Wunderkammer, dwelling within a collection


May 2015

At the department of Wohnbau at the RWTH-faculty of Architecture, we design more than just houses, we particularly focus on the study of dwelling. We see dwelling as a verb, an action that is influenced by culture and forms the basis of house form and architectural expression. Within the design courses of the masters program we try to make the students aware of these cultural influences and processes that determine dwelling. Instead of coming up with a design brief, we skip the program by introducing protagonists and by emphasising upon imagination.

For the here presented work the students designed a so-called ‘Wunderkammer’, a cabinet of curiosities. The predecessor of the museum, where the aristocracy and the rich bourgeoisie originally collected, displayed and dwelled among their extraordinary objects. Existing mainly out of obscene and exotic entities, these collections had a big influence upon the dwelling and spatial layout of the collector’s home.

The designed cabinets of curiosity had to fulfil the daily activities of dwelling in relation to the self defined protagonist and his collection. The house, a typical upper class residence at Bedford Square in London, is the site in which the collector and the collection had to be housed. These houses could be completely adapted to the wishes and demands of the collector, although the brick facade facing Bedford Square had to remain untouched.

During the project the students were introduced to the narrative qualities of architecture. Participation in an excursion to London, several workshops, a seminar and the symposium ‘Against the Grain’ got them acquainted with alternative methodologies. These methods could then be implemented in the development and presentation of their own project.

Here we picture some general results of the design project, as well as three separate posts containing a complete project result. (results: Stefanie Oßenkamp, Marie Krebs, Silvia Fernandez de la Fuente)


Wunderkammer, Wohnen mit ein Sammlung


prof. Wim van den Bergh

Stephanie Brandt, Mark Proosten