house back and forth loses the submissive attitude towards the aesthetics of his own home and experiences a sensuality of use that is not only useful but above all fun. Architecture in motion solves the admiration compulsion towards a perfectionist architecture. The unfamiliarity of an architecture that questions itself in its movement causes astonishment and above all laughter. For me, the essential experience is not that of a practical space of manifold possibilities, but the laughter of the builders at meetings, the craftsmen at the construction site and the visitors at festivals when they experience the project in motion. While I was rather irritated at the beginning that friends or builders appealed to the humor of the project, it was later clear to me that behind the otherwise pejorative description was meant the quality of the project, to have arrived in the middle of the everyday life of the users.

I would like to see buildings that do not evoke distant respect but a more familiar tone. According to the environmental psychologist Carl-Friedrich Graumann, language is the medium and organon (tool) of interaction and opens up the structure and meaning of space for the occupant. Architects are therefore called upon to analyze the residents’ linguistic engagement with their buildings and draw conclusions from this. The linguistic appropriation is the expression of an emotional relationship of residents to their environment, in which the “basic needs of conventional expectations and feedback experiences” of the residents are reflected.

Access possibility

Criticism of optional rooms is always the same and aims at a lack of use of the offer. Utilization of the options naturally presupposes an understanding of how a possible result can be achieved. A decision must not be prevented by a lack of clarity about how the change process will proceed. That presupposes the recognizability of clear offers.

Multiple options must also make sense. It is not about the quantity of the offer, in which the individual option competes with many others. From this alone a diffuse picture of arbitrariness results, in which an inflated offer occupies senselessly. Only in a perceptible difference of the alternatives does the option unfold and the actor actually has the possibility to make a decision. One can see from a plan how seriously the option has in common, whether man and the human scale is the reference. In the drawings of Ludwig Leo or Renzo Piano, the human being and a possible behavior is always included. The unfolding of the poetry of use ultimately depends on the simplicity of the decision and its control. Alternatives must be clearly differentiated and recognizable. Change processes must be able to be triggered immediately and the new space must be immediately available.

Access requires a simple technique: it must be as uncomplicated as possible. In contrast to the ideas of the 1960s, I, like Gustau Gili, see flexibility in the future more through soft-tech.


The architect designs offers that allow for a wide variety of spatial dispositions. Their use depends on perception and the call character, which stimulates our motivation and our needs in space.

The way in which the environment is designed determines the degree of stimulation, which influences people on all levels of their experience - from perception to action. Architectural design is the source of affordances: an armchair, for example, invites people to sit down. The user behavior of rooms is defined by the range of functions they offer.

The room must provide qualities that have the property of stimulating people through their sensory organs. Under- and over-stimulation must be taken into account.
In order to ensure the attractiveness of the room, environmental characteristics “such as complexity, novelty and incongruity are required for the regulation of interest”.

Stimulation is necessary not only for perception, but also for the development and maintenance of normal behavior in the room. However, active exploration depends on the degree to which uncertainty and conflict are triggered in the person. The ability to read how a mobile space develops takes away the user’s inhibition to become active. Indications of possible room scenes are more helpful than a detailed visual anticipation of the possibilities. The drive to use mobile real estate also consists of curiosity and the prospect of discovering something new.

Rooms must therefore not only offer clear answers, but also ask questions and break user expectations in order to maintain attention and motivation over a longer period of time. The user needs a “structured stimulus and a varied input of stimuli” The larger and more differentiated the cognitive space a person has at his disposal, the greater the possibility that he will also move within the space he represents.

In all projects we try to break up the usual fixation of space, function and formal statement or object and use by new unexpected combinations of parts of the space and set them in motion. The aim is to prevent the monotonous, the everyday, the functional bondage and the fixed expectations of the space. By anchoring the option, the same space calls for new or different uses. The space should be experienced again and again by the user. The change is a questioning of basic habits. In action, one is called upon to rediscover the space and also to explain oneself anew. With the use of the room, even entrenched connotations, meanings and linguistic behavior change. The point is to increase the action potential of the users
to challenge.
Vilem Flusser expresses this as follows: “The apartment as a network of habits serves to catch adventures and serves as a springboard into adventure.

