To build simply – is that even possible? Can building be an easy task today, given a building culture shaped by standards, an oversupply of construction materials, and industrial production methods? Construction and building services engineering are becoming increasingly complicated. Nevertheless, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has established a research group dedicated to “Simple Building”. It may seem absurd – research is commonly conducted on complex topics. But the question they’re investigating is how the principles of simple construction can be applied without restricting users’ comfort and behaviour. This topic was also the subject of intensive discussions in our editorial office, which are reflected in the contents we chose for this issue. We immediately agreed on the holiday home in Fanø by young Danish architects Lenschow & Philmann, which not only reveals a clearly structured floor plan but also the building materials in their raw state. The memorial in Gardelegen by BHBVT, with its 72 cm thick walls made of lightweight concrete, won us over with its simple details. The monolithic structure, however, required a lot of building material. The temporary homes in Barcelona have a smaller ecological footprint. They consist of reused shipping containers, which are finished with a simple, polycarbonate panel facade. For our Technology feature, Jakob Schoof describes how some buildings manage without heating systems, and in our Green Special we present Great Britain’s largest social housing development built to Passive House standards.
It’s not easy to define the term simplicity in our affluent society. We hope that this issue will provide you with some food for thought in that direction.