Universal Home: The Results After a Year of Research

Jan 3, 2008

Flexibility is the answer to the quest for the Universal Home


After one year of intense research work at Zollverein they have been established: The results of the "Universal Home" scholarship competition at Zollverein. In October 2006, ten young designers and architects from all over the world took up their annual scholarship at Zollverein to do research in cooperation with eleven companies on the future oriented issue "Universal Home". Motivated by their own situation, the scholarship holders explored a flexible and at the same time comfortable living scenario of the future. Professor Dr. Peter Zec, Icsid president and head of the project, sums up the results: "Flexibility is the answer to the quest for the Universal Home". Two groups have developed concepts on living space called "Make Yourself at Home" and "S.M.A.R.T.er Home". The research work of the other scholarship holders deals with the reflection of essential values and original forms, which were the basis for a possible living conception of the future.

The Project

In the project "Universal Home" the most different cultures, mentalities and professional backgrounds came together. They offered a broad spectre of experience allowing a constructive discussion. Based on this special situation, the research work of the scholarship holders did not so much concentrate on the question whether there might be a "Universal Home" at all. Instead they attempted to approach the concept of an optimised living situation as far as possible and to venture a look into the future.

Starting the project, the scholarship holders visited each of the cooperating companies all over Germany where they already gathered insight into the professional work of design and research departments. Further meetings between the scholarship holders and the companies were intended for a constructive exchange as well as the promotion and development of various research approaches. The companies participating in the project were Carpet Concept, Dorma, Duravit, Gardena, Kahla, Keuco, Miele, Poggenpohl, Vaillant, Walter Knoll und WMF.

The Project Ideas

"Make Yourself at Home":

The idea "Make Yourself at Home" has been developed by Annemarie Mayo from Malta, the Canadian Katrin Braun, Chao Zheng from China and Iris Prehn and Susann Stiehl from Germany. The idea embraces a flexible living model based on the theory of exchanging different services. The needs of a changing population dynamics, and a global working environment were the basis of the concept "Make Yourself at Home". It is meant to create living quality for the most different inhabitants and to arrange for the possibility of integration. The five scholarship holders chose the area of the Zeche Zollverein (a former coal mine) as locality of the living scenarios. They took their personal situation of transition as a starting point.

"S.M.A.R.T.er Home":

The Turk Asli B