Page 1

Hella Hernberg

URBAN

DR EAM

M A N A G EM E NT Revitalising Urban Residual Areas through Temporary Uses: Case Postblock, Berlin


Urban Dream Management

Master’s thesis 2008 Helsinki University of Technology Department of Architecture

Diplomityö 2008 Teknillinen Korkeakoulu Arkkitehtiosasto

Author: Hella Hernberg Thesis supervisor: Professor Trevor Harris Thesis tutors: Antti Ahlava, Anni Vartola

Tekijä: Hella Hernberg Valvoja: Professori Trevor Harris Ohjaajat: Antti Ahlava, Anni Vartola


Contents

ABSTRACT OF MASTER’S THESIS

4

DIPLOMITYÖN TIIVISTELMÄ

5

1.

PROLOGUE

The Site in its Urban Context

6

10

3.

Problematics of Public Urban Space

68

3.1

Residual Spaces: Rebirth of the Public

70

3.2

Friedrichstadt and the Obsession of Becoming

73

3.3

Culture, Innovation and the Challenges of Shrinking

76

3.4

The Berlin Courtyard as a Social Structure

80

[The Postblock: Gallery Courtyards and Mixed Uses]

82

3.5

Design of Public Urban Space: Criticism and New Concepts

84

References, Chapter 3

89

1.0

[A Bicycle Tour through the Backyards of Berlin]

12

1.1

The Postblock: An Overview

16

1.2

Around the Block: Observations 2005-2007

20

1.3

At the Crossroads of Historical Change: A Brief History of the Postblock

24

4.

Urban Dream Management – Future Scenarios

On the Edge of a Growing City

27

for the Postblock

90

In the Heart of a Decadent Metropolis

29

The Political Arena

31

4.1

Steps towards Urban Dream Management

92

An Island in the Archipelago

33

4.2

Zimmerstraβe Scenarios

94

Dead End Streets by the Berlin Wall

35

1. Scenographic Swimming

96

Underground Culture versus Gentrification

37

2. The Slow Food Field

98

References, Chapter 1

39

3. The Home Station

100

4. Memorial Light

102

5. The Urban Oasis

104

6. The Catwalk Courtyards

106

References, Chaper 4

109

2.

Residual Space and Temporay Use

40

2.1

Culture of the Temporary in Berlin

42

[The Case E-Werk]

46

EPILOGUE

111

2.2

Characteristics of the Temporary Uses

48

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

112

[Case Helsinki: Recent Evolving of Urban Cultures]

52

BIBLIOGRAPHY

113

2.3

Long Term Impacts of Temporary Uses

56

IMAGE CREDITS

117

2.4

Urban Agents – The Potential of Temporary Uses in Planning

60

2.5

Rules of the Game

63

References, Chapter 2

66


Abstract of Master’s Thesis

Author Major subject Minor subject Title Title in Finnish Chair Supervisor Tutors Number of pages Keywords

Temporary uses of urban space and their role in urban development have recently become a topic of research in Europe, and concrete phenomena have raised discussion also in Helsinki. This master’s thesis discusses the revitalising of residual urban areas through the means of temporary uses and events. Through the examples that are presented mainly in the context of Berlin, the work will introduce new ideas and possibilities that can be applied also to other cities, including Helsinki.

how temporary uses can complement more permanent structures, pull other permanent users to the location, or also turn more permanent themselves in the course of time.

