Constructlab is a transdisciplinary design-build network that brings together architectural concepts and construction. While breaking with traditional divisions of labor, the organization engages a team of multi-talented designer-builders – as well as sociologists, urban planners, graphic designers, curators, educators and web developers – who carry the creative process from the drawing board to the field. Their shared vision of a collaborative way of working combines the creative with the practical, the thinking with the doing.
A reflection of the polyphonic voices and diverse perspectives on construction and togetherness is the Constructlab Hymn:
Construction is the first step of inhabitation
a door to the social reality of a particular locus
an amplifier of an already existing potential
a balance between individual desires and collective vision
the practice of a collaborative body
an exercise in engagement
open and accessible to all
as a participatory process
Construction is about embracing all surprises
not only a final form
a tool for communication
not only for the shaping of the material forms that surround us;
but our imagination towards different futures
A building site is a learning site
a meeting point
Active since the beginning of the 2010s, Constructlab has developed and built many projects internationally, from mobile activating devices to long-term structures, public space activation or scenography of cultural institutions. Usually not only network members are involved in these endeavors, but also friends and accomplices, residents, amateurs and activists. At the heart of this work, which includes commissioned and self-initiated projects throughout the world, is the desire to design spaces of togetherness, of collaborative learning, spaces in which a new (or rediscovered) sense of place may be experienced. Constructlab projects thus evolve as structures that create multiple forms of cohabitation with human and non-human neighbours, focusing on individual and collective practices. Nourishment becomes here the fundamental ingredient of deeper embodied relationships.
The network’s origins can be found in other collaborations that have dissolved or changed – just as Constructlab is constantly changing, with new members joining and new elements emerging. One of its starting points can be seen as an evolution of the Parisian collective EXYZT. Founded in 2002 by five architects, it brought together for a few exciting years a transidisciplinary team that not only worked together on temporary housing solutions in metropolises, but also inhabited them collectively. When the group disbanded, its energies developed into the potential for the network of Constructlab. The pillar of living together, alongside collaborative project work, is now an integral part of their way of operating.
In addition to its communal approach, Constructlab strives for the rediscovery of a constructive intelligence in materials and situations, enabling designs to respond to the possibilities and constraints posed by them. This requires a practice that incorporates social, ecological and temporal perspectives and an environmental awareness: using recycled materials, building with a view to future reuse, focusing on low-tech and simple solutions that promote accessibility and an openness of process. Resulting situating mechanisms involve a consideration of zeitgeist and discourse that go beyond design and construction: with each project, constructlab tries to renew itself as a laboratory of conviviality, where a practice based on singularisation, optimisation and profit is abandoned in favour of the cultivation of a slower, careful relationship with territories and their inhabitants.
Impressum gem. § 5 TMG
Constructlab Berlin e.V.
2. Hinterhof links, 3.Etage Urbanstraße 64
Inhaltlich verantwortlich Constructlab-Berlin e.V.
Vorstand: Alexander Römer, Jan Stricker, Dominik Berton
Vereinsregister: VR 36883