It is widely known, Polygamy is a lifelong relationship which includes multiple partners, in contrast to more usual monogamy whereby the bond is being established exclusively between two parties. In social anthropology, polygamy is recognized as the practice of one making him or herself available to two or more spouses. In accordance, zoology recognizes polygamy as any form of multiple mating. In the present day world, polygamy is often confused with a form of human rights abuse and as such has no relevance to our concept. More importantly here, polygamy is observed as a formal and structured association, which provides for coexistence of multiple relationships. As awkward as it may seem, we would like to propose a transposition of the concept of polygamy into the realm of architecture and urban design as a strategy of spatial adaptability and as a model for forming multiple and layered relationships between the space and its occupants. In particular, we are interested to find ways to make specific aspects of the housing space available to two or more uses or users at the same time.
Similar to marital life, dwelling is most commonly perceived as private and closed affair, yet there might be a reason to reconsider once again if communal and open situation may be of some benefit for the contemporary housing. This project explores the architectural potential of the continually changing and elusive boundaries between the private vs. communal and open vs. closed, while trying to avoid falling into the trap of achieving neither. By the Polygamy in architecture we mean the restructuring of the relationships and boundaries between different spatial realms and in this project this is implied at three different scales or layers which are related to three specific segments of space which can be shared; space which can be simultaneously public and private or open and closed. Firstly, in reference to the scale of the study site encompassing a segment of the neighboring urban fabric, the proposed model suggests formation of the polygamist relationships at the central courtyard. The question posed is if the proposed block can be simultaneously open and closed? If it can be permeable to public circulation but provide private and secure environment for its residents at same time. Secondly, in reference to the layer of the entire housing block, the proposed model suggests formation of the polygamist relationships at roof terraces, conceived as communal spaces to be shared between residential units connected with the same vertical circulation or stairwell. The question made is if proposed terraces may simultaneously belong to a dozen of flats. Can they help create ties between families using them and how will they be managed? Finally, in reference to the layer of individual housing units, our strategy anticipates formation of the polygamist relationships at the galleries providing access form the stairs and elevators to the pairs of the neighboring flats. We would like to suggest that the very principle of polygamist bonds between the space and its occupants, once it is transposed from anthropological to architectural terms, may be of relevance in establishing a more efficient and diverse patterns of spatial use.
The proposed morphology closes the perimeter of the given site to provide distinction between the inside and outside of the new block. Such distinction provides sense of enclosure, privacy and security for the residents. At the same time, two large penetrations provide for the free access to the inner courtyard. They are positioned according to the existing green zones in the adjacent blocks and in the continuation of the existing pedestrian routes. In this way, the structure of the block is open and closed at the same time. It belongs to residents who will benefit from the large recreational area, but also to non-residents who will benefit from the rite of passage. The polygamist bond between the space of the courtyard with the residents and non-residents is observed as a formal and structured association. Suggested coexistence of multiple relationships between the space and its users/uses, will determine the changing character the courtyard and the garden which occupies the most of its part. In the morning, the garden could be the space for kids to play, at noon it could offer itself to workers who will look for a place to have a lunch break and in the evening it could be attract the residents who are back from work.
Ground floor area of the building is structured to support such character of the courtyard. In addition to the housing, other uses and activities are proposed to unfold at this level. In relation to the character of the nearby centre Sudpunkt, commercial uses such as shops, galleries and restaurants are envisaged along the Pillenreuther Straße while the units along the Sperberstraße are planned as convertible to permit for the fluctuation of their use from dwelling to working in accordance with the actual need. Car parking with approximately one hundred spaces is located bellow the courtyard, at the underground level.
Shared roof terraces
The volume of the proposed block is the maximum specified by the planning regulations (wall height at Pillenreuther Straße is 15m, Schillingstrasse is approx. 9 m, on Sperber, Galvanistraße approx. 12m and roof inclination is 45°) from which several strategic subtractions are made. Two of them are related to the pedestrian access to the central courtyard, as outlined in the previous paragraph. Eight more are made at upper levels to allow for better sunlight penetration to the interior of the block and to provide for better visual connections from and to the proposed building. At the same time, subtractions at the upper levels create room for eight communal terraces. Their disposition divides the overall volume of the block into ten distinct buildings, each comprised of approximately 15 residential units with the communal stairwell. The roof terraces are conceived as communal spaces to be shared within a closed group of residential units. We anticipate that the polygamist bond between the space of the roof terrace and more than a dozen of families will be formed. Proposed coexistence of multiple relationships between the space and its users/uses, will determine the changing character of the terraces. Not all families will use the terrace at the same time. The ties between users who come to the terrace at the same time will be formed naturally. Kids will look for other kids, singles will look for other singles and grannies will look for other grannies to socialize. The dominant group of users will determine the prevailing character of every one of eight roof terraces.
Each of the 10 proposed buildings which together form the new block is comprised of the vertical core and two residential units on each side it. Size and internal organization of the units is varying according to given design brief, but always negotiated between the pair of units within the module measuring 14x12m ( such as 90+55m2, 105+45m2 and 75+65m2). Access from the stairwell to the housing units is provided by the gallery, conceived as an area shared between the pair of the neighboring flats. We propose that polygamist ties could be formed between the space of the gallery and residents of the corresponding units. Depending on their association, liking or disliking, residents can decide if they will be using this space jointly of individually. Depending on the weather, the gallery may be used as an outdoor or indoor space. Besides providing access, the proposed galleries could be observed as an additional and multifunctional space added to each residential unit to offer alternatives to living in a single-family dwelling. They could form an extension of the living rooms or provide space for work and play. If used jointly between the neighbors, the galleries could be used in many different and unexpected ways, such as cooking together for instance. We would like to suggest that the very principle of polygamist bonds between the space and its occupants, once it is transposed from anthropological to architectural terms, may be of relevance in establishing a more efficient and diverse patterns of spatial use.
credits///design: 4of7///Milutin Cerović, Milica Tasić, Ružica Jovanović, Djordje Stojanović ///