In the summer of 2015, about 1,200 residents moved into the thirteen houses of “Projekt N°1”, which has been developed by the building cooperative “Mehr als Wohnen”. “Mit den Augen der Anderen” is the vibrant portrait of two houses within the “Hunziker Areal” in Zurich, filmed from the viewpoint of its occupants. In September 2015, the film of the same name celebrated its premiere at the Architektur Galerie Berlin.
In recent years, a total of 450 apartment, shops, restaurants, workshops and artist’s studios, day care centres and a guesthouse have been constructed at the Hunziker Areal in Zurich. Besides the urban master plan (ARGE Duplex Architekten mit Futurafrosch), Duplex Architekten are responsible for the architectural design of two buildings on the site, the Houses A and M. It was our vision to create a part of the city rather than an estate. The new residents will gradually discover old traces and leave behind new ones. They will appropriate the spaces other people have conceived for them. Of course, we hope that the house communities will individually as well as with each other evolve into a strong social network. Maybe this place, which until recently was an industrial fallow, will in retrospect actually be a piece of home for one or two people. Only now, with people living there, a group of houses will become a quarter. “Mit den Augen der Anderen” is a film project we initiated to accompany this historic moment: From immediate proximity, we watch the young neighbourhood grow. Can concept art be a catalyst for neighbourliness? One of the residents put it much more beautifully: “Within seven days I got to know more people here than in other places in seven years.” That makes us a little proud.
Shortly after moving in, we as silent directors communicated in writing with the residents of “our” houses over a period of six weeks. In the form of stage directions we asked them to scan the different places of their new home by filming them. They are the actors in this film: protagonists and cameramen at once. This website reveals the concept behind this film, which one can access in a playful way. Sequences of single film stills are assigned to concrete instructions for actions and filming. As additional motivation, each stage direction was complemented with “finds”: these are short film clips, discoveries from the World Wide Web; they are associative or informative, serious or funny – and maybe they can make the world a little bigger for a short moment. During the period of shooting, we also collected the raw film stock via this website. That way, the residents could already open their doors virtually at that time and get to know each other. For the duration of these commissions, they were allies in spirit – and sometimes even object or subject of controlled boundary crossings.
The individual contributions were sorted, compressed and professionally cut. Innumerable gigabytes of raw data were turned into a concentrated 15-minute “mood clip”. It is a poetic film without text and without a plot, a snapshot and unique team effort featuring life at the Hunziker Areal as it really is. It is the small rituals in everyday life we are interested in. In a time full of through-composed self-staging, taking a look at ordinariness is a small sensation. So the authentic is the actual treasure of this project. It also is our very personal farewell to this project, which has accompanied us for a long time and brought us far. The vision becomes reality: a group of strangers evolved into a neighbourhood. The house in the background is the shell that is occupied in various ways. It brings together people. So it’s the people that are the centre stage of the film. However, the architecture is more than just a scenery: it plays the silent leading role.