Living in Community

Diploma project in architecture at the University of Stuttgart about how built space affects the social behavior of its users.


Mai to September 1998. I was pregnant and I wanted to become an architect before becoming a mother, therefore I completed my dipoloma project in 4 1/2 instead of 6 months that it regulary takes.

What was it all about

During my final year at the university I had to do a diploma project in order to finish my degree. I was always more interested in the use of architecture than just in the beautiful pictures of an empty building on a high-gloss magazine.

What was my part

I came up with the project outline, about what kind of building my project would comprise and selected a real site just outside Stuttgart. I made the whole architectural project and drafted plans (at that point, I must have been the last student not to have used a computer for the diploma project) and made models and prototypes. It was not called Design Thinking back then, but it was the same process. I made interviews with the fictional users (I interviewed neighbors and relatives about what they would need if I built a home for them, for their activities at home). I used 'A Pattern Language' of Christopher Alexander to consider the effect of the design decisions.


User centered designLiving in communityIterative design processDesign of living spacesArchitectureDistribution of uses and spaces

Paper, pencil and drafting toolsMaterials for modeling

What I learned

User-centered design, 'A Patern Language' from Christopher Alexander, staying focused.

What I liked the most

How well I managed the limited time I had. Prioritizing every decision to the constraints of time and effort while at the same time maximizing the output.

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