In the space between

For the architect it is not a matter of brittle, formal fixations, but of developing ideas of situations, calculating possible and expected actions and challenging them with surprising and stimulating architectural elements. Architects are called upon to imagine the use of space in time and to describe scenes of use in the design and describe processes. In the end, it is all about behavior in space and social actions. The significance of the designed space is no less important, it only arises indirectly when it is seen as a scene background. The vocabulary, is that of the stage and the theater. There the decisive thing is the action. Architecture is thus defined as a catalyst of interaction between architecture and user. “The task is to unlock possibilities that the environment holds within itself by building a relationship between people and things by harnessing the abilities of the inhabitants.”

If architecture is supposed to enable communication between the shell and the occupant, the perspective of design inevitably shifts to the space in between, the user’s space of action. The operating shell becomes secondary and acquires meaning solely by enabling the action. In this respect, architecture not only defines the space, but also provides a range of elements that the occupant can use. Lerup compares buildings to stages that provide props with which “the residents create their own personal spectacle”. Since the residents bring with them individual experiences and ideas, they are, according to Lerup, not reactive organisms, but active individuals who, in the appropriation of the building, bring it to its actual architectural purpose. The form and intensity of the appropriation changes over time of use and is fed back by the users. The relationship to architectural space is an open and dynamic system of many factors.

The inhabitant of the space is not only a user and a fulfillment of the behavioral patterns assigned to the space by the architect. They can break out of the architect’s calculated system at any time and even alienate it.

Physical space does not therefore set in motion an unconditional behavior, it is rather the framework within which the inhabitant moves. Within the offer, he will develop his own manners against the background of his individual experience. He is an individual with his own ideas, his own biography and also a capacity for development in his relationship to architecture. Due to the fixed spatial framework, the user has a certain disposition, which he/she perceives and uses differently in each case due to his/her specific personal experiences. The relationship to space is not only reaction, but interaction between object and subject. Architecture is therefore more like a catalyst of stimulation and support for perception. Thus different biographies in the same environment lead to different perceptions and behaviors. Conversely, in different situations the object receives different meanings and functions. Thus, even in consistent or formally rigid spaces, the interaction is not fixed, but rather dependent on the person and situation. As a consequence, this means a questioning of the omnipotence of planning.

Cyclic time

Time as part of the architectural imagination appeared at the beginning of modernity in Gideon’s “Space Time and Architecture”. The architectural effects of transparency are compared to works of art by the Futurists and Cubists, and the sensuality of the simultaneous is described as a point of view from which it is possible to observe different viewpoints. “[…] thus a fourth dimension was added to the three dimensions that defined the space of the Renaissance: time.

Walter Benjamin goes even further by looking not only at transparency but at reflection, and speaks of a transparency of penetration and overlap in which the meanings of things oscillate and merge into one another. The spatial and temporal simultaneity and the associated “destabilization of cognitive certainties
arises from the “formal interplay between foreground and background, figure and ground, space and surface”.

Only the inclusion of time makes the complex reality of space vivid from one point of view. The space acquires a poetic blurriness in which stretched time and moment, fixed point of view and movement, process and situation, totality and excerpt merge into the simultaneous. Behind the simultaneous perception, however, there is a static pictorial idea of space. Ultimately the method is the freezing of processes in an offered image. Moreover, the viewer is only involved to a limited extent. He has no possibilities on the action level, but finds a purely visually charged space. An action between object and human being is not a goal. In order to anchor the concept of time in reality, a purely visual integration must become a real offer and movement must come into the space.

However, the possibilities must not only be expanded, but, in order not to endanger the user’s ability to make decisions, they must above all be structured in a perceptible way. Changes in space must not be a neurotic non-stop of an incoherent acceleration society that no longer knows a beginning or an end. Option and changeability only become meaningful and self-evident through a possible rhythm: seasons, temperature changes, day-night changes or in the form of medium-term cycles for changes of location, atmosphere or function. Rhythm creates a familiar relationship between space and time for the user. Because the intervals of change remain explainable, it conveys a feeling of constancy within the changeability. Rhythm is the restructuring of spatially disstructured space through time. Cyclical time takes over the necessary orientation standard in the liberated, hierarchy-less space. This standard of orientation is order and free flow at the same time.

