EASA workshop “Dumb Emancipatory Housing”

Photo by Saskia Krautman

In the second week of January 2024, the “Dumb Emancipatory Housing” architecture workshop was held at the Estonian Academy of Arts, conducted by Sebastian Bietenhader and Matthias Moroder from Büro Bietenhader Moroder.

The open lecture “Dumb Emancipatory Housing. Dumb Emancipatory City Planning” concluded the workshop on January 12.

A series of workshops that started at the EASA (European Architecture Student Assembly) summer school explores the typology of public buildings.


Büro Bietenhader Moroder:

“To get out of the obligation of creativity and the painful search for the last exceptions Büro Bietenhader Moroder has developed a rigorous methodology for designing emancipatory architecture that is so directly un-creative, so happily non-smart, clear and basic that it is dumb.

Hereby a totally overlooked formal quality of architecture was discovered: Maximalist intentional sameness, termed Dumb Copyness. Dumb Copyness relies on formal qualities that enhance the maximum sameness of floorplans, facades, building volumes or masterplans far beyond mere industrial or functionalist seriality. Here we find specific non-creative formal compositions and aesthetics of an intrinsically public architecture that gives shape to a collective life that is affordable and emancipatory.”

In the workshop small dumb emancipatory public sauna facilities for the city of Tallinn were developed through clay modelling in the scale of 1:100.


The workshop at EKA is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.


Sebastian Bietenhader and Matthias Moroder have been working together as Büro Bietenhader Moroder since 2015. Büro Bietenhader Moroder deals with copyness as a positive formal property of architecture, which makes it possible to work formally against the neoliberal architecture of differentiation, flexibilization and individualization. By simultaneously maximizing the formal relations of architectural settings to one another, which is conceptually defined as copyness, Büro Bietenhader Moroder opens up a re-reading of the formal characteristics of social housing of French and Russian revolutionary architecture and that of Red Vienna.

Sebastian Bietenhader studied architecture at the ETH Zurich (BSc.) and at the Harvard GSD, as well as history and philosophy of knowledge, also at the ETH Zurich (MSc.), where he did a thesis on the development of the computer modelling space, which will be essential for BIM. He headed the student discussion group “Ambitus”. He is a regular guest critic at the ETH and has been teaching architecture at various (non)-institutions.

Matthias Moroder studied architecture (AA Dipl.) at the Architectural Association in London, art history (BA) and philosophy (BA) at the University of Vienna and history and theory of architecture (MAS) at the ETH Zurich. Besides the work as Büro Bietenhader Moroder, since 2018 he is co-leading MAGAZIN, an independent exhibition space for architecture in Vienna. He is currently a PhD candidate at the department of art history of the University of Vienna and has been teaching architecture and architectural history and theory at various (non)-institutions.

Dumb Emancipatory Housing Workshop. Photos: Saskia Krautman and Büroo Bietenhader Moroder
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Posted by Tiina Tammet