Dagmar Richter's research strives to reassess the commonly held notion of territory as an "extension" or "free domain" where architecture is enrolled for the development of town-planning requirements. Rather than using the concept of available space to ascertain the prior qualification of any zone, she substitutes the memory of the events comprising it. The immediacy of this archaeology constitutes the project's basic material, in a renewed understanding of the urban approach. Beyond any post-modern assimilation, this relationship to history is directly material and tectonic, and it reconstitutes the ground in symbolic sedimentary layers which the architect then uses as a formal resource. With The Vessel her project for the Los Angeles Gateway competition, she explored the historical traces at the site and reconstituted a transparent wall above the motorway, which became an information panel at night. This game of "retracing" and "restitution", based on the notion that information is what qualifies space, is also obvious in Berlin III where tracking down this type of qualification enables the recomposition and redefinition of the city. All her architectural projects include this inherent law, positing a new semantic material which upsets standard project procedures.
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Dagmar Richter

To design in architecture is to transform found spatial structure. In a fluid field of changes the planner and the designer are active readers of this spatial text put forward in different forms of representation, in forms of diagrams, photographic material, filmic material as well personal experience, which in turn is automatically transformed through the readers appropriation.
Planners and architects alike plan future structures and try to predict the direction fluid spatial realities will take. The collected data will then be presented in various forms of representations to different readers. These readers are not regarded as passive entities consuming the text in an unaltered form. Every reading will leave the text put forward altered. The different representations architects and planners find, are filled with traces of active reading processes. The politician, potential user, fellow architect and planner, to name just a few, will leave those numerous traces, which in subsequent altered representations emerge. The architect and planner are collectors of these traces, be they historical traces found on maps, traces on contemporary representations as photographs or drawings, texts or spoken words, found images and texts which seem at first unrelated. The planner-architect combines, translates and transforms the found material, which in further reading processes is consumed and transformed by new readers who may implement and translate the given representations towards a new spatial and political reality.
The produced text is never objective, never clean and never original in the classical sense. It is a text ready for interpretation by the next involved party. Planner and architect alike collect material deemed appropriate and create a transformed representation ready for debate, translation and appropriation. (...) Any act of reading is simultaneously an act of appropriation and the selection of reading material is crucial in order to arrive at a relevant spatial representation. The art of architecture is then defined as a strategy of appropriation, trickery and rhetoric of use. It is an art of copy, appropriation and recombination. A space occurs, when directional vectors sizes of speed and variables of time are interwoven. This space can influence action but never define it. The architect, a strategist, will always attempt to create something of his own which acts normative, the user will always transform it through a tactic of use and appropriation.
(...) Instead of following the classical idea that the act of designing and assigning is defined by a process of invention, one has to regard oneself as an editing specialist, who critically initiates choice through a process of translation of already assembled material. As there have been many voices not read through history since they were deemed inappropriate, irrelevant or undesirable, it is now necessary to apply thorough criticism towards the selection of representations considered relevant to the reading process.
Our interest therefore is concentrated in the reading of the contemporary city, landscape and periphery.

Shangai Housing 2000 - Shangai Japan - Competition 1997

Dagmar Richter based her project on the tradition and design of chinese garden. First of all, she has interpreted it as a complex network of sophisticated pathways serving a range of varied public spaces. Thus, the public trajectories of the project were attentively studied in order to open views, to provide distinct scenari in often-compressed spaces.
Water and mountains, two elements which were dominant in the chinese gardens, helped Dagmar Richter to create an alternative to the current well established western techniques of housing design. Instead of directly copying the formal vocabulary of the singular high-rise or low-rise building of the West, she used the old tradition of artificial hill construction to achieve dense and, in some cases, relatively high housing volumes. Based on the representation of the height sacred mountains surrounding Shangai, she distributed the necessary high density housing on the site. Water was also used in order to create voids and distances, contemplative mirror surfaces which divide but not separate.

