Habitat Unit

Prof. Dr. Philipp MisselwitzHannes Langguth

Studio Rural+
Off the Grid: An Artist's refuge in post-rural Thailand

Throughout the history of modernism, many avant-garde movements have deliberately located themselves outside the city. Rural isolation, the desert, or remote islands became new frontiers where radical experiments could be tested. What connects the ecological movements in the US of the 1960s to today’s “Raumpioniere” in the post-rural area of provincial Saxony-Anhalt, is the desire to create a self-sustaining, alternative refuge away from the compromising city life. Over the last decades, many sites of hybridisation between urban and rural, global and local as well as various strategies of self-organisation processes have been established by this pioneering practice.

 In the late 1990s, Thai artists Rikrit Tiravanija and Kamin Lertchaiprasert set up the project “The Land”, within the rice fields outside the city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Since then, a compound of art structures has emerged and the ambition has grown to create an artists’ colony, cultivated as an open space without ownership. Open to the daily life practice of the local community “The Land” can also be permanently inhabited defying humidity, rain, and offering a place to retreat and work “off the grid”, addressing certain intentions towards community, towards artistic practice and towards experimentation in other fields of thoughts.

The Habitat Unit has been invited to develop a holistic concept for “The Land” in cooperation with the Faculty of Architecture at Chiang Mai University and the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. The design studio will be structured into three parts: in the first phase, students will examine ideas, situations and approaches of global “counter-urbanisation” movements in the 20th and 21st centuries, including both theoretical reflections and case-studies. The second phase will take us to “The Land” itself – an excursion to the rural hinterland of Thailand which will provide an opportunity to study local spatial, cultural, social, ecological and climatic conditions. In a third step, students will develop design proposals for a new, self-sustaining artists’ workshop and residence addressing questions of a self-sustainable environment including programme and daily coexistence, infrastructure and energy production, as well as economic and communal self-organisation. 

SS14-Off the Grid-Poster

The works will be developed and exhibited as part of the “Haushaltsmesse” at the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. The
project will be taught in close cooperation with the architects and
curators Nikolaus Hirsch and Michel Müller (Frankfurt), the artists Rikrit Tiravanija and Kamin Lertchaiprasert (Thailand)  as well as the Cologne Institute for Architectural Design (CIAD) and the Bauhaus Foundation Dessau. The trip to Thailand will be subsidized with a travel grant from the Institute of Architecture, TU Berlin.

An integrated PIV (3 LP) is offered by the Chair of Building Technology and Architectural Design, Prof. Claus Steffan. 


Course Information+

Design studio, 15 ECTS
MA Arch: Arch. M. E. 03/04, Entwurfsprojekt Städtebau I/II
MA UD: PJ 1-3

Teaching day
Thursday, 10 am - 4 pm, A 202

Open Studio
April 7, 2014, 5 pm, A 202

Application Deadline
April 10, 2014


Hannes Langguth

Room A 621 
T + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21830 
F + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21907