My Dreamhouse is not a House I

2017, 80-parts slide series and simulation model (loan Eilfried Huth)

Commissioned work for the exhibition Graz Architecture, Kunsthaus Graz, curated by Barbara Steiner, 2017

b/w archive images: loan Doris Pollet-Kammerlander

Exhibition views: Kunsthaus Graz, 2017, photos by Niki Lackner
“My Dreamhouse is not a House” deals with two of the first Austrian publicly funded participatory social housing projects by architect Eilfried Huth from the 1970s.
Huth (*1930 in Pengalengan, Indonesia) believes authentic aesthetic experience to be possible through a personal relationship with objects. In the 1970s, he was among the first Austrian architects to bring collaborative and participatory design, planning, and building processes to publicly funded social housing projects. Huth‘s projects Eschensiedlung and Gerlitzgründe were unique because no possibility of a participatory approach had previously existed outside the privately financed market. The working method he developed provided a form of collaboration where architects and prospective residents could meet on equal terms. In training courses, workshops, and discussions, Huth prepared the residents for the collaborative work, discussed topics of living, and trained them in spatial thinking. The structures resulting from these discussions were single, occupant-designed homes within residential blocks where no two houses look the same.     

In the first part, dealing with the Eschensiedlung in Deutschlandsberg (AT), Julia explores how long-time and newer residents live in the individually planned houses, 45 years on. She also asks how the residents’ notions of the good life may have changed or if the subtle room portraits reveal constant housing needs. Extensive research, interviews with residents of Eschensiedlung and Eilfried Huth, and the sociologist Doris Pollet-Kammerlander, who was involved in the planning phase, form the basis of this photographic documentation. Photographs from the planning and construction phase included in the slide show serve as historical reference points. By interweaving the different timescales of the planning and construction phase, the residents’ moving in and a survey of the status quo 45 years on, Gaisbacher uncovers hidden perspectives on participatory housing construction and living as an expression of social structures.