Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius is a performing architect, a hybrid between space designer and situation maker. As such in 2021, he won the golden Lion at the Venice Architecture Biennial with his collective raumlaborberlin. His work stands emblematic for an approach to architecture and urbanity that manifests a radical turn from a practice that serves the real estate market and the building industry towards a practice that plays a lead role in all current struggles and debates around a changing climate, sustainability, shrinking material resources and creating futures with all lifeforms on this planet. Foerster-Baldenius strives for transdiciplinary approaches in learning, making, and doing, he is a brilliant researcher, networker, and charismatic fighter for new forms of resilient urban practice. With him Städelschule will install a laboratory for cohabitation with the city of Frankfurt as its first and foremost testing ground.
Foerster-Baldenius has studied architecture at TU and HdK Berlin and the Royal Danish Academy of Arts in Copenhagen. He plans, draws and realizes installations and interventions in public space, makes scenographies, and dramaturgies for stages, squares and exhibitions and develops event and teaching formats. During the pandemic he realized, among other things, the construction of the Sommerbau for Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt and the Third Space for the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus as two temporary open spaces for analogue encounter.
He has won the Schelling Prize for Innovation in Architecture with his early work Hotel Neustadt and since then designed and produced, displayed, published and performed worldwide with growing attention. He has been a Professor at the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design Prague (VSUP), the Folkwang University of Arts Essen, the Royal Academy of Arts in the Hague and has worked in teaching positions in many other European Universities. He is also the founder, dean and board member of the Floating University an award-winning Nature/Culture learning Space in Berlin.
Cohabitation is the art of dwelling together on a damaged Planet. The performance and re-negotiation of space between us humans and all living species, their various cultures and forms of communication is as much part of our research on cohabitation, as finding languages of knowledge, formats of articulation and registers for archiving these. Cohabitation is not a new artistic science, there is a richly layered history and a paradise of relational practices to be visited. But cohabitation from the human perspective needs new appearances in space that react on contemporary challenges towards a resilient togetherness. That is where we will be heading with the design of interspecies spaces of encounter, one to one interventions in public and experiments in urban practice.