Habitat Unit

Prof. Dr. Philipp Misselwitz, Dr. Christian Haid, Áine Ryan, Dr. Anna Marie Steigemann

Infrastructures of Consumerism

The logistical infrastructures of our consumer society are not only changing our inner-city neighbourhoods and shopping streets, but also extending the footprint of Berlin’s outer suburbs project by project, with political negotiations often short-cutting the forward planning processes. The Distribution Centre, for instance, is emerging as an extreme version of the big-box typology. Devoid of any interface with its surroundings, it recedes from view and betrays the deep and often exploitative dependence these infrastructures have on local labour, natural resources, and mobility structures. Another newer infrastructure of consumerism are the hybrid architectures of stores that used to sell different products and now distribute digitally ordered products on the neighborhood scale, such as Spätis.

Infrastructures of Consumerism Poster

This studio examines these consumerism-infrastructures from the viewpoint of the receiving real-world context. Analysis methods developed by the Habitat Unit on global flows and infrastructure will be extended to investigate the city-scaled consumerism landscape from edge to centre. Scenario thinking will explore the potential of the ‘locality’ scale within various development trajectories for these outer Berlin suburbs over the next 20 years, with corresponding design proposals focussing on spatial interfaces that simultaneously situate the distribution centre typology and make visible its inherent inequalities; for the benefit of people who work in them, the people confronted by them in their localities and for those of us who enjoy the unchecked convenience of instant (online) shopping.

The studio is part of the interdisciplinary project “Berlin 2040”, funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, which investigates possible futures for the metropolitan region of Berlin-Brandenburg.

More information here.

Course Information+

Design Studio
12 ECTS + 3 ECTS (PIV)
MA UD: PJ 1-3 EP
Arch: EP Städtebau I
MA SRP: PJ 1-3

Teaching Day
Thursdays 10am - 6pm

First meeting
April 23rd, 2020 (further information to be announced)

Via ISIS course selection