Summer School

JULY 7 – 27, 2014


For a few weeks, the Osthang (eastern slope) of Darmstadt’s Mathildenhöhe will become a site for experimental building and alternative thinking.
From July 7 to July 27 – during the Summer School as part of the Osthang Project – we are offering 60 participants from all around europe the opportunity to take part in developing a temporary campus for the Osthang Project along with international artists & architects.

The city will be tested as a sphere of action as experimental designs become structural forms. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the last exhibition of the legendary «Art Nouveau ensemble Mathildenhöhe» a new temporary artist colony arises. With other creative people from various disciplines – architecture, interior design, art, graphic arts & handcrafts – we will have three great weeks this summer. Designing , building  and living together on the grounds of Mathildenhöhe!

» building together @ Summer School

facts & figures


The focus will be on COLLECTIVE BUILDING as an experiment. The participants – along with their tutors – get the chance to explore and improve design ideas using life-size models. Building becomes an active process that reacts directly to the location at hand; the unforeseen represents not a nuisance, but rather: potential. Thus, a situation is created that allows designs to improve during the process of their implementation. Consequently, atop Darmstadt’s world-renowned Mathildenhöhe we will be pushing the limits of design while simultaneously creating a new public space.

The teams invited by curator Jan Liesegang (raumlaborberlin) are experts in their field of work: EXPERIMENTAL BUILDING.
A mix of collectives & artists – with varying cultural origins – will focus an international dialogue on the theme of «collective and experimental building». They will negotiate the framework conditions in the run-up to the Summer School and perform some initial preparations. We’re looking forward to:

» atelier le balto (Berlin)
» collectif etc (Strasbourg)
» ConstructLab (Berlin/Paris)
» Atelier Bow-Wow (Tokio)
» Martin Kaltwasser (Berlin)
» Umschichten (Stuttgart)
» m7red (Buenos Aires)
» orizzontale (Rom)


How can we live together? This question opens a realm of discussion and exploration that is a central theme of the Osthang Project: What does community mean today? What spaces does the community need? What forms and spaces of communal living can be imagined for the future? How will we build for the community or how do we build communally?


Everyone was invited! But as we have limited capacity, all applicants had to convince us with their initial concept sketch on the theme ‘Living Together’ – one could choose between the following types of submissions:

1. an action
» that generates a social/communal space
2. an object
» that the Osthang community needs/bolsters
3. an image or scenario
» that discusses/explores the theme of communal living in the future

We were excited about this many creative applications! BIG THANKS for so many great ideas – the judges selected 60 stunning concepts and we’re really happy publishing a few selected concept sketches here:

Concept Sketches Summer School
» Best of.


We offer to organize different options of accommodation in Darmstadt: a youth hostel next door, low price AirBnB-apartments and rooms as well as a camp in the vicinity of the building site, organized by the Osthang Project.

» Questions? Mail to


Application Deadline
» Sunday, Mai 25, 2014

Announcement of participants
» Friday, Mai 30, 2014

Summer School
» Monday, July 7 to Sunday, July 27, 2014

Performance credit

Students who have successfully participated at the Summer School will receive a 4 ECTS Points certificate for submission to their university.

Print & Pass

» Open Call Osthang Project (A4-pages)


The Artist Colony, the Exhibitions &
the Osthang Plot

Between 1899 and 1914, the ARTIST COLONY on Darmstadt’s Mathildenhöhe (Mathilde Heights) was the domain of well-known artists and architects, such as Joseph Maria Olbrich, Peter Behrens and Albin Müller. Sponsored by Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hessen, they were able to freely develop here, and to explore new forms of design beyond common limitations. A central approach was the Total Work of Art, which was to unite life and art, and thus encompassed the design of the artist houses as well as all the details of their interiors.
As for the dwellings constructed here, they are considered to be the fruit of the first international building exhibition.

At the first EXHIBITION on Mathildenhöhe, in 1901, architects and artists under the artistic direction of Joseph Maria Olbrich designed eight artist houses, the studio building and a series of temporary structures. In 1904 a somewhat smaller, second exhibition took place. For this occasion Olbrich designed a group of three houses as a constructed symbol of bourgeois living, which gave rise to additional temporary structures that were dismantled after the exhibition. At the third exhibition in 1908 (State Exhibition of Hesse), not only did the members of the artist colony participate, but artists and craftsmen from all over Hesse as well. Under the new direction of Albin Müller, this exhibition saw the construction of both a workers’ housing estate – which was dismantled after the exhibition and rebuilt at a different location – and the famed Hochzeitsturm (Wedding Tower), also know as the Fünffingerturm (Five Finger Tower), Joseph Maria Olbrich’s last building. As part of the last exhibition in 1914, Albin Müller designed a large rental barracks, which was destroyed in the Second World War, the imposing Löwentor (Lion’s Gate) and new gardens. Once again, several new temporary structures were erected.

The OSTHANG is an underused plot located amid the historically significant ensemble of Art Nouveau buildings. Like a secret garden, it is waiting to be brought back to life. Situated on the eastern side of Mathilde Heights, the Osthang acts as an important link between the exhibition building and Rosenhöhe Park to the east. During the time of the historical exhibitions, it was the site of temporary structures; subsequently a massive residential building was constructed there, but was later destroyed in the Second World War. Since then there have been numerous attempts at an architectonic solution, but they were doomed by manifold reaons.

With our temporary programme this summer, we are aiming to introduce a new type of use to the site and to once again make the location into a public space for citizens.
With an initial series of targeted and sensitive interventions, the Berlin-based landscape planning collective atelier le balto restructured and developed the existing vegetation. They are planning and building the garden as a foundation for the design work of the planning team and the Summer School.


Architektursommer Rhein-Main
Darmstädter Architektursommer
Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt (IMD)

Förderer und Sponsoren

Kulturfonds FrankfurtRheinMain
Kulturstiftung des Bundes
Merck’sche Gesellschaft für Kunst und Wissenschaft e. V.
Wissenschaftsstadt Darmstadt
Jubilaeumsstiftung der Sparkasse
Nassauische Heimstätte
Bollinger + Grohmann Ingenieure
HEAG Holding AG
HEAG Kulturfreunde
EAD Darmstadt
Baubuche Pollmeier
Entega HSE
HMD Elektrik
DAXL Veranstaltungstechnik
Dachdeckerei Weiler
Held Baustoffe


DAM Deutsches Architekturmuseum
TU Darmstadt
Hessen Design
Die Kulturwirtschaft
Vermessung Gonschorek
Ingenieurbüro Henniger
P Magazin
Höhl Bau