Architecture as a journey

The optional room is not a fixed location. For the inhabitants it is the medium of change and a kind of companion on the journey through time. Architecture that moves means a change of state and distance from the familiar. The action that the user triggers mediates between situations. The feeling that arises when using optional architecture resembles the ambivalence of travel, which oscillates between the desire to fulfill fixed expectations - triggered by the travel guides - and the longing for the unknown. The known and familiar of the real situation is deposited by the unknown of a possible situation. Risk taking is necessary to break out of the world of familiar package deals. Only through movement and change of location, triggered by curiosity, can freedom be experienced and horizons broadened. Interesting and extraordinary things can only be brought and communicated by those who have set out on a journey. “Nomads, unlike the sedentary, do not just reserve a few weeks of the year for the journey to happiness - they elevate it to the art of living”.

Vilem Flusser’s realization that “nomads experience and possess sedentary people” makes it clear that new experiences are only possible in the limbo of improvisation and the experiment of breaking out of habit. Ethnologists have found that nomads have no distinct religion and few customs and rituals. Travel and the experience gained from it replace rituals. Thus the escape from the everyday life of architecture through movement brings a direct gain in knowledge and benefit without detours and can do without entrenched rituals of action.

In addition, traveling also leads to a different, concentrated way of dealing with things: The objects become smaller and their meaning focuses on use rather than aesthetics. It is about the real relationship to the things that make things possible rather than represent them.

Another poetic side effect of the movement and change in time and space by the traveler are his traces. An architecture of movement should not close itself to the poetry of possible traces. As planned traces or traces that arise over time, they can become a recognizable architectural expression of space and reflect the possibilities of movement and options. It is a quality and not a blemish of wear and tear to be able to interpret and decipher the potential of movement by means of traces in space.

Poetry of uncertainty

Architecture is the attempt to gain control over the place. Architects want to control the space and usually have a dislike of unsolved questions and imponderables. The unfinished represents a blemish, and uncertainties trigger a loss of confidence in the client.

During the planning phase, however, I was confronted with very changeable ideas and contradictory demands in almost all of the client appointments. The latent ambivalence on the part of the client is confronted with the uncertainty of the architect who is looking for the best possible solution. Moreover, it is not possible to plan what will happen to a place, as the users will be far more creative than what planning can ever imagine. The unpredictable factor is the user. It is absurd to expect consistency from him. The only certainty is that even the most empirical planning can be alienated by the possible use and imagination of the users.

The French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, however, sees the loss of control and uncertainty rather as an advantage and speaks in this context of the imagination of the user, who sometimes uses a building surprisingly differently than planned. As planners, we must recognize that a creative misuse of the planned, as the Situationists also saw it in contrast to the banal hyperlogic of modernity, is more inspiring than the fulfillment of the user’s calculated behavioral patterns in the planning process. “The architect can never hope to dominate the object (i.e. the building itself) as an event […] these (events) develop according to other laws” and so on… “our world would be unbearable without this inherent power of abuse. […] and I believe there is also something seductive about this for the architects themselves, to imagine that […] the spaces they invent […] are places of secret, random, unpredictable and, so to speak, poetic behavior, and not only those that can be recorded officially and in statistical numbers.

The inevitable loss of control over the building after completion and handover should therefore lead to strategies other than extending the control mechanisms in fantasies of omnipotence or deliberately restricting the possibilities for action by means of design specifications. Why not simply accept the uncertainty, see in it an almost poetic power for the project, take it as a starting point for the complexity of a project and consciously insert variables? This makes the project more honest and contextual.
Our projects therefore rarely prescribe a clear spatial or organizational sequence, but rather offer a functionally and formally open system. For us, it is the “unfinished” that makes participation possible for the inhabitant, who creates the whole through his interventions. We want a space that goes beyond the result of the constructed object, that includes the potential and also aims at areas outside its own shape.

