Summer Semester 2017
Habitat Unit / International Urbanism and Design in cooperation with MODSCAPES
(Aine Ryan – Habitat Unit, Vittoria Capresi – Habitat Unit / MODSCAPES, with the support of Christoph Muth – Habitat Unit / MODSCAPES)
During the Summer Semester 2017, Aine Ryan and Vittoria Capresi organised and supervised a Design Studio for Bachelor students, focussed on the analysis of the former LPG (Agricultural Production Cooperative) in Brandenburg.
Task of the studio was to map the landscapes, pointing out the changes happened over the time until today, focussing in particular on the LPG’s buildings. After the field work and analysis, students chose a former LPG and buildings, and proposed strategies for a sustainable development of the area.
The area of study was the south Oderbruch, in Brandenburg, included in an imaginary circle of six Kilometres around the fort of Gorgast.
During the five days of the field research, each group of five students had to focus on a specific area, and a settlement (Manschnow, Gorgast, Küstrin, Alt Tucheband, Golzow), mapping the housing typologies, the features which compose the landscapes, the traces of historical events, the current use of the former LPG buildings and crops, the size of the land parcels. Every day team and students met in Manschnow, to present and discuss the impressions and data collected. In the evening, inhabitants and representatives from the local administrations were invited, to help us in understanding the whole picture.
During the semester the students developed strategies from their observation about the territory, on how to deal with the current challenges of the area.
We thanks all the inhabitants of Manschnow, Gorgast, Küstrin, Alt Tucheband and Golzow, who opened their doors to tell us about their histories, their particular relation with the landscape and their memories about the work in the LPG.
“Rural villages in Brandenburg have experienced repeated radical physical and socio-economic transformations since the early 1900s. One of the most profound changes was instigated by the 1970s East German forced collectivization policies. As a consequence, vast standardized structures were inserted into the village fabric to house the new Landwirtschaftliche Produktionsgenossenschaften (LPGs), together with more ‘urban’ housing typologies for the LPG workers, and new roads demarcating expansive parcels of farming land were built. This new collectivized way of life was supported by social interventions spanning from public transportation to kindergartens.
Less than half of Brandenburg’s circa 800 such agricultural cooperatives continued post 1989, leaving many rural settlements with imposing abandoned buildings, and without the critical societal infrastructure – political and popular– that made rural-based living viable. The studio takes the legacy of abandoned LPG structures as a starting point for an inquiry into possible futures for Brandenburg villages.”