Winning competition entry proposes public-private space for enjoying Berlin's Techno music scene

Gaylord’s "Tanzblock" proposes a cinder-block booth as a dance cabin of sorts to enliven the city streets and its Techno music community. He says he sought to prevent isolating the music and dancer as much as possible from the environment around them, while still keeping a necessary border to allow for social distance.

Gaylord’s "Tanzblock" proposes a cinder-block booth as both a private and public experience of Berlin's Techno music scene. The proposal - Gaylord's first competition entry - earned the "Green Prize" in the international Bee Breeder's Berlin Techno Booth competition.

by Shreya Jaiswal

Published November 22, 2021

Jackson Gaylord is a second-year student in UB's 3.5-year Master of Architecture program, designed as a path of entry into the architecture profession for students without an undergraduate background in the field.

Jackson Gaylord is a second-year student in UB's 3.5-year Master of Architecture program, designed as a path of entry into the architecture profession for students without an undergraduate background in the field. 

Bee Breeders’ international architecture competition “Berlin Techno Booth” has announced Jackson Gaylord, a Master of Architecture student at UB, as the “Green Prize” winner.

The competition invited proposals that address the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on public spaces such as techno music clubs and raves, which are deeply rooted into the urban fabric of Berlin.

Techno music is known to have originated in Detroit but found its home in Berlin. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, numerous structures were left abandoned and unoccupied, which allowed Berlin’s youth to convert these spaces into makeshift dance clubs. Berlin's vibrant gay, art, and underground cultures celebrated the city's reunification with nonstop parties fueled by techno music.

The competition challenged the participants to design a non-traditional temporary structure that can be transported and installed anywhere with an area of four square meters or smaller. The space must allow for a single dancer to enjoy Berlin's best techno music while maintaining social distance.

Gaylord’s "Tanzblock" proposes a cinder-block booth as a dance cabin of sorts to enliven the city streets and its techno music community.  He says he sought to prevent isolating the music and dancer as much as possible from the environment around them, while still keeping a necessary border to allow for social distance.

Only cinder blocks and clamps were used in his proposal, both mass-produced elements that allude to the industrial setting from which Berlin's techno movement arose. A sound system is installed in the higher blocks.

The simple cinder block shell acts as a permeable barrier, allowing light and sound to pass through. Instead of using acoustic measures to reduce outgoing or incoming sound, the booth encourages music to exit its boundary and mix with the noises of the city enabling people to experience music.

The simple cinder block shell acts as a permeable barrier, allowing light and sound to pass through. Instead of using acoustic measures to reduce outgoing or incoming sound, the booth encourages music to exit its boundary and mix with the noises of the city enabling people to experience music.

Designed with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in mind, Gaylord says he sought to prevent isolating the music and dancer as much as possible from the environment around them, while still keeping a necessary border to allow for social distance.

Gaylord says his vision was to “transform the area around the booth into a place where people can come to experience music, whether they choose to use the booth or not.”

Gaylord, a second-year student in the 3.5-year track of the Master of Architecture program, came to UB with a BFA in industrial design from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He says his experience in design studio as well as his interest in music and the small-scale nature of the project spurred his interest in the competition.

In a featured interview with Bee Breeders, Gaylord says: “I enjoy the creative freedom that competitions give, as well as the diverse range of settings and scenarios that competitions can expose me to."

"Architecture serves as a means of reinterpreting the world through space and form to create new ways of experiencing reality. It's the architect's job to discover what that experience should be and how it will benefit others."

To his fellow students, he offers this encouragement to enter the world of competitions: "Go for it - you only have something to gain from entering competitions, regardless of whether you win an award or not.”

“You only have something to gain from entering competitions, regardless of whether you win an award or not”

-Jackson Gaylord, MArch student and winner of the "Green Prize" in the international Bee Breeders competition.