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Flexible Zoning - New York U.S.A.- 1998

The area between pier #16 and #18 at Lower Manhattan has been chosen by the D. Richter Studio for experimental investigations regarding the new use of computer equipment in its relation to spatial zoning manipulations. This area, around the East River, was used to collect spatial and statistical data which all was translated into a mental animated spatial 3D map. The inherent and impredictable dynamics of the city, understood as a large organism, influenced by inside and outside events, are the force that animates the model. This new 3-dimensional zoning effort allows the creation of a more complex programmatic relationship in the city's section and creates the possibility of the expansion of more public space throughout the volumes of the buildings. Then, continuous sky-park on the roof tops, "fuzzy" water edge conditions, for example, could be electronically negociated.

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Dagmar Richter (1955)
1976 - Vordiplom, University de Stuttgart, Allemagne.
1982 - Master d'Architecture, Royal Art Academy School of Architecture,
Copenhague, Danemark.
1984 / 1986 - Post-diplôme, Städelschule, Francfort.

1982 / 1986 - Studio à Copenhague, Danemark.
1986 / 1989 - Studio à Cambridge, Massachussets, USA.
1987 / Fonde "Dagmar Richter Studio" à Los Angeles et Berlin.

Enseignement :
1999 - Kunsthochschule Berlin, Weissensee ;
UCLA, Departement of Architecture and Urban Design.
1997 - Columbia University, New-York.
1992 - SCI-Arc, Los Angeles.
1991 - University of Illinois, Chicago.
Principaux projets et réalisations
1998 - "Research Project on Flexible Zoning" New York (projet).
1998 / 1997 - "Maison individuelle" Santa-Monica, USA (réal.)
1997 - "Shangaï Housing 2000" (concours).
1994 - "Shinkenchiku Membrane" (concours - 1er Prix).
1993 - "Royal Library" Copenhague (concours - 2eme Prix).
1991 - "Temporary Playhouse" Pacific Palissades.
1990 / 1989 - "Re-Reading Century City" (projet).
1988 - "International West Coast Gateway" avec Shayne O'Neil (concours - 3eme Prix).
1987 - "Shinkenchiku Central Glass" avec Ulrich Hinrichsmeyer (concours - 2eme Prix) ; "The intelligent Market" avec Ulrich Hinrichsmeyer (2eme Prix).

Expositions récentes :
1997 - New-York et Los Angeles, Exposition collective, Henry Urbach.
1995 - Technical University, Berlin, Allemagne.
1992 - Berlin, Galerie Aedes ; New-York, Storefront ; Oslo, ROM.
Principales publications de Dagmar Richter
1997 - "Beyond Euclidean Geometry" in : Newsline (printemps) Columbia University.
1996 - "Spazieren in Berlin" Assemblage (vol.29), MIT Press ; " Gedanken um den Design Process" / "Internationaler Ideenwettbewerb Berlin, Spreebogen" / "Neue Koenigliche Bibliothek Kopenhagen" / "Membranen und Energien" - 4 chapitres - in : "International Forum Prague : Architecture and Responsability" Edit. Joerg Kirchbaum et Anna Meseure, Trad. Arcum Verlag.
1994 - Shinkenchiku (vol.11) Tokyo ; Oz (vol.16) ; Zodiac (vol.11) Italie.
1993 - "A Child Guest House" in : Architecture d'Aujourd'hui (n°290).
1992 - "Dagmar Richter, The Art of Copy : Rereading the City" in : Storefront (déc.) ; "The century City" in : Architectural Design : Theory and Experimentation : Architectural Ideas for today and tomorow, Londres ; "The Art of Copy" in : Journal of Philosophy and the Visuals Arts (fév.) Londres.
1991 - "Reading Los Angeles : A Primitive Rebel's Account" in : Assemblage (vol.14), MIT Press Cambridge.
1990 - "Dagmar Richter and Ulrich Hinrichsmeyer" A+U (n°233)