Kristian Knorr
Cand.aarch MAA

+45 8161 6282

Li.     In.    Pi.

Emergent Island

Architecture Project

Emergent Island is system-based master plan of Törten Estate in Dessau, Germany. The project was designed with Søren Holm as our Bachelors project at Aarhus School of Architecture and based on the following research question:

At what level of abstraction should the architect work? – and which design decisions should be left in the hands of the inhabitants?


The project originates from the current material surplus in the form of vacant buildings in Dessau – a shrinking city located in Germany. The Emergent Island benefits from the vacancy problem by harvesting buildings and upcycling the materials. Rather than a static plan, the emergent Island is a dynamic system which consumes buildings in order to grow in these low density sub-urban areas. Besides addressing the material situation of Dessau the project also reorganizes the social and economic conditions for the dwellers in the sub-urban areas.


The Emergent Island system dwells somewhere in between the traditional masterplan and the non-plan, which is a theoretical planning discourse originating in the sixties, debating the effects of leaving all planning to the users, by removing all rules and regulations from certain areas. This system is thus a union between the spatial uncertainty of the non-plan and the urban space security from the master-plan.