We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the winners of one of our Honorable mentions for the “London Affordable Housing Challenge” competition - Benedikt Hartl and Thomas Haseneder from Germany!

Benedikt Hartl and Thomas Haseneder from Germany

Opposite Office was founded 2017 by Benedikt Hartl. Opposite Office is a small atelier, based in Munich, Germany. Besides the work as an architect Benedikt Hartl teaches at the TU Munich and HSWT. Currently Thomas Haseneder is part of the team.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where company/ individuals have been involved?

We work on projects on all scales, from a tiny guesthouse in Iceland to international competitions.

The focus of Opposite Office is projects in difficult conditions or in extraordinary locations. We are interested in working with the peculiarity of the place and also building in existing structures. At the moment we are working on an amphibious house in Thuringia in Germany. There we are building guest houses that can move both on land and in the water. The project is the result of a competition for experimental building in a small scale.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

For me, architecture is more than building. As an architect you do not only have to be able to build and draw, but you should also critically question the task and requirements. Clients and investors rarely take on the task of seeing the building in its social anchoring. This is our job!

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

Affordable Housing is one of the key social issues in major cities of our time. The ever-increasing gap between rich and poor is growing faster than ever before. When I read about the huge cost explosion of renovating Buckingham Palace, I have to admit that I was a bit angry. Especially if you look at the current housing crisis, you could have done something more way-out with all that money £369 million pounds! For example, apartments on top of Buckingham Palace. I will send this proposal to the Queen. Let's see if she is inspired by our design or if she continues to trust her architect. WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, a multinational engineering and design firm, is the project leading office. Although they have 14,000 employees and I have only one (but he is many times better!) and in the end it is always the quality of the idea and not of the size of the company.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture vision competitions?

Architectural Vision competitions are good for challenging yourself and showing how to do it differently rather than state of the art.

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