Urban Transect 2050, Design Studio 1, Prof. Joris Fach (10 CFU)


With the self-imposed turn towards renewable energy ahead, Germany is about to redefine its energy landscape. While politics are determined to go green, the ideas and visions for production and distribution of alternative energies are numerous and contradicting.
And while energy prices are soaring and the reputation of energy-providers worsens, more and more villages across the country render themselves independent and go off-grid.

The studio will transpose this predominantly rural phenomenon of the energy- subsistent-village onto an urban scenario and explore, whether a metropolitan borough can go off-grid too.
We will compare the viability of various alternative energy-sources within the borough’s boundaries and design their physical consequences.

Can the technical equipment necessary for such efforts integrate in the urban fabric?
Can it provide distinct character, or even added value to civic space?
How does the off-grid-city distinguish itself from the rest of the city?

As self-sufficient systems depend on increased cooperation between all agents involved, our analysis will encompass the technical as well as the social realm.
We will therefore complement our borough with a civic institution, acting simultaneously as a nodal point in the local flows and exchanges of energy and people.
Finally, we will turn towards the promotion of our interventions and sketch how the off-grid-city presents itself within the broader city and beyond.

The off-grid-city will be located on a site that already attracts attention from the public eye, the area around the new-built European Central Bank in Frankfurt’s East End.

On the one hand this site forms the last cornerstone of a green belt that is about to surround the city of Frankfurt, on the other hand it sits next to the Eastern port and the river Main, a railway freight terminal, and a highly mixed old-new live-work neighbourhood.
This varied urban landscape invites a wide array of potential design strategies that integrate local energy sources with local life and an autarchic sense of place.