Fri 16 Sep


Atelier Fanelsa, Berlin

Places of Rural Practice

PROLOGUE: The limits to our global neoliberal economy, which relies on the non-renewable extraction of natural resources, have contributed to a strong desire for societal shifts, especially those that potentially apply to our daily routines and habits. Crises like the recent COVID-19 pandemic reveal the fragility of lifestyles dependent upon cheap flights and the non-local production of goods. The concentration of global capital in growing urbanised areas makes cities more expensive and less attractive – more people are seeking a simpler lifestyle in smaller communities.

PLACES OF RURAL PRACTICE is a trans-disciplinary project concerning the application-orientated exploration of broadened architectural and design practice. Held in a workshop-series format, rural space becomes the production locus of experimental spatial practice. Each workshop is led by an expert and is dedicated to one of the five topics: CONSTRUCTION, MATERIAL, LANDSCAPE, TEXTILE, FOOD. The participants live and work together with the expert on site, giving them a holistic experience of the practices and mediating knowledge contextually. The workshops generate common overlaps, out of which further formats and hybrid practices emerge. The patterns of these specific experiences can be transferred to other places and contexts and form valuable approaches to the narrative of an alternative future.

The CONSTRUCTION topic deals with traditional techniques of joining, the circular use of building materials and elements, and the creation of constructional spatial structures. This can involve the framework construction for a wooden pavilion or the new interpretation of old building components from a former agricultural complex for an oasis.

In the MATERIAL topic, regional building materials are used in the sense of climate-positive architecture and made experienceable in terms of their haptic qualities. Ranging from the traditional use of lime as a versatile building material to new insulation materials, such as hemp, the essential thing is the joint collaboration between craftspeople, clients and architects on concrete prototypes. 

LANDSCAPE examines the contextual design of outdoor spaces in terms of vegetation, climate and the seasons. This includes taking care of a kitchen garden, the pruning of old fruit trees, as well as introducing new elements into the grounds of a listed park.

TEXTILE describes textiles as an ephemeral design resource and an everyday utility object. This can involve the design of work clothes, or wall hangings using blueprint techniques, which can impact a location via specific symbols.

FOOD treats what we eat as a means of communicating hospitality, as regional production and as a performative activity. Through culinary practice, the participants are able to come into contact with the life-reform movement at the Eden fruit-growing colony, or via fermentation to catalogue the sensory archive of the gardens of a village.

Atelier Fanelsa Foto

© CCA. Photos © Zara Pfeifer

Atelier Fanelsa Drawing

© Atelier Fanelsa

Niklas Fanelsa

Niklas Fanelsa studied architecture at RWTH Aachen University and the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Following his studies he worked for De Vylder Vinck Taillieu in Ghent and Thomas Baecker Bettina Kraus Architekten in Berlin. In 2016 Niklas Fanelsa founded the architectural office Atelier Fanelsa based in Berlin and Gerswalde. He was an academic assistant at RWTH Aachen University, the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. Niklas Fanelsa was emerging curator at the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montréal and is a Rome Prize Fellow at the German Academy Rome’s Casa Baldi. In 2022 he was appointed Professor of Architecture and Design at the Technical University of Munich.