A visual study of the architectural space and occupants of the Munich Olympic Village high-rise which was initially designed by Günther Eckert for the 1972 Olympics. It was eventually repurposed as student accommodation – restored and renovated by architects Knerer und Lang in 2015.

Most people who use architecture have no influence on how architecture is created. Buildings and spaces are offered ready-made and we have to deal with them as they are – which we do – after all, we are adaptive creatures.

The users often don’t care about the conscious decisions of the architects that define a space – for them it’s more about whether it’s nice and whether they feel comfortable in it or not or – whether they can afford the place to stay at all.

The „architectural portraits“ are studies of how spaces influence occupants and how the occupants influence the spaces. In the Olympia high-rise building there are 800 apartments – all with the same floor plan. The residents take possession of the space. It forms the framework that they fill with their lives. The presence of the people and their individual character influences the „buildings personality“.

Some students were only sub-letting the room – they only told me this, long after I photographed them, because it’s actually not allowed. They had lived with objects and pictures on the wall, which had nothing to do with their personal history but had corresponded to their current intermediate moment.

The original images are 110 cm x 146 cm and you can see every detail – even what is written on slips of paper stuck on the wall.
Through conversations and email correspondence, I started discussions with the students, about the architecture – the subject didn’t really interest most of them. They wanted to talk about life. I collected „random thoughts“ from this communication and put them together as a „stream of consciousness“. They are thoughts in architecture – not about architecture. Thoughts that have become, a thought, in a building.

„Our soul is an abode. And by remembering ‚houses‘ and ‚rooms,‘ we learn to ‚abide‘ within ourselves.“ The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard.

Portraits photography by Orla Connolly
Architecture photography by Jens Weber
Text by Orla Connolly

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