The kitchen container is the heart of our project. As a meeting place it conveys a dramatic symbolism: While goods can be shipped across borders, it is impossible for many people to move to and within Europe freely and legally.
Therefore, we chose a sustainable and relatively inexpensive construction that is still inviting and striking in a public space. At the same time our kitchen remains mobile and can be transported to remote places all over Europe. It offers enough space and protection to create a secure and homely atmosphere and can be used flexibly. The container is going to be travelling through several countries in Europe – symbolically along a common odyssey of refugees through Europe from the Italian Mediterranean to Sweden – to draw attention to the fact that we, as Europeans, share the responsibility for refugees arriving in Europe.
Designing and building the container
The used cargo container was turned into a functional kitchen and cosy meeting place by architecture students from the Chair of Design and Construction of Professor Donatella Fioretti at the Technical University of Berlin.
When we first met Donatella and her team (Elke Neumann, Marc Benjamin Drewes, Simon Mahringer and Christoph Rokitta) to discuss possible collaborations we discovered that, by coincidence, the topic of the winter term 2015/16 was going to be “cooking and eating together”.
Being very experienced in DesignBuild projects, they agreed to build the container for us. Within only a few days they had formed a wonderful crew of 19 architecture students from Germany and Syria who became “our” architects.
Out of 9 initial prototypes we chose a few of the most convincing approaches and combined them into one master plan. The students continued working on the design and were divided into three groups:
The “kitchen” group was responsible for the layout of the cooking area including water and electricity connections and the foldable kiosk. The “roof” group designed the terrace that doubles the size of our kitchen. The “furniture” group developed the storage system that combines foldable tables and benches with a shelf.
When the construction phase finally began in January 2016, the project became even more exciting. We began ordering wood, choosing kitchen equipment and watching our great crew of students sawing, welding and cutting at the university’s workshops.
Every time we went to the campus and worked with our architects we were thrilled by their strong spirits, their individual skills and their dedication to our container. After 10 weeks of designing and 8 weeks of building the result is wonderful:
We are thankful for the support of the following students
Jonas von der Wall
supervised by Marc Benjamin Drewes
supervised by Christoph Rokitta
supervised by Simon Mahringer