In Berlin, voids in urban space – empty lots and abandoned buildings – are an interesting and characteristic phenomenon. The temporary uses of urban residual areas have recently contributed to Berlin’s status as a culturally vibrant, diverse and creative city. The small scale temporary uses have acted as breeding grounds for a creative city; they have created attractive environments and produced new kinds of public activities in times of economic uncertainty and also attracted new, international investors to the city. The phenomena related to spontaneous, temporary uses have recently emerged, outside the traditional planning processes, also in many other European cities that are undergoing major changes in economy, infrastructure, politics or demography. However, in most cities the temporary uses are not yet part of the legal regulations or discussions and are often ignored by planning authorities. Therefore, this work



looks for ways to integrate the potentials of temporary uses also in the mechanisms of urban management and planning. Thus the aim is to develop more sustainable, site specific urban strategies that can better respond to future changes. The chosen case site, the “Postblock”, is an example of the urban wastelands in Berlin. It is situated at the border of Mitte and Kreuzberg boroughs in central Berlin, in the vicinity of many famous landmarks of Berlin’s political history. The surrounding area carries the tragic weight of world history on its current face but also features the result of more recent events, such as the 1990’s building boom that has now stagnated, or the recent spontaneous phenomena of underground cultures. The work is based on a case study made on site, during which I have analysed the history of the chosen site and themes related to temporary uses. The first three chapters of this work will focus on the analysis, discussing the backgrounds and role of the case site, the potentials and examples of temporary uses, and questions related to contemporary public space. In the fourth chapter, as a conclusion for the analysis, new ideas will be presented on the case site in the form of scenarios. They illustrate the potentials of temporary uses, on one hand as an intermediary solution, on the other as a catalytic phenomenon that can lead into new long term solutions. The scenarios also demonstrate

Hella Hernberg Theory and history of architecture Urban planning and design Urban Dream Management - Revitalising Urban Residual Areas through Temporary Uses: Case Postblock, Berlin Urban Dream Management - tilapäiskäytöt hylätyn kaupunkitilan elvyttäjinä: Case Postblock, Berlin Urban planning and design A-36 Prof. Trevor Harris D. Arts Antti Ahlava, Lic.Tech Anni Vartola 117 Temporary use, urban residual space, public space, urban renewal, urban design, Berlin, Helsinki

The temporary uses also represent a new form of active public participation in the city, promoting a more attractive, creative and liveable urban environment – the city of our dreams. As the name of this work suggests, the core principle in creating a city that really belongs to its inhabitants is that we should be allowed to dream, and be encouraged to develop our dreams into feasible forms. Supporting temporary uses and public participation in cities, is not only a question of design and urban management but even more importantly, it is about attitudes, both on the level of municipal authorities and people themselves.


Diplomityön tiivistelmä

Tekijä Pääaine Sivuaine Työn nimi Title in English Professuuri Työn valvoja Työn ohjaajat Luovutettu aineisto Avainsanat

Kaupunkitilan väliaikaiset käytöt ja niiden rooli kaupunkisuunnittelussa, etenkin joutomaiden ja muutoksenalaisten alueiden kehittämisessä, ovat viime aikoina nousseet esille ajankohtaisena tutkimusaiheena eri puolilla Eurooppaa, ja konkreettiset ilmiöt ovat herättäneet keskustelua myös Helsingissä.

Diplomityö pohjautuu paikan päällä Berliinissä tekemääni kenttätyöhön, jonka aikana tutkin aiheeseen liittyviä ilmiöitä ja taustoja sekä esimerkkitontin historiaa. Työ painottuu analyysiosuuteen, jossa käsitellään valitun alueen taustoja, väliaikaistoimintojen roolia ja potentiaalia kaupunkisuunnittelun kannalta, sekä julkisen kaupunkitilan viihtyvyyteen, toimivuuteen ja yhteisöllisyyteen liittyviä kysymyksiä ja ongelmia toisaalta nykyisten suunnittelukäytäntöjen, toisaalta spontaanien ilmiöiden kannalta. Analyysin jatkeena esitetään kohdetontille skenaarioita ja ideoita, joissa havainnollistetaan tilapäiskäyttöjen potentiaalia toisaalta epävarmojen aikojen väliaikaisratkaisuna, toisaalta katalyyttisena ilmiönä, josta voi kehittyä kauaskantoisempiakin uusia käyttötapoja. Lisäksi väliaikaiskäytöt nähdään uudenlaisena esimerkkinä asukkaiden aktiivisesta osallistumisesta kaupunkiympäristönsä kehittämiseen.

