With Other's Eyes

A film by Anne Kaestle, Dan Schürch and Levente Paal

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.

About the opening exhibition

With the exhibition at Architektur Galerie Berlin we also intend to bring people together. Instead of staging a museum presentation, the gallery is turned into a pop-up cinema. The two synchronised projection halls facilitate a real cinematic experience, with all the attention being focussed on the film. The foyer in-between features works by Piet Hein van Eek. The Dutch furniture designer arranges seemingly worthless material as artful objects of utility. Luminaires and counters were specifically manufactured for this exhibition and are just as “serial unique items” as the professionally cut raw film stock of our participatory film project. After the end credits of the film, which tell of the densification of a “built city”, the eyes wander through the large windows to the six-lane Karl-Marx-Allee. For one moment, Berlin and Zurich come very close.

About the book

“innen nah am fenster tag” has been created as the book accompanying the exhibition and is also tracking the relationship between vision and reality. During the shooting for this film, we have intensively visited and examined the occupied houses and studied the actual furnishings of exemplary apartments with almost archaeological obsession with details. To an attentive observer, the real furnished floor plans give some indication of the varied uses of the rooms, the occupancy and social structure behind it. That way, each apartment floor plan portraits its occupants and tells an individual story in each case.

A series of images showing the actually lived-in apartment interiors rounds off the analysis. With the photographer’s professional view, who consciously denies the usual pictorial language of purist architecture photography, the portrait of the two houses is enriched with another subjective level of examination. In combination with the intro, consisting of the “memories” of single film sequences, the book alone is able to convey a visual impression of the project. So the individual components of this work – book, film and built project – can be independent from each other and yet mutually refer to one another.

Duplex Architekten

A recurring motif in the work of Duplex Architekten is their search for the identity of a building, a façade or a whole urban quarter. It can be developed from a special feature of the room schedule, a difficult characteristic of the site, legal restrictions or from one’s own typological fascination. It is this careful “listening” that distinguishes the work of Duplex Architekten and has become an essential design-generating engine in all their projects. Different aspects and perspectives are playfully overlaid until a harmonious whole emerges. The result in an architecture that provides surprising or surprisingly self-evident but always multi-faceted answers to the formulated questions. So it is not so much the concrete appearance of their buildings but their methodology that can be identified as the signature of Duplex Architekten.


Actors and cameramen: Bertold Carmen, Bachem Rahel, Borer Shannon, Brück Matthias, Brühwiler Werner, Buck Christian, Capagna Kevin, Diggelmann Lisa, Dohmen Andrea, Dohmen Willi, Ellens Judith, Fassino Mauro, Gahler Mehta Yvonne, Gähler Sandro, Gollob Lisa, Gunzinger Jeanne, Habermann Mira, HacklLaura, HambitzerAnna, Hiltebrandt Damian, Hof Barbara, Honegger Matthias, Hubmann Priska, Illes Robert, Ingold Thirza, Inhelder Jutta, Inhelder Jelina, Jankovics Brigitta, Jankovics Peter, Jörimann Albert, Keller Flurin, Keller Viola, Kiepe Jan, Kindlimann Sven, Klisch Karl, Küttel Stefan, Lobeck Emanuel, Lüscher Melina, Lüscher Nina, Lüscher René, Lüthi Matthi, Maidl Lisa, Marti Evelyne, Marti Meret, Mehta Farhad, Mehta Kiran, Mehta Shirin, Mildner Andreas, Mildner Myret, Müller Samuel, Neff Felix, Neumeyer Thomas, Nicklaus Mylène, Peng Tanja, Pestalozzi Benedikt, Reimann René, Renning Nancy, Riekhof Marie, Ringwald Uschi, Rosio Bruno, Ruther Lilo, Schiel Elena, Schiel Juliane, Schilling Iris, Schmidt Jens, Schumacher Maria, Schürch Ana-Lina, Schürch Joah, Schürch Lucie, Thürig Carole, Vialon Cato, Vialon Frank, Vialon Klinkhamer Mirjam, Vialon Nathan, Vialon Tristan, Wedema Lena, Wedema Melvin, Wedema Neal, Wedema Steven, Zoller Hanna, Zoller Mio