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Reflexive Museum, Essen, Germany

Part 1 Project 1999
Yasmin Kaygusuz
University of Plymouth | UK
Throughout this year, I have been engaged in the process of creating a democratic architecture. For me, a democratic architecture is a free architecture. It is an architecture which responds to the needs of people who interact with the building. This is not limited to those who use the buildings on a daily basis; it includes also those who walk past it occasionally.

Over the year, I have been journeying towards this free architecture. It has involved interviewing people (not necessarily directly linked to the projects) to find what they want to see or feel in new buildings, and taking site analysis as the starting point of the formal expression of a building and of understanding the cultural implications of a design.

I use clearly identifiable forms which respond to particular functions and describe the uses and relationships of each part to the whole. These functions (and forms) are united by a single element, either enveloping or crossing through the individual forms.

It is this balance between use and formal expression, the way people interact within a building and the way the building interacts with the city and its citizens, that I view as the challenge of a democratic architecture.

Yasmin Kaygusuz

Yasmin Kaygusuz's work in her first year was strongly influenced by Günter Benisch. Her third year projects are overlain with a concern for the relationship between the free movement of people within a space and the ordering of space achieved by plane and frame. Her work methods show a focus on the development of significant sequences and the characterisation of experiences along routes.

Yasmin's work is also characterised by one of the traditions of Plymouth: a concern for the clear representation of the physical reality of architecture. To physical models she has added computer modelling; she prefers the static image to the blurred 3D fly-through. Her dissertation explored the significance of the ubiquity of electronic representation and the potential of virtual reality; she has thus developed an excellent understanding of both the theory and the practice of CAD.

The Reflexive Museum in Essen shows an assured handling of the complexities of the site, through the employment of a simple landscaping strategy, to create a public space against which her building could rest. The interior has some of the playful qualities of a stage set, but without any obvious narrative content. The entire scheme is imbued with an intense energy.

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