The Huntertwasser window right

"Boredom is intolerable" is written on the website of Dost Architektur. This could be roughly interpreted as a short formula of the window right, which the Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser already formulated in 1958: "A man (...) must be able to lean out of his window and (...) paint everything pink with a long brush - as far as he can reach - so that you can see (...) from afar: There lives a person who is different from his neighbors (...)!"

Portrait Alfonso Calderon (left) and Matthias Corrodi of Dost Architektur Schaffhausen with wooden models of the Silberhof buildings.
Facades belong to the general public; also those of the Silberhof Schaffhausen.

Architects in a dilemma

As part of the storytelling for the Silberhof property, I confronted the two Dost architects, Alfonso Calderon and Matthias Corrodi, with a thought experiment. Namely, with the question of how they would unite the Dost credo against boredom with Hundertwasser's window right. How do they tackle boredom in the Silberhof? And would you also like to grant the Silberhof residents a window right? This clashes with the requirements for the townscape in the old town of Schaffhausen. I was interested in how architects solve such dilemmas.

This is how individuality can take place in construction

"I would be thrilled to grant the window right," explains Alfonso Calderon, "but the facade belongs to the general public, and the rules are strict. We achieve individuality in the Silberhof facade with the position of the shutters: they are sometimes open, sometimes closed. This variety breaks the regularity and makes the façade lively, even if it is organized in grids for the benefit of the old town."

Matthias Corrodi brings up an interesting thought: "We could do it like in Morocco: the facades there don't look very special. The courtyards, on the other hand, are richly decorated with mosaics. Such designs should be possible - as long as they are developed collaboratively in the Silberhof."

Window law: window on Krahestrasse in Düsseldorf, Germany. Photo: Hv-Jonas on Wikimedia commons.

Creative solutions to challenges

One could tell from Corrodi's and Calderon's proposals that they are used to dealing with such dichotomies and seeking creative solutions together with partners of various kinds. They may be artists - but they always care about pragmatic solutions.

I am very curious whether the Silberhof community will be allowed to make use of the window right.

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