Lars Krückeberg | GRAFT

I would like to talk about an architect who combines amazing communicative skills and a great practice as GRAFT. Lars Krückeberg is one of three partners of Graft and I have to say, was really nice to meet him. I know this kind of practice knows what and how to say things, but agree on same values, well is different.

I have been fascinated by LK speech at WAF about his housing complex “Cooperative for Urban Creativity” design in collaboration with kleihues+kleihues.

Believe and shape a building where young minds can live and work together in a complex full of common areas in order to defend the effective rent prize.

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But beside the charming design I found the research behind it interesting. GraftLab is the think tank of Graft and recently in October published the Immobilienreport 2016 and as explain in their website is:

The report highlights the increasing digitization of our homes and workplaces, the impact on everyday life as well as a new method of property valuation.

Now we just have all the ingredients to close the loop and concentrate on the interview.

How to solve the rent crisis

He sees the city as the core of the future, a future were tech will have more and more of an important role. As future engines, young and great minds should stay in the city center. Have cheaper access to education and work, looks great, no? But how to implement this if in Berlin every half year prices raise by a significant percentage? And I will say getting a room or a house has become a nightmare? (of course we are missing 5.000 houses and hopefully most of them will be in city center).

LK says we are loosing these people and cities shouldn’t turn in museums like Venice. The city center is the area to express yourself, so access to the city has to be protected and made easier with all the different pockets. What Graft proposed is to increase the density and height of the city. Why historical immigration in Germany shaped the city to better fit the new needs and now we stick on 22 meters maximum building regulation?

So I asked, looks great and correct – beside the fact that in Europe we have old stakeholders with the relevant political force and they vote for they own interest. (Brexit?)  And now is why immigrants can reestablish the society age homogeneity.

But still these people can afford a Graft luxury project? Cities need money, incomes and yes, Graft design is not for everybody but he shows other strategies and other projects of Graft, where housing cooperatives can cut the expenses and add to the profit of developers. Finding a Client, as they have, with not too huge profit target.

Possibilities are available and we have to build.

New tech in cities

Without regulation Uber and Air B&B drug the market and we have to clarify the rules to protect the Job and House market. LK hopes to see the AI in transportation making a system incredibly smart, and it will be a city with less traffic and more space to use the city. If we use tech in a right way, well, we will see the city become better and more interesting for the public life. In this future the Architects will connect the dots.

Consideration

Make rules for Air B&B I agree, but don’t forget Air B&B is a platform to find an economic place to stay and it turns in a tool where you can make more money than standard rent. So, what and who should the administrations really control? The same society is now blaming itself for the prices, but makes a profit on it? And if controlling the market is the solution, until witch point?

I would like to bet when Elon Musk, Google and FB will crash the petrol system/society – the city will start to change. Soon!

I feel construction cooperatives can be the answer, and for this topic I had a conversation with Florian Fatkohel and his Spreedfield in Berlin as an emblematic project.

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