Tämä diplomityö käsittelee urbaanien joutomaiden elävöittämistä tilapäiskäyttöjen keinoin. Esimerkkejä tuodaan esille erityisesti Berliinistä, jossa joutomaiden spontaanit väliaikaiskäytöt ovat osoittaneet uudenlaista potentiaalia kaupungin uudistajina ja elävöittäjinä. Väliaikaiskäyttöihin liittyvät ilmiöt ovat yleistymässä monissa muissakin eurooppalaisissa kaupungeissa, mutta ne ovat useimmiten joko kaupunkisuunnittelun mekanismien ja lainsäädännön ulkopuolella tai ristiriidassa niiden kanssa. Työssä tutkitaankin keinoja hyödyntää väliaikaiskäyttöjen potentiaalia myös täydentävänä osana kaupunkisuunnitelun prosesseja ja esitetään ideoita valitulle esimerkkitontille Berliinin keskustassa. Vertailuesimerkkien kautta tuodaan esille uusia mahdollisuuksia hyödynnettäväksi myös Helsingissä ja muualla Suomessa. Tavoitteena on siten edistää kestävää ja toisaalta tilanneherkkää suunnittelua, jossa myös paikan potentiaalit ja identiteetti nousevat entistä paremmin esiin. Kaupunkirakenteen aukot – tyhjät tontit ja hylätyt rakennukset – ovat Berliinissä kiinnostava ja omaleimainen ilmiö. Tällaiset jokseenkin kontrolloimattomat paikat muodostavat kasvualustan kaupungin spontaanille kulttuuri- ja taide-elämälle, mutta niihin liittyy myös

laajamittaisempaa potentiaalia. Käytettävissä oleva edullinen tila ja salliva ilmapiiri ovat Berliinissä mahdollistaneet monien luovien toimijoiden ja aloittelevien yrittäjien toiminnan, synnyttäneet verkostoja ja houkutelleet myös merkittäviä kansainvälisiä toimijoita kaupunkiin. Pienimuotoiset toiminnat ovat siten toimineet luovan kaupungin rakennusaineena: ne ovat onnistuneet luomaan uusia toimintamalleja taloudellisesti epävarmoina aikoina, parantamaan alueiden viihtyisyyttä ja vetovoimaisuutta sekä luoneet uudenlaista yhteisöllisyyttä julkiseen tilaan. Toisaalta monet suurimittaiset rakennushankeet ovat viime aikoina epäonnistuneet näissä tavoitteissa, ja Berliinin täydennysrakentamisen periaatteet ovatkin viime vuosikymmenten aikana aiheuttaneet paljon kriittistä keskustelua. Esimerkkikohteeksi valitsemani tyhjä tontti sijaitsee Berliinin keskustassa Zimmerstraβen ja Wilhelmstraβen kulmassa. Mielenkiintoiseksi juuri tämän paikan tekee sen keskeinen sijainti historiallisesti ja kaupunkirakenteellisesti monikerroksisessa kohdassa, jonka välittömässä ympäristössä on useita tunnusmerkkejä historiallisista tapahtumista sekä eri aikojen arkkitehtuurista. Tontin vierestä Zimmerstraβea pitkin on kulkenut Berliinin muuri, ja läheisyydessä sijaitsevat mm. tunnetut maamerkit Potsdamer Platz sekä Checkpoint Charlie. Alue on ollut viime vuosisadan aikana jatkuvien muutosten kohteena; keskeisen sijaintinsa vuoksi paikkaan ovat luoneet leimansa toisen maailmansodan ja kylmän sodan tapahtumat, viime vuosikymmenen rakennusbuumi sekä monet spontaanit underground-kulttuurin ilmiöt.

