Explore Lab 8

Palace prison Mietskaserne

Rolf Kuck

Childhood memories of farms in my home village close to Aachen../germany coincide with more recent experiences of visiting former factory buildings during my student days in Aachen: large building complexes surrounding at least one courtyard form a maze that invites to be discovered ‒ accessed through passages or giant gates. amazing.

residential buildings with courtyards have a long history in a plethora of cultures. the typical Roman ‘domus’ type had 2 courtyards: the rather public ‘atrium’ courtyard and the rather private ‘peristyle’ courtyard with a small garden.
the Berlin Mietskaserne had up to 6 courtyards. with up to 2000 tenants on just 1 plot, the Mietskaserne of the early years of industrialisation is a symbol of misery.

‘palace prison Mietskaserne
Meyer’s Hof (*1875 Berlin † 1972 Berlin): misery vs. utopia’
the case study research illustrates desirable qualities that are widely overlooked in publications. courtyards played a vital role in establishing a ‘milieu’ ‒ the tenants’ social environment.

‘Docklands Yards’ is a prototypical adaption of a Berlin Mietskaserne envisioned to be erected on Amsterdam’s former shipyard area NDSM on the Northern shore of the Ij. similar to its infamous Berlin predecessors it ostensibly addresses the enormous housing shortage in the Randstad conurbation.However the main ambition of the project is to stimulate social cohesion by means of architecture.