The Mathematics of the Ideal Genossenschaft
Buildings fall prey to predicaments when architects, in attempting to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and to conceal all that must be done in order to do so, resort to the use of strange and exceptional forms. The process of unearthing and introducing architectural predicaments can expose and ultimately lead to the revision of norms, assumptions and standards that usually remain undetected in architecture. —Scott Cohen
Any given building at least points to a set of rules or ideals to which it aspires. While the collective housing project at Stüssistrasse 19-31 is not emphatic about anything, it at least seems to say: “I am symmetrical,” “I am rational,” “I am efficient,” “I am straightforward,” “I am Heimat,” “I am democratic,” and so on. Yet, as one begins to follow up on these assurances, the building’s announced principles turn into a list of contradictions. One finds imbalance, redundancy, inefficiency and inequality.
This project takes prima facie promises of Stüssistrasse seriously, proposing a chain of minor interventions that, collectively, attempt to iron out the inconsistencies and allow the building to deliver on its promises.