- NEXT500 pavilion: MVRDV for the Fuggerei in Augsburg
Hence the Fugger Foundation’s intent of celebrating their 500th anniversary with an exhibition pavilion in front of Ausburg town hall, where an interactive exhibition introduces visitors to the Fuggerei and the elements of which it is constituted, the social challenges it responds to and speculation as to possible Fuggereien of the future, for the next 500 years – hence the title NEXT500.
The pavilion designed by Dutch studio MVRDV is a long, narrow gabled building inspired by the long row houses of the Fuggerei. One end of the pavilion is curved and raised, with an 8.5 metre cantilever, in a gesture suggesting its role in view of the Fuggerei of the future, in Augsburg and all over the world, containing stands for conferences, debates, workshops and other cultural events.
According to the note for the press, the cross-laminated timber construction pushes “the boundaries of modern CLT technology with its eight-metre cantilever and double-curved elements”. The architects explain that “sustainability played a critical role in the selection of this structural approach: wood stores carbon instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.” Opting for CLT allowed them to create a light, modular structure that can easily be taken apart and put back together elsewhere, on the basis of the principles of the circular economy. The timber comes from forests owned by the Fugger family.
For the exhibition on the "Fuggerei of the future”, MVRDV and the Fugger Foundation studied the existing site in Augsburg and sought to apply the concept of the Fuggerei, set down in a code and oriented toward sustainability with a focus on people, to our own times of housing shortages, climate crisis, social inequality and isolation. They came up with eight simple "building blocks" forming the basis of a system for new Fuggerei buildings that may be adapted to different locations all over the world, mirrored in the layout of the pavilion itself, which is divided into eight separate spaces.
The speculative part of the exhibition, also curated by MVRDV for the Fugger Foundation, asks interesting questions about how the Fuggerei model could be adapted in three different places. From Augsburg itself, in a new project with an educational focus for self-fulfilment and independence, to northern Lithuania, addressing poverty among seniors and assistance facilities, and to a remote village in Sierra Leone, Africa, concentrating on economic development and helping the village achieve economic independence.
The pavilion inaugurated last weekend in a ceremony attended by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, is open to visitors until 12 June 2022.
Location: Augsburg, Germany
Images: Eckhart Matthäus
Find out more: https://www.fuggerei-next500.de/