Caban Unnos: It;s Now-or-Never

Caban Unnos: It;s Now-or-Never

Vacant lot

Caban Unnos: It’s Now-or-Never, demonstrates the outcome of a relationship between an architect, an environmental project manager and No Fixed Abode, which saw the realisation of a contemporary one-night house. Taking as their point of departure a globally standing legislative loophole which offers that if a house can be built between sunset and sunrise on common land, then the erectors hold the right to maintain a residence on that land; they set about initiating the clandestine construction of such a one-night house in central Berlin.
Building started at around 22:00 on Saturday 7th June and by 03:20 the finished house was standing with smoke rising from the chimney, as the old law prescribed as the standard for a finished "Caban Unnos". Around 50 participants contributed to its construction, forming a productive, positive and eager community of interested parties. The spirit and energy of this group was strong and showed the positive effects of what can be achieved through communal action.
The house was designed and developed alongside No Fixed Abode by Architect Tony Broomhead (Amenity Space) and appointed Project Manager Dan McTiernan (Why Waste?).
In transferring the traditional rural one-night house into the modern setting of Berlin the team selected appropriate materials that would be freely available in the city. Palettes and plastic water cooler bottles were chosen as they would provide a standardised, abundant and re-usable building material. Alongside this there were various other scavenged and recycled materials from the various wastelands and empty plots of Berlin. Most notable was the oven and chimney constructed from reclaimed bricks, flagstones, metal and ceramic piping.
The house only stood for two hours before it was inevitably challenged. At 05:30 Sunday morning, Polizei arrived and demanded its instant removal. After a period of fruitless negotiation, No Fixed Abode finally complied and deconstruction of the house commenced at 06:30. Without any sleep or time to reflect on the achievement of the night's work, the house disappeared as quickly as it went up. The house exists as memory, a dream of the nights work. A true one-night house.


Horatio Eastwood and Terry Slater (No Fixed Abode), Tony Broomhead (Amenity Space), Dan McTiernan (Why Waste?), 50 participants.

Location: Alexanderplatz, Berlin. Germany. 7th June 2008

Other Tools: Clandestine