Kraftwerk1 was born out of multiple housing crises which hit Zurich in the 1980’s and 90’s, when a lack of housing pushed prices up, and pushed people out. The collective was formed in 1993 by the three authors of a manifesto of the same name. Architect Andreas Hofer, artist Martin Blum, and author P.M. based the Kraftwerk1 model on a more pragmatic vision of P.M.’s social utopian “bolo’bolo” (“tribe”) model.
Although Kraftwerk1 has chosen a different architect for each of its projects, a common theme in its design philosophy is an open and flexible architectural design strategy. Kraftwerk1 Hardturm has units ranging from two to twelve rooms, to encourage a diversity of tenants and a creativity about how the space is used. Kraftwerk1 buildings also provide a suite of communal amenities, often including a shop, a kindergarten, and a restaurant.
Kraftwerk1 is an illustration of how concept organization can make a project more than the sum of its parts. A building’s design must exist in partnership with the design of the community that lives there. Designers can do both when they recognize the interplay between building, occupant and community.