The archive is both a storehouse of knowledge and a project fair. We understand “grey energy” not only as the storage of potential, physical energy in buildings – but also as the expansion of our understanding to include knowledge and ideas. The archive gathers and preserves knowledge, strategies and projects that combine approaches of radical conservation and reuse of grey energy with strategies of valorisation of peripheralised spaces. The work is project-based, integrated into regional networks and has a public-relations impact.
The grain silo in Oßmannstedt virtually demands a historical examination. It is a testimony to National Socialist agricultural policy, which sought to unite the racist blood-and-soil propaganda of a supposedly Nordic cultivation of the soil with the expansion of agriculture as an economic sector vital to the war, which could only be maintained until the end of the war through the massive use of forced labour. This is not the only reason why the preservation of the granary in Oßmannstedt should be striven for as an uncomfortable, as a challenging heritage.
Storehouse of knowledge
In the archive as a storehouse of knowledge, the participants collect and research strategies and requirements of radical conservation in the landscapes of industrialisation. These are to be read and described as the result of the urbanisation and agricultural policies of the last 150 years. Knowledge about the historical framework conditions is collected, sorted, made accessible and critically commented on in the form of publications, “grey literature” and historical concepts for the future – plans, strategies, drafts.
The archive as a project fair sees itself as a strategic idea source for the Institute’s approaches to action. Here we not only collect our own projects and references, but also build up a comprehensive project database. In this way, the archive can become a fixed dominant feature in regional development and provide information on ongoing or completed projects of the cooperation partners in case of enquiries. In addition, the contents of the archive can be used for in-depth research by the institute itself and for on-site research by other scholars or interested parties.
The archive serves the collaborative production of knowledge on site and in the region. This includes, for example, cooperation with the planning and architecture courses at the universities in Weimar and Erfurt, whose concepts and designs for the preservation of the collection are collected in the archive and discussed and further developed with the public in open formats.
Ideas and concepts are thus represented in a network in the longer term and can also experience a concrete application reference or implementation in cooperation with the atelier.
The collection sees itself as a “rural archive” – a decentralised place of knowledge beyond the large institutions in the cities. The archive with its material and digital collection objects finds a home in the 13 silo cells of the living lab in Oßmannstedt. The archival and structural suitability of the metaphorical “grey cells” of the warehouse will be tested in a model conversion of a silo cell by the studio.
Furthermore, a building component archive will also be created. Movable, technical and unneeded equipment as well as components from the living lab will be collected here. The archive serves to preserve essential functional elements of the building and to further research into historical and industrially produced building materials. This raises questions about conservation, reproducibility and reparability, design and regional and historical characteristics. In the future, the archive can be expanded to include samples of other industrial building materials as well as elements of other buildings.