Final Event: Introduction by Dominique Peck and Lisa Marie Zander

11.10.2018

Lisa Marie Zander: We welcome you at the HafenCity University Atrium for the final event of the guest professorship of Momoyo Kaijima from Atelier Bow-Wow.

Dominique Peck: Who are we? My name is Dominique Peck, I am a research assistant at the research and teaching program Urban Design. Before me you heard Lisa Marie Zander who also has been joining us for the organisation of the masterclass. We will start the programme with an observation: What you can see in the atrium today and during this entire week are some special events that do not happen on an everyday basis, but more on an annual basis: it’s the introductory week for new students, we also see a lot of project presentations going on, groups are finishing their works and having their final exams. These special events are coming together with everyday practices in this atrium.

Lisa Marie Zander: Following this observation we‘d like to introduce you to a text on Atrium building design: key aspects to improve their thermal performance on the Mediterranean climate of Santiago de Chile.1

Dominique Peck: Thank you Lisa for the presentation of this text. Now, we‘ll go through the documentation of the masterclass Atrium Behaviorology from August 20 to August 24 2018.
What we see here on the left side of the wall is Take 0, a task given to the students prior to the masterclass. We asked every participant to go to an atrium in their actual home town and document by drawing, text and other pieces of information how this atrium functions. What you can see here on the left are two buildings that are commercial buildings in the UK. We also have two office buildings in Hamburg, designed by Henning Larsen, the Spiegel Building. And then there is also two university buildings. On our right you can see a market hall in Zurich.
So, what we tried to do is basically before actually going to the Masterclass, give students a take to focus on what it means to be in an atrium or what it means to do research in an atrium.
At the beginning of the summer school/masterclass, Momoyo Kaijima asked all the students to present their work and then they developed a program for the summer school on site within the atrium.
On the lower part of the wall we can see a mapping or tracing of different audio signals in the atrium. This shows the atrium of the HafenCity University. Here you can see the bridges connecting the two building parts. The interesting thing of course is, that here is the entrance of the atrium where people are coming in and then inside you can basically track the places of where people would actually go to on a daily basis. So, this is a very rudimentary piece of information that was first quickly put together.
You can easily see that all the big maps where drawn by hand, in coproduction, involving several students. People were sitting on the floor together, exchanging information on what to actually draw. You can see that drawing here is an analytical task, it is not just a projective task.
Here we have the next big map. What the students did here is that they overlayed a design proposal onto a map of the traces and different functions that were identified through the atrium. Most of this might actually be quite banal, but it was quite an interesting task for students to actually focus on these everyday practices and to make them the basic layer of their design proposals for what is supposed to happen in the future of the atrium.

Lisa Marie Zander: One of the design proposals involved to install plants in the atrium. Through them the atmosphere changed rapidly and people noticed them walking by. On the second day they were hanging around the atrium. The students then mapped what was happening with the plants, affecting the atmosphere and people.
At the same time, for the team it was suddenly easier to talk to the facility managers to negotiate the use of the atrium as we were now able to talk about the best fit for the plants. Everyone knows, from personal experience, that they need personal care. What the students noted was that this was in total contradiction to many other requirements of the atrium. E.g. the mechanised window cleaning or the automatic doors.
The students also observed that in contrast to the historical habit where fountains were placed as meeting points in atriums, today these spots are generally occupied by a coffee place or vending machines. So, for the final presentation they installed a breakfast and a coffee table.
The mappings finally lead to a general question. Is this a university - what is a university?

Dominique Peck: In the third part of the program we will discuss with a few guests what the new format Testing University and what it will be like. Meanwhile just a quick note for why this was actually a topic during the masterclass: When we started the masterclass on Monday, the 20th of August, the organising committee together with a few students had a tour with all the joining students through the building. And what we realised was that the HCU building is kind of too small, there is no sufficient work spaces for students. And this and other conditions at the university have led to demonstrations and discussions on the future of the university and a lot of students and academic staff claiming for more participation in the university. And so, students of the masterclass had this idea that if the atrium could be this open forum.
So how can the atrium become a space for discussions on the future of the university? This is where the idea of the Atrium Radio came out. Actually, making the atrium a space where people can actually talk, like a Speaker‘s Corner, in a park or another public area. And what we are doing today, with this live stream format is, trying out different formats to broadcast this idea.
Ok, so thanks for following so far. This concludes the first part of todays Atrium Radio live stream. We‘ll be back in a few minutes with a lecture by Momoyo Kaijima.

  1. An atrium is a great glassed volume on a building that allows the light to enter within it. Its border location between indoor and outdoor implies that the environmental conditions like solar radiation, ventilation and heat energy appear intensified, turning them into spaces with a great environmental potential. However, in Santiago, these spaces have been designed imitating the aesthetic of buildings suited for colder climates. This has resulted in the fact that atrium buildings are often known by their low comfort standards and excessive cooling demands. The aim of this article is to answer in which way some design considerations on atrium buildings can maximize their energy saving potential in the Mediterranean climate of Santiago Chile. This is carried out with software Tas, which allows us to simulate the effect on thermal demand over a theoretical atrium building when changing three glazing types, three ventilation regimes and three solar protections forms; resulting in 27 iterations that reveal the more environmentally efficient combinations. (from Palma Rojas, Diego, Atrium Building Design: Key Aspects to Improve Their Thermal Performance on the Mediterranean Climate of Santiago de Chile, 2014)