In addition to unexpected actions, there must also be room for unexpected things. Here, however, it is not just a matter of channelling a design deficiency through architecture, but rather, in the sense of Charles Eames, who distinguished structures of form and growth in architecture, of a relaxed attitude and view that sees the actual space as being completed only through use and the things that fill it.

However, the goal should not be to develop a neutral camp of pure infrastructure - sensual and physical qualities remain just as necessary. The things, when included in the design as an expression and indicator of the intensity of use, can be immensely helpful in enabling a freer concept of beauty.

The optional space therefore does not necessarily presuppose pure structure and neutral zone - nobody wants to go back to the 1960s. If anything, the model is more Cederic Price than Constant and Archigram. In his flexible spaces, Price creates the human reference most easily through his scale and conceptual sensibility, which eludes all placative or formal images and creates honest offers.

For acceptance, however, optional spaces need above all an architectural expression. Neutral structures lead to uniformity through the dissolution of perceptible differences and - according to Richard Sennett - thus comprehensibly lead to the monotony of our cities, in which flexibility is made possible through interchangeability, but at the expense of their inhabitants, who are thus rendered emotionless. Space needs an architectural presence, but this does not necessarily have to remain fixed. What is needed are spaces that create atmospheres in which the sensations of the object can be experienced and synaesthetic experience is stimulated by changeability.
It is always also a question of what spaces create, because “architecture has the role that [Walter] Benjamin assigned to cinema: the deepening of perception - in the case of mobile real estate, a more complex perception of changing phenomena.

Possible realities

“If there is a sense of reality, there must also be a sense of possibility. But if there is a sense of reality, and nobody will doubt that it has its right to exist, then there must also be something that can be called a sense of possibility.
Whoever possesses it, for example, does not say, “Here this or that has happened, will happen, must happen; but he invents: Here this could, should, or must happen; and when something is explained to him that it is as it is, he thinks: Well, it could probably be different, too.”

Designing happens in the subjunctive and is a promise into the future. The connection between present and future, which takes place in the design process, is the actual poetry. However, the sense of “possible reality” or “real possibilities” requires imagination for both - architect and user.

It is the same with the finished room. A room that is transformed cannot be explained immediately. It loses its defining character, becomes interpretable and receives a pictorial depth effect. For the inhabitant, perceived, present and possible future space is synthesized in the imagination and transferred into a state of suspension of visual ambiguity that goes beyond the real. Visible and potential space merge, or as Jean Baudrillard says: “A successful space is a space that exists beyond its own reality.
The space is explored from different angles “in a sphere of uncertainty between the conscious and the unconscious “. The overlapping of possible space scenes results in a freedom of one’s own view, in which more space is seen than is actually present at the moment.
Only through the fictional element and the extension of the real into the imagined space and the mixing of the present and its potential, the reality of space becomes more complex and sensual. The subjunctive is a real available promise and latent drive for the user.

Psychologically, the state of suspension means liberation for the user. An open space contains the potential of manifold actions. The decisive factor is not only the constant, actual use of the options, but also the serenity that arises when one has potential for variation. Even leaving the “real possibilities” in the imagination has a liberating effect.


“Ride in the green” was completed in 1997 and “Room with a view” in 2008. In the more than 10 years between the two projects, a large number of theoretical works and realized mobile projects were created in our office. My work at university and my involvement with many student projects has stimulated and continuously motivated the practical work.
The present book is the result of a research work on the topic of usage densification at the Department of Architectural Theory of the University of Applied Sciences Mainz in winter semester 07/08, supported by the Federal Ministry of Research and Education. It draws on some thoughts of the theoretical works and lectures that have been developed in recent years, arranges, completes and expands on them. The book wants to keep the discourse and passionate arguing for a directly accessible architecture going and is written in the conviction that there are different solutions, which do not necessarily have to be mobile. The content represented and the projects presented are examples and not written against other views that are equally committed to open, humorous and user-oriented architecture.