Hella Hernberg Arkkitehtuurin teoria ja historia Yhdyskunta- ja kaupunkisuunnittelu Urban Dream Management – tilapäiskäytöt hylätyn kaupunkitilan elvyttäjinä: Case Postblock, Berlin Urban Dream Management - Revitalising Urban Residual Areas through Temporary Uses: Case Postblock, Berlin Yhdyskunta- ja kaupunkisuunnittelu A-36 Prof. Trevor Harris TaT Antti Ahlava, Tekn. lis Anni Vartola Kirja, 117 sivua Tilapäiskäytöt, joutomaat, julkinen kaupunkitila, kaupunkisuunnittelu, täydennysrakentaminen, Berliini, Helsinki

Työn nimi, Urban Dream Management, viittaa uudenlaisten asenteiden merkitykseen entistä viihtyisämmän ja vetovoimaisemman, unelmien kaupungin kehittämisessä. Väliaikaiskäyttöjen ja asukkaiden osallistumisen tukemisessa onkin suunnittelun lisäksi ennen kaikea kysymys asenteista, sekä asukkaiden että kaupugin viranomaisten tahoilla. Entistä parempaa, asukkaille kuuluvaa kaupunkia voidaan kehittää vain, jos myös asukkaiden ideat ymmärretään kaupungin luovaksi voimavaraksi ja ihmisille annetaan mahdollisuus kehittää unelmiaan toteutettaviin muotoihin.







The residual: ‘pertaining to or constituting a residue or remainder; remaining; leftover’ ’a residual quantity; a remainder’ http://dictionary.reference.com Synonyms used in this work to describe urban residual spaces:

Prologue The Theme

European cities today are undergoing major changes: economic, industrial, technological and political transitions, rapid growth or shrinking. As a side effect, new urban wastelands are continually developing: abandoned industrial buildings, unused lots – places where former uses have come to an end but new ones have not yet been started. Outside the traditional planning procedures, numerous unplanned temporary uses have emerged in these abandoned areas, turning them into intensively used public and semi-public places. They have become breeding grounds for new activities and professional networks, also laying an impact on the public image of the cities. Yet, revitalising urban residual areas through traditional planning procedures is often very slow, or economically and politically difficult. Cities are looking for new strategies to position themselves in the global competition – but often ignore the unique potentials underlying the unplanned phenomena that emerge in these urban points of transformation. This master’s thesis discusses the questions of revitalising residual urban areas through the means of temporary uses and events, and looks for ways to integrate the potentials of temporary uses also in the mechanisms of urban management and planning. Temporary uses and their role in urban development have recently become a topic of research in Europe, and concrete phenomena have raised discussion also in Helsinki. In this work, through the examples in Berlin, I wish to introduce ideas and issues that

leftover spaces, brownfield areas, wastelands, void spaces, marginal spaces.

are also applicable to other cities, including Helsinki. In this work, the built urban environment and therefore also its design is understood as a process characterised by change, temporariness and unexpectedness. The temporary usage represents a new form of active public participation and individual initiatives, which could be supported also by city authorities – thus promoting a more attractive, creative and liveable urban environment.

Case Site: The Postblock

In Berlin, voids in urban space – empty lots and abandoned buildings – are an interesting and characteristic phenomenon. As a result of rapid changes in political systems during the past century, urban leftover areas and their spontaneous and innovative uses have become almost a paradigm for Berlin. They have contributed to its status as a culturally vibrant, diverse and creative city. However, also the controversy between different visions about the scattered city’s identity and the aims of the city’s reconstruction is clearly polarised in Berlin. Nonetheless, similar issues are topical also in Helsinki, where the fate of the railway stalls at Töölö Bay or the recent wave of house squats, have caused fiery public debate. The chosen case site, the “Postblock”, is situated at the border of Mitte and Kreuzberg boroughs in central Berlin. Many of the famous landmarks of Berlin’s political history – the Potsdamer Platz, the “Checkpoint Charlie” border

crossing point and the remains of the former Berlin wall – are situated in the vicinity. This area carries the weight of history on its current face but also features the result of more recent events, such as the 1990’s building boom that has now stagnated, or the recent spontaneous phenomena of underground cultures. The case site will be used both as an example for the themes discussed in the analysis and as a test site for presenting new ideas in the form of scenarios. The starting hypothesis regarding the Postblock is that in the present condition of uncertainty and economic slowdown in Berlin, permanent building development is not likely to take place on the case site even within the next 10 years. Meanwhile, this central location could however be made accessible for temporary uses and events, in order to revitalise the area and also to collect fresh initiatives for the future use of the site. The same applies for many other unused lots in the close surroundings, and also for many locations in other cities.

