Main Hall

Osthang Project

The Main Hall is the central space of a new, temporary artists’ colony, built in the summer of 2014 on the Osthang at Mathildenhöhe. Constructlab and Atelier Bow-Wow have been invited by the Darmstadt Architektursommer e.V. and Raumlabor-Berlin to team up for the project.

A neglected plot on the eastern slope, of the soon to become world heritage site Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt, has been chosen to be the place of the new artists colony. Mathildenhöhe was 100 years ago a sort of that kind of building exhibitions which became later the IBA. It was planned as an artist colony designed by artists and architects such as Josef Olbrich and Peter Behrens.

In 2014, for the new artists colony, 8 international architecture, art and design collectives are invited to design and build the facilities for the Osthang project camp. Each team, composed by two practices, got a specific object to conceive and realize. The project was collaboratively built during a summer academy with students and local participants. The summer academy explored topics such as collective action in public space, working together within temporary and light architecture installations and thinking and living together while making the place.

Constructlab in collaboration with Atelier Bow-Wow have been responsible for the Main Hall, which was within the organization of the Osthang site the central meeting facility. It served as a weather protected place for daily lunch and dinners of around 120 people, talks, presentations and symposiums. On both sides the walls can be entirely opened and gather up to 300 people. It is planned to be the most permanent building within the different experimental and temporary structures made during the summer academy on the Osthang site. The building has been realized under the guidance of the design-build team constructlab, with about 30 students, local participants and a team of local carpenters.

The project started three weeks ahead of the summer-school with the terrace and structural work. The main construction is made from Baubuche, it was generously sponsored by the company Pollmeier. Baubuche is a beech wood composite coming from the local forest Odenwald, one of the biggest beech wood resources of Europe.

With the beginning of the workshop the roof was ready to provide shelter to the summer academy. The constructlab students divided themselves into three groups, one group working on the main-hall, it’s envelop and details of door panels while the other two groups researched on seating and visual identity. Chairs have been developed in an experimental Bugholz furniture workshop with the help of Thonet’s steam oven team. The third team of the constructlab students made graphical and imaginary research to develop a guidance system and Logos for the whole Osthang project.

The Main Hall is planned to remain at least 5 years after the summer 2014 as a multi-purpose facility on the Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt. Hence, the possibility to activate the place and try out different uses in order to better understand through real scale the potential future of the Osthang site.


Image Credits: constructlab/ atelier bow wow/ Kristof Lemp