CoCoon is a sector for contextual design, planning and construction in an intercultural and interdisciplinary context. It combines teaching, research, practice and networking. It creates awareness of the social and cultural implication of doing architecture.

CoCoon promotes sustainability and social engagement in the production of living environments. CoCoon is dedicated to the DesignBuild-methodology, fostering academy to dedicate knowledge as service for the community. CoCoon is associated with university departments as well as nonacademic organisations and experts.

CoCoon was founded in April 2005, based on the experiences of the  ‘Praxisseminar Mexiko’ 2000-2004 and the seminar ‘Students Building in Kabul’ 2003. From 2015 to 2023, CoCoon-Studio was running as a GbR with Dr. Nina Pawlicki and Prof. Dr. Simon Colwill as co-directors. Now CoCoon-Studio is managed by Ursula Hartig.


Teaching: CoCoon offers seminars in design, construction and documentation for students related to the built environment. CoCoon is both initiator and collaborator in different international and interdisciplinary academic exchange programmes. It assists student lead-research and stimulates intercultural exchange.

Research: CoCoon investigates praxis-related forms of architectural education, bridging the gap between theory and reality. CoCoon conducts research regarding vernacular building techniques and analyses its contextual, social and sustainability relevance for contemporary architecture.

Practice: CoCoon is dedicated to the construction of buildings and open spaces as part of the academic education. It offers students the chance to experience some of the greatest challenges of doing architecture in the field. The work is based on interdisciplinary, international and intercultural cooperation.

Networking: CoCoon believes in the high outcome of “service learning” and offers a cooperation base for execution projects, seminars, exchange of knowledge, people and contacts for academia and society. CoCoon is part of the executive board of the interactive dbXchange.eu network and Design for the Common Good.




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Ursula Hartig


Ursula Hartig founded CoCoon in 2004. She is a member of the executive committee of the Design for the Common Good network and chairwoman of the dbXchange.eu association network, plans and realises conferences, exhibitions, awards and further supports the development of the web platforms. In Spring 2022, she was distinguished professor at center for Public Interest Design at the the Portland State University. From March 2017 to October 2020 she held a professorship at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich. She became a research fellow at the Department of Architecture, TU Berlin in 1997. Since 2001 she has been a project manager and director of TU Berlin‘s DesignBuild Studios including planning, realisation and documentation of buildings and environments in Mexico and Afghanistan. Since 1987 she worked as collaborator and project manager in different Architecture offices in Berlin. She holds a Master in Architecture (Diplom Ingenieur) from the Technische Universität Berlin.


2022- ongoing co-manager of the building-cooperative Gärtnerhof Potsdam

2022 Distinguished Professor at Portland State University

2017- 2020    Professor for planning an building in a global context, University of Applid Sciences, Munich

2013-2016   ‘European DesignBuild Knowledge Network’, research project of the European Union, Erasmus Mundus program, director, TU Berlin

2012    ‘DesignBuild-Studio: New Ways in Architectural Education’, first international encounter of DesignBuild-Studios and their network partners, curator and director

2004-2013   Tenured teacher and research fellow, founding of CoCoon

1997-2003   Teacher and research associate, undergraduate courses and DesignBuild studios

1990-1997    Freelance Architect, collaborating architect in several architecure offices in Berlin

1990   Diploma in Architecture at the TU Berlin


Former members


Dr. Nina Pawlicki –  CoCoon-Studio member from 2011 to 2023. She has been a teaching and research associate at the Department of Architecture, Technische Universität Berlin since 2013. In 2009 she participated in CoCoons DesignBuild-Studio  ‘Praktikumsseminar Mexiko’, where she works as project manager and construction supervisor ever since. She has a wide range of experiences from working as a freelance architect for different architecture offices. Nina studied architecture at the Technische Universität Berlin and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Prof. Dr. Simon Colwill, CoCoon-Studio member from 2011 to 2023. He has been involved in a number of DesignBuild Projects, Live Projects and SummerSchools in Mexico, Bolivia, Columbia, Brazil, Egypt and in Germany. He is currently the Programme Director and Professor for Landscape Architecture at the IU International University, developing the first online Bachelor program for Landscape Architecture in Germany. He also teaches at the chair of Landscape Architecture at the Brandenburgische Technische Universität in Cottbus.

