Isa Andreu / Rotterdam
June 2008. 1st week in Gropiusstadt. Soccer euphoria. Europe Cup of Nations, semi - finals and finals. Cheers and shout voices when Turkey and Germany play (and win). It was the 125th birthday of Walter Gropius a few days ago.
When I arrived to Gropiusstadt I felt very small. I felt like a labouring bee in a hive. During my staying in the flat I became interested in the strong presence of the “collectivity” that emanates from the architectural complex of Gropiusstadt, and its influence in my subjectivity.
I researched the initial concepts of Walter Gropius for the residential area. After multiple negotiations and political interests, the final results of Gropiusstadt would grow radically apart from his initial ideas. He was interested in a holistic conception that embraced the practical needs of daily life but also the spiritual needs.
Within this approach the circular planned building had a special relevance. Gropius referred to it as a symbol of his holistic conception of the residential complex. Finally only one was built. I felt attracted to the symbolism of the semi circular building.
I invited a couple of friends (Secil Yaylali and Marie Wilz) and my boyfriend Sebastian to share the experience and develop the ideas for the actions in small one-day workshops at the flat.
I measured the frontal space of the semi circular building with my steps. I wanted to appropriate the massive space to my personal scale.
The euphoric feeling that soccer provokes nowadays made me compare it with the disenchanted urban collective utopia of the 50´s – 60´s. We created and distributed chocolate crepes with “a message” during the half breaks of the football matches. The message was: “Die Utopie des Kollektivismus ist nur möglich im Fußball” (The Utopia of collectivity is only possible in soccer).
Continuing with the exploration of the circular building, we realized a birthday cake for the 125th anniversary of Gropius. The idea was to walk around the common spaces with the cake, inviting the passers-by to celebrate the birthday, eat the cake, favouring a dialogue about the figure of Walter Gropius and Gropiusstadt.