The Structure

The main emphasis of this work is on the analysis, which discusses the backgrounds and role of the chosen site, the potentials and examples of temporary uses, and questions related to contemporary public space. As a conclusion for the analysis, several scenarios will be presented on the case site, introducing ideas related to the themes discussed throughout the work. 


The work is divided into four chapters. The first chapter presents the backgrounds of the chosen case: the role of the Postblock in its urban context, in history and today. The idea is to define the essential potentials and weaknesses as a starting point for a site-specific redevelopment. Another motive for diving into history is formed by the breathtaking stories that are a way to understand the special characteristics of the location. The history of the site contains examples of the tragic cruelty and also of the thriving and flourishing of past times. Looking into history also portrays in a distinct way the constant change and instability of the urban condition, which posits many demands for contemporary urban development. The second chapter focuses on the phenomenon of temporary uses as a new potential that could be integrated also in town planning procedures. Accepting the uncertain and changing urban conditions, temporary usage can enable a profitable use of space at short notice and also bring out the most current phenomena to evolve. Through temporary uses, individuals can act as “real time urbanists” and possibly also initiate more long term developments. Temporary uses can be started rather quickly; thus they can put a start on the development of an area, while large scale projects are still being prepared. Through the temporary use of residual spaces, new kinds of successful public, social spheres have been formed alongside the planned developments. The third chapter discusses this juxtaposition between the planned public space and the residual, which is evident particularly in the 

case area of Friedrichstadt, surrounding the Postblock. This chapter discusses the current crisis of the design of public space and again, looks for methods of enabling the existing potentials and initiatives to emerge also in planned developments. Finally, in the fourth chapter, different scenarios for revitalising the Postblock will be presented. The proposals will weave together the themes and aims discussed throughout the work. The scenarios illustrate the potentials of temporary uses, on one hand as an intermediary solution, on the other as a catalytic phenomenon that can help develop even long term solutions. The scenarios also demonstrate how temporary uses can complement more permanent structures, pull other permanent users to the location, or also turn more permanent themselves in the course of time. The aim is to illustrate with a positive attitude, what kinds of things could be made possible with a little twist to the traditional ways of thinking and doing.

Urban Dream Management

The main aim of this work is to raise discussion, through the theme of temporary uses, about the positive effects that new ways of public participation and an open minded attitude can bring to our everyday urban environment – if they are made a recognised part of urban development. The examples from Berlin show that this can contribute to a more vibrant, creative and liveable city; a place where the inhabitants feel they belong and also show their responsibility.

The new concepts this work introduces regarding urban development are based on open-ended processes, bottom up approaches and active participation of the public. Thus it proposes complementary tools for the traditional modernistic top-down oriented planning systems, which usually aim rather rigidly at predetermined, fixed endproducts. It should be clear that these two approaches do not have to contradict but they should complement each other in a fruitful way. Some people might ask, why support temporary uses that have developed spontaneously when they will in any case develop under their own steam. Can such unplanned endeavours be planned at all? Can we design a creative city? My conclusion is that in the end, it is not only a question of design but even more, of attitudes and mutual trust – to believe in that we, in collaboration with others, can turn our dreams into reality. The core principle in creating a city that really belongs to its inhabitants is that we should be allowed to dream, even of the impossible. In order to shift the focus of urban development towards a general innovative spirit as a driving force for the city, I have named this approach “Urban Dream Management”.