He studied “Landscape Architecture” at the University of Greenwich in London and moved to Berlin, Germany in 1995 where he worked as a freelancer with a focus on landscape design, town planning, detailing and design competitions. From 2004 to 2020, he was a teaching and research associate at the Department of Landscape Design and Construction at the Technische Universität in Berlin, supervising many study projects and seminars in the bachelor and master’s program. He has also been teaching in the Masters Landscape Architecture program at the Bartlett School of Architecture,  UCL London.

Valentina Rojas Loa M.A. —  International networking, research associate

Dr. Frank Hassenewert — Research and teaching

Anne Seidel — International networking

Karina Flores Flores  — Student assistant, Latin-America

Gabriela Looke —  Student assistant, Latin-America

Tim Sedlmayr — Student assistant, Middle-Asia/North-Africa

Morten Loes



Scientific Cooperation


TU Berlin Natural Building Lab, Prof. Eike Roswag-Klinge

HM, Hochschule München, Fakultät 01 Architektur, Prof. Dr. Lars Schiemann

HM, Hochschule München, Fakultät 02 Bauingenieurwesen, Prof. Dauberschmidt, Prof. Scholz

HM, Hochschule München, Fakultät 12 Design, Prof. Suzan Cigirac

TU Berlin, Habitat Unit, Chair of International Urbanism and Design, Prof. Dr. Philipp Misselwitz

TU Berlin, TEK, Fachgebiet Tragwerksentwurf und -konstruktion, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Rückert

TU Berlin, Fachgebiet für Landschaftsbau/Objektbau, Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Cordula Loidl-Reisch


PSU, Portland State University: Center for Public Interest Design, Prof. Sergio Palleroni

Atarraya Arquitectos, Lorena Burbano + Sebastían Oviedo, Quito, Ecuador

Acetsam, Area de cooperación de la escuela técnica superior de arquitectura de Madrid; Madrid, Spain

Archintorno, Associazione di promozione sociale; Naples, Italy

Dalhousie University,  Coastal Studio, School of Architecture; Canada

GUC, Research Group Sustainable Urbanism, Nile Island Initiative, German University Cairo,  Architecture and Urban Design Programme, Egypt

HNE Eberswalde, Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde, Fachbereich Holztechnik

UNAM, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Facultad de Arquitectura, Taller Max Cetto; Mexico D.F., Mexico

UC, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Facultad de Arquitectura; Santiago de Chile, Chile

PUCE, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito

VDB, Verband Deutscher Betoningenieure

Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), design.build, Austria –

ZRS, Ziegert Roswag Seiler Architekten Ingenieure; clay construction

Clients and Client Organisations


Opción Más, Chamanga, Ecuador; Cultural Center for Jouth and Children

Community of Santa Maria Natividad, Zaachila, Oaxaca, Mexico; Schoolbuildings and outdoor classroom, play facilities (2010)

Organizacion de Mujeres Unidas NAXIÌ, San Jeronimo Tecoatl, Oaxaca, Mexico; Women Cooperative for foodproduction and -processing and qualification training. Project: Jam Manufactury (2012)

Cooperativa de Mujeres TREIG, Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico; Women Cooperative engaging in community development and production of micro-cement-roofing tiles. Projects:  Workshop (2000) CEFOCOM Community Center (2001, 2002, 2003) Contact: tejatreig@hotmail.com

Fundación Cultural Rodolfo Morales,  Ocotlan de Morelos, Oaxca, Mexico;  Cultural Foundation, Projects: Restauration of a Church Roof in Mudejar Style (2001), Restauration of a retable in the Church of Santa Ana Zegache (2001), Marketposts for Santa Ana Zegache, Music-School for Children (2003), Stage and Outdoorkitchen for the Musicschool (2007)

Guiu Llte Luch Nanabane, San Antonino Castillo Velazco; Women cooperative for health care and indigenous medicine. Projects: Casas de Salud, Temazcal, Zisternes, Garden (2004, 2005)

Über den Tellerrand e.V.

Union de Mujeres Campesinas de la Mixteca Alta UMCAMIX

Municipio de Zaachila

Strategic Support


VFFA,  Verein der Freunde und Förderer der Architektur

C.A.M.P.O , Centro de Apoyo al Movimiento Popular Oaxaqueño

Fundación Cultural Rodolfo Morales

Prof. Dr. Dieter Kronzucker

Casa Colonial


Financial Support


ZUG II der Hochschule München

Hochschule München

Deutsche Botschaft Ecuador

STO Stiftung


Die Sternsinger


Hilfswerk der Deutschen Lions e.V.

Deutsche Botschaft Mexiko

Rotary Club Wiesbaden Nassau


Ursula Hartig, Architect
Eichenstrasse 4
12435 Berlin