Shabbyshabby Apartments– a field report

Be it a treehouse-hotel, tree-tents or other forms of retreats on trees – from today on we also check and review different sleeping areas on macrophanerophytes. No, that’s not mutant mosquitos big like elephants. The term is just the nomenclature for trees. Learned some again.


I stumbled across the first object for our today’s review by a happy coincident, I actually wanted to go to the theatre. Then I read about the housing space project „Shabbyshabby Apartments“ in the schedule of the „Kammerspiele“, a local theatre. An experimental, playful statement against growing rental prices in Munich. 120 young folks were invited by the „Kammerspiele“ in cooperation with raumlaborberlin to design 24 apartments and set them up in Munich’s prime locations. Twenty-four alternative housing spaces for 250 Euro building costs each and 35 Euro rent per night. Among the housings is a quince-yellow bathtub-flat, a ship and a treehouse in the park. The latter – „The Chameleon Concept“ – was designed by five fourteen years old girls and self-appointed „slobs“. Exactly that we visited:


Last wednesday, around 08:30 p.m. we were looking for our shelter in the park: the chameleon concept. An unimposing wooden cube on stilts from the outside, absorbing an innocent tree trunk. Once inside, a cozy colorful drey with queensize bed, jungle-paintings on the one side and a generous view to apartment buildings on the other side opens up. Next to the house is a portable WC, just for us.


On the park bench in front of the work of art we enjoy our last supper. Behind us two guys who made themselves very uncomfortable with cheap beer on an unlighted park bench instantly catch our attention. They comment our picnic like over-committed sports presenters, just with steaming fecal vocabulary – not to say: they rant and grumble like crazy. Shabbyshabby and also us seem to really get on their nerves. With their aggressive gestures they don’t look like they’d like to share a cherry-muffin with us in peace.


The darker and more deserted the park gets, the more testosterone driven the atmosphere. Even the passersby, who are enthusiastic about the project, don’t change that. Quite the contrary. The news about one of the apartments being set on fire the night before is still in the back of our heads. Security forces are supposed to watch over the apartments and their inhabitants at night.


No security around anywhere close to the chameleon and even if there came one, no calm sleep would come our way. Who knows if neighbor squirrel comes knocking on the door for tea or two fellows with clenched fists? To top it all, two exhausting workdays are waiting for us tomorrow. Suddenly the cozy treehut appears exposed, fragile, too flimsy for tired nerves.


Spontaneously we pack up our stuff and hit it back home. The two guys blow us a farewell fist and give us rough pet names. „You motherfuckers“ being the least offensive. Back home a friend calls standing in front the treehouse, asking where we are. The blue portable WC would be lying next to the chameleon like a stranded whale bleeding through his blowhole. We feel that our decision was right, cuddle up under the sheets and fall asleep right away.


On the next day at 07:30 a.m. a little after play is waiting – a short interview wit the local newspaper about our overnight stay. We go back to our reptile and bring him some breakfast from the bakery. In short: the article emerging from the interview is lacking pepper. Well, happens in the best kitchens. At this point, I want to thank “Münchner Kammerspiele”, which refunded our overnight stay and photographer Natalie Neomi Isser, who kindly provided these pictures.



Miriam: Who stays in this treehouse inevitably becomes part of the artwork. Depending on the mind of the beholder (squirrel or owner of the fist) you become a welcome neighbor or a tempting provocation. Would I stay there again? No, but I’d like to try another.


Christopher: I doubt that the future of urban living lies in isolating oneself in small exposed shelters. Inexpensive flats in old buildings with nice people living in them would be my wish for Munich and other cities. Blinking smiley.
© Natalie Neomi Isser

© Natalie Neomi Isser

© Natalie Neomi Isser

© Natalie Neomi Isser

© Natalie Neomi Isser

© Natalie Neomi Isser

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