10

Aerial view 1953 1 The SiteofinFriedrichstadt, its Urban Context


1. The Site in Its Urban Context reinickendorf

pankow spandau mitte

charlottenburgwilmersdorf

lichtenberg

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friedrichshainkreuzberg tempelhofschöneberg

steglitzzehlendorf

neukölln

treptow-köpenick

The first chapter provides the background upon which new ideas can be developed for the revitalising of the reference area of this work, the Postblock. The focus is on the already existing potentials of the site, both physical and social. Through new interventions, the aim is to enhance and reinterpret the inherent, unique and even most peculiar potentials – the poetry of the site. The area will be first presented in its urban context and in the light of history, in order to look at its potentials and how they could be unfolded and nourished by new urban developments. We will dive into history for two main reasons: On the one hand, to look behind the traces of past times that are present all over the area. And on the other hand, to emphasise the rapid sequence of changes the place has gone through during the last century, and therefore to understand the urban condition as a process that is subject to change. The idea of constant change and uncertainty in an urban situation posits a challenge when creating new designs for such areas. In the present economic conditions and uncertain expectations for the future, a conventional design approach that results in a fixed, predefined product, would not be a satisfying or realistic way to revitalise the area. As an alternative, the proposal presented in the end of the work, will focus on the potentials offered by temporary usage.

1 The Site in its Urban Context

11


ALEXANDERPLATZ

REICHSKANZLERAMT

TV TOWER

REICHSTAG

(PALAST DER REPUBLIK)

Empty lots

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BRANDENBURG GATE

The bicycle route

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PARISER PLATZ

Border between districts MUSEUM ISLAND

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Friedrichstraβe

THE HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL

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Leipziger Straβ

PHILHARMONIC HALL

LEIPZIGER PLATZ

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MINISTRY OF FINANCE

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GALLERY HUB

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MITTE

TOPOGRAPHY OF TERROR

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CHECKPOINT CHARLIE

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BERLINISCHE GALERIE

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1 The Site in its Urban Context

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[1.0 A Bicycle Tour through the Backyards of Berlin] (January 2006) One of the first tasks after coming to Berlin was to find myself a bike. Now, almost every day I cycle around the city in the grey winter weather. From my apartment in Kreuzberg to the studio in Mitte, I always take a little different route. Moving by bike one perceives the strange spatial rythm of Berlin, that cannot be described in terms of traditional urban planning principles. It is a chaos full of surprises; a mixture of detached particles that do not follow a clear hierarchy. This morning, my bicycle tour starts at Görlizer Bahnhof, Kreuzberg. The U1 line travels here along Skalitzer straβe, and the rail tracks above the street level belong to the first U-bahn in Berlin. My starting point at the crossing of Skalitzer and Oranienstraβe is marked by an empty lot. The land has been taken into use as a children’s playground, and the wall of the neighboring building has been painted with a large image with bright colors. Here starts Oranienstraβe, one of my favourite streets in Berlin. The streetscape is colourful and slightly chaotic. The wide range of merchandise reveals the concrete content of the everyday life of the inhabitants - and also the range of nationalities that live here. There are German bakeries, Turkish shops for vegetables, cheese and spices, Arabic fast food, Turkish Imbiss (=snackbar), Indian restaurants, sushi bars, Spielhäuser. There are also cosy cafes that turn into bars at night, a small film theater, newspaper stands, several bookshops, antique markets with selected vintage items, young fashion designer shops and a great selection of shoe stores. The lively and intense street continues until Moritzplatz, where the streetscape changes abruptly into something more quiet and open. In the middle of the roundabout there is a melancholic field of grass with an U-bahn sign (without entrance). At one corner there is another 1 The Site in its Urban Context

empty lot, occupied by a car repair shop and a parking lot. At the other side there is a strange collage with a brutal concrete office block, a pre-war building and some more one-story high car sales with several advertisement posts and a yellow fast food stand “Imbiss am Moritzplatz”. Further along Oranienstraβe, quiet housing blocks from different post-war eras are standing, as examples of the planning in West Berlin. Southwest of Oranienstraβe the area is filled with housing projects from 1980’s built for the Internationale Bauausstellung of 1987. The street level is quiet except for some discount grocery shops.

rise blocks at Leipziger Straβe.

