This past year may well have been the peak of the hypercapitalist phase of the last few years. Many people were suffering from constant time and performance pressure, digital information overload, and alienation from nature. But the Covid-19 pandemic abruptly changed the scenario, shifting priorities and values. In this context, the question of how to take charge of your life has become central for many people.
Christoph Hesse took this situation as an opportunity to develop the Open Mind Places project for his home town of Referinghausen (Sauerland). It consists of nine architectural follies embedded in the natural landscape, which invite visitors and hikers to pause, reflect, and exchange ideas. As this is a non-budget project, the follies were designed as simple structures using local materials. They were built with the help of Hesse’s family, local residents, and skilled friends who volunteered their time and craftsmanship. In reference to Hesse’s folly called “Ursprung” (Source), the exhibition consists of a room-high installation with walk-in wooden sculptures, whose meditative interiors house photographs by Laurian Ghinitoiu that were created for the exhibition.
Christoph Hesse founded his office in Korbach in 2010, and since 2018 has also had a branch office in Berlin. His buildings include Villa F in Sauerland, Zwischen Gleis und Strasse (Between Tracks and Road) in Korbach, and the Turmhaus (Tower House) in Waldeck-Frankenberg. In 2017, Hesse initiated the collaborative project Ways of Life, for which 19 internationally renowned architects (including Tatiana Bilbao, Juergen Mayer H., Anna Heringer, Robert Konieczny, and Pezo von Ellrichshausen, among others) are creating experimental residential buildings fostering alternative ways of living and working in rural areas. Hesse is currently working on new buildings in Sauerland, for the Edersee Visitor Center and for Museum Freigrafschaft.