The city of Berlin has a dire housing shortage caused by an influx of new residents over the last decade, only modest new housing construction, a disproportionate number of units devoted to short-term rental schemes like Air BNB, and rising rents that make the city increasingly unaffordable for many constituencies. Students were asked to address the housing shortage firstly by identifying a client for their design from the many groups that find it difficult to afford the city today. Among those the students identified were recent graduates, young artists, young chefs, recent immigrants, and former residents of squats. Once they had a client, students were asked to develop a housing model that included special program for their client. For example, the student designing for recent immigrants included a language and re-training centre as well as a restaurant that would serve food cooked by the immigrants.
Berlin has been a living laboratory for experiments in housing design since the early twentieth century when architects constructed innovative new spatial models along with new approaches to the relationship between housing and the city. The students were able to draw on first-rate historical examples for inspiration then add their ideas to the rich and diverse history.