I take a turn right to follow the line of Berlin Wall which is marked in the street by a double line of cobblestones. I am coming from Kreuzberg, which used to be part of West Berlin when the city was divided. An area enclosed as a pocket, a dead-end surrounded by the Wall, it became a cheap district populated by immigrants and artists, and still has its characteristic status. At this point the scenery starts to be even more broken and fragmented. There is a small empty lot between two houses, a children’s playground. Along Dresdener Straβe I see a wide empty site, a field of grass which is for sale. There are some more contemporary housing estates surrounding the site. The site is fenced; however, some people are walking their dogs on the grass.

I take a loop to the former east side of Berlin. The rest of Neue Grünstraβe transforms into a tight, enclosed street space again. I end up at the Spreekanal and turn left to Wallstraβe. I can already hear the noise of traffic, and soon will find myself at Spittelmarkt, where the Leipziger Straβe “highway” begins. There is a large building site on the other side of the crossing. Along this street there were large scale demolitions in the in the 1960’s times of car-oriented planning when the street was made wider. At the moment I’m facing the high rise residential blocks that I earlier saw from a distance. On the left side, facing the apartment blocks, there is a replica of the “Spittelkolonnaden” dating from 1776 and destroyed in the Second World War. My attention is drawn towards a very clearly defined empty space in the middle of two buildings at Krausenstraβe. It is marked by a wooden fence covered all over with posters. The wall is too high for me to see what is behind it, but the view offers an interesting collage: in the foreground the colourful posters, combined with walls of old and new buildings, old grey and brown plastering, grids of windows, some strange repair work, and at the background a glass facade reflecting the sky.

At Neue Grünstraβe there is a chain of unoccupied lots. A big sign indicates some of them are for sale. There is a freestanding new apartment house - a developer has run out of money to complete the master plan? The scene is characterized by different types of fences, and colourful advertisement posters glued on them. Someone has written a statement on the fence with big red letters made of ripped textile: “NO ROLE MODELS”. The wide openness of the space enables views to other parts of Berlin, giving a good sense of orientation. I can see the TV-tower at Alexanderplatz, the former centre of East Berlin, and the 1970’s high-

I decide to continue further southwards. I cross Zimmerstraβe, along which the Wall used to go, and which nowadays marks the official line between Kreuzberg and Mitte districts. The area has a tradition as Berlin’s newspaper and press district, the “Zeitungsviertel”, which is marked by the Axel Springer Verlag publishing company’s high rise. It was built here in 1966 - at the time when all other Berlin companies were resettling in West Germany. Together with the nearby GWS high-rise recently extended by Sauerbruch + Hutton architects, and the Leipziger Straβe residential blocks, these high rise buildings act as exceptions in Berlin’s 13


generally flat urban structure, and create a conversation with other landmarks. As landmarks, their appearance is enhanced by the openness provided here and there by the unconstructed lots. At Junkerstraβe, there are two adjacent unconstructed lots. The other has been transformed into a basketball ground - two boys are playing there. The other site is fenced as a building site, but actually looks more like a playground. Behind the row of newly built housing blocks eight stories high, the Axel Springer high rise reminds me of its existence. On the other side of the Lindenstraβe street I would find three museums: the Jewish museum, the Berlinische Galerie contemporary art museum and the Berlin Museum. However, I continue to Besselstraβe to find another empty lot. It is fenced, again with posters. Behind, I see an interesting sculptural housing block from 1980s with an anthropomorphic facade and an atelier tower, the “Wohnanlage mit Atelierturm”. It was designed by John Hejduk and Moritz Müller in 198688, another example of West Berlin housing developments at the time of the Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA). The collage is supplemented by the GWS tower at the background, the facade of which is pixelated with a combination of curtains in different shades of red. Behind the next block runs Friedrichstraβe, well known as one of the luxury shopping streets in Berlin. The luxuries are not shown yet at this part of the street as we are still in Kreuzberg - on the contrary, there is another empty corner, used as a parking lot. In the corner there’s a Turkish Imbiss. I recall seeing pictures taken of the same site three years ago, and the same Imbiss was already there. 14

