Building for us is a tool to create mutuality and to initiate engagement with spaces. Participatory build leads to different and often surprising questions and ideas on the concrete spaces, it helps on finding topics that affect the environment of people.

2010, Anyang, South Korea
Matthias Rick
with Benjamin FrickFlorian StirnemannJia GuMarius Busch
nvited by: 3rd Anyang Public Art Project “A New Community in the Open City”, APAP 2010

Open House is a vertical village, a social sculpture. We were asked to design, build and program the center of the open city with the purpose of initiating a process between international and local artists as well as the citizens of the open city, to discuss the issues of community against the background of the rapid urban redevelopments in Anyang, South Korea, to construct a unique form of collective space. A subjective urban research was the basis for our physical and social link with the existing urban landscape. The results of our research, our observations and experiences have directly influenced the shape and features of Open House.

During the summer, we conducted an 8-week public house building workshop. In this time, more than 200 residents have participated in the construction of houses, the design and furnishings. In addition to various types of chairs, benches and tables, we built toys and templates for building signage from scrapwood. Houses were inaugurated after the completion, such as the Tea Bang (tea house) or the Planning Office. The Planning Office was used to develop ideas for the future use of the individual houses as well as the collective use of the interspaces.

The diverse programming of the rooms of Open House combines individual needs and desires as well as functions for public use: a kiosk, a bar, business center, a children’s home (with the newly built toys), a recycling workshop, exhibition rooms and a tea house. A greenhouse and is combined with a community farm where vegetables planted and rabbits are raised. Open House is a new form of collective space for public activities of its primary users, the local residents. Open House is temporary-permanent, a self-learning laboratory in continuous renewal and transformation.

Our project OPEN HOUSE engages the city of Anyang, Korea and their inhabitants in a critical situation. High speed urbanism has replaced many densely populated, mixed areas with even denser mono-functional high-rise apartment towers. The project is placed in a public park, adjacent to one the future redevelopment areas. The area has a very lively economy, consisting mostly of small shops, traders, bangs and restaurants. It has a well grown social structure, which the people from the area highly value. The current redevelopment model destroys all these soft qualities of the city. A conflict arises. On the other hand spaces and routines for managing these types of conflicts are missing. This is, where our project comes in.

An intervention and research unit from raumlabor developed a complex strategy to initiate a process between international and local artists as well as the citizens to discuss the issues of community against the background of the rapid urban redevelopments to construct a unique form of collective space. The strategy was composed of five interweaved layers of discussion with the existing urban and social landscape: exploration, using, building, planning and space-making. The tools for this were five inclusive interventions and projects: Open House, Open Masterplan, Open Program, Open Exhibition and Bang Bang.

The first phase of the project started out with research based mapping and documentation of all phenomena, situations, social potentials, etc found. All findings were recorded in a continuously evolving drawing. It is structured by four layers of investigation: potential, desire, process and fiction. The map of desire shows the wishes of locals with different living conditions. The Urban Detective Workshop was an investigation into the city and the surrounding area, students went to discover the neighborhoods of Hakwon Park. In groups, they observed and analysed different districts to finally share findings and insights. One phenomena that was frequently found in Anyang was the urban garden, a concept that we included in the following workshops.


The moving Bang-Bang truck with its inflatable, transparent space served as a link between the people of Anyang, the various open spaces and the fixed site. Artists created installations inside the sphere and it functioned as a mobile venue for research. Curious people were informed about the ongoing work and invited to take part in upcoming workshops. The actions of the mobile planting station were the first steps in establishing the community garden. A moving caravan visited the neighbouring districts to exchange pots for plants and invited citizens to plant their own special pot to be added to our garden. The experiences and observations had a direct influence on the architecture and functions of Open House.

We set up the temporary “Open house real estate planning office” that, instead of selling space, was looking for individual ideas on how to use the space, the houses and platforms, and additionally searched for ideas on how the structure could be collectively organised. From 26. July to August 28. more than 200 people had been involved in our public building workshop. We built houses together, including various furnishings, from children’s stools to a drafting table, as well as stencils for a variety of signs.

In early September, the finished houses were lifted onto the steel platforms, previously assembled by a construction company. This was the moment of appropriation by people, ideas and the hundreds of plants that had been cultivated by residents of Anyang and in cooperation with the artist Marjetica Potrc. The earlier joint efforts connected the village to the citizens of Anyang before it became a tower. Ideas of how to use the new structure were generated through the collaborative work with residents and artists. The structure is now open to use, it is linked into the shared narrative of the area and encourages the people to continue developing further purposes and visions for the house and the development of the neighbourhood, which is pressing.

The completed Open House is a vertical village, an architectural and social sculpture, that was designed based on subjective urban studies and is therefore, spatially and socially intertwined with the existing urban landscape. The locals, as its users, were involved in the design, programming and construction. Open House combines individual, collective and public uses, such as a bar, a kitchen, a tea house, several pavilions, shops, workshops, a children’s home, a gallery and a community farm.