"everything spittal" was CUAS – Carinthia University of Applied sciences – main topic of the architecture program during the summer semester of 2017. All courses focused on Spittal on the Drau. Students and teachers of the TU Vienna were part of the project, contributing the necessary outside view.
Spittal an der Drau is where our college is located and a so called "Mittelstadt" (cities of the population size of 15.000 to 99.999), of which exist so many. Historically significant, it grew later to be adapted to car traffic and along with the consumerism of today's society turned into an unmemorable place - located in a region with strong exodus tendencies.At the same time, the city is fortunate to be site of a College, having put a teaching emphasis on local building culture and processes.
In this context, we concerned ourselves with Spittal from a planning perspective during the summer semester of 2017. We consisted of 100 architecture students and 13 lecturers of the TU Vienna and our CUAS, who set out to deal with Spittal as location of one's university, as workplace, as place of new experiences and fresh ideas.
Topics of societal currency such as emigration, sprawl, vacancies, inner cities, parking space, mobility and innovative housing,... were content of the course. It was important to us, to communicate to the city, that we were aware of Spittals problems and that they were of relevance to us. We are committed to the city and want to participate in a discussion. It is our goal to fight old patterns with new ideas. Students, teachers and the population needed to be made aware, to look, to act self-reliant and be brave as well as to use their competences as architects to open up new spaces.
With and for the population
Project-based working, communicating professional expertise to the population were at the focus of the project "allespittal". Architects today are no longer simply planners and service providers but much more often need to become initiators and process designers. Several methods of "citizen science research" came to use. The students themselves passed on information or integrated the city population in their projects.
In the sense of "transformative science" different interest groups were involved and we worked trans-disciplinary. The communication of the outcomes to the population was of great importance and highlight to the course, wherefore the presentation form of the projects was vital.
We worked a lot
We started with a photography competition, out of which a freecard-set for Spittal was made. During a workshop, the city was explored and measured, the outcomes building the foundation to the semester projects. The city space, new housing forms, the conversion of a vacant shopping mall, a parking garage offering more than just parking, ... were topics we were concerned with. In the course of the semester we were able to learn from experts of different fields and cast attention to us during several events.
... and then, the city turns into our living room
During the semester we listened, asked questions, put thoughts into form, presented projects, received outside impulses and discussed them. In June 2017 the students works were publicly presented in Spittal. All citizens of Spittal and of the region were invited to join at Spittal’s main square made car free especially for this occasion. A large table invited to sit down to eat breakfast together. The schools of Spittal designed an accompanying program and local businesses joint in with public activities. The students project outcomes were presented in four vacant shops transformed to temporary showrooms by the students. They offered tours and confronted themselves with the citizens questions. In total, 1000 people visited the main square and appreciated our schools initiative and commitment.
Media is an amplifier: we can use it to make ourselves be heard. In interviews or as an input-giver and expert on background stories.