Two blocks north, I will again cross the border of Kreuzberg and Mitte, and find myself at ”Checkpoint Charlie”, which used to be the border crossing point for foreigners at the time of the Berlin Wall. The street is suddenly crowded with tourists. The adjacent blocks are filled with residential buildings designed in the 1980’s by the world’s architectural elite: among others Peter Eisenman, OMA, and Renzo Piano. At Zimmerstraβe, the two corners on both sides of Friedrichstraβe are still empty. They used to be occupied by the border crossing infrastructure and are still under a controversial discourse. The memory of the Berlin Wall here reaches rather banal dimensions: next to the replica of a border control hut the history of the site is shown in the names of fast food restaurants such as “Snack Point Charlie” and souvenir items in Russian and GDR style are sold at every corner. From here on, Friedrichstraβe continues as one of the most famous luxury shopping streets in Berlin. One kilometre north, it will meet Unter den Linden where Berlin’s Wilhelminian history is still present. Along Friedrichstraβe there are signs of Rolex, Audi, Galeries Lafayette, Gucci, etc. However, not very many options are being offered for a vibrant street life: the customers are suggested to dive into the world of commodities inside the shopping malls. The traffic is so busy that I have to walk the bike. At this time of the year, Glühwein is sold here together with Berliner Currywurst in “traditional” style Christmas decorated wooden huts.

advertisements: there seems to be a great amount of empty office space remaining in the new blocks. And as the heaviest years of the building boom have already passed, the building activity is slowed down and there are still some empty corners remaining. I take a turn back to Zimmerstraβe. Towards the West, I would reach another important art museum: Martin Gropius Bau, and further on the Kulturforum with Hans Scharoun’s library and philharmonic hall. In the horizon, I can see the new towers of Potsdamer Platz, that have risen here in recent decades as the landmarks of the New Berlin. Here on Zimmerstraβe, one of Berlin’s most important contemporary art gallery complexes has developed after the fall of the Wall. One small gallery, on the former ”west” side of the street, was started by artist Peter Unsicker already when the wall still stood here, one meter from the gallery window. Standing in the corner of Wilhelm- and Zimmerstraβe, I find myself again accompanied with a group of tourists. Here starts the Topography of Terror, an exhibition with one of the preserved parts of the Berlin Wall. But my attention is drawn towards the opposite corner of the crossing: again a large empty site, fenced with a wall with thick bushes blocking my view. A narrow brick building looking like a slice cut out from something, stands there in the middle. I have seen this place before, but now a text has appeared on the wall: big letters stating: ”UMVERTEILEN – LUXUS FÜR ALLE!”. Well, here we are: Welcome to the Postblock.

During the post-wall years, these blocks have been rapidly filled up with office blocks. Apart from Friedrichstraβe, I can see no people on the streets. Many of the dull office facades are filled with rental 1 The Site in its Urban Context


Unbuilt lots, 2006

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15


1.1 The Postblock: an Overview

Panoramic view from north towards Zimmerstraβe, 05.12.2005

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The Postblock and its surroundings, 1: 5000

4

2

5

1

8 9 7

10

There is no other metropolis in Europe whose past is separated by such an unbridgeable chasm from its present, as may be felt in Berlin. -- Ever since (the 1930s) Berlin has lived a different time zone, with its own reckoning of time. The city became a victim, in rapid succession, to a series of forced interventions, any one of which would have been sufficient to turn the life of its inhabitants upside down. -- The myth of Berlin is fed by the sensation, felt nowhere else, that here one exists simultaneously on several planes of time. The planes are quite separated, but still closely adhere to each other. “ László F. Földényi 1

1 The Site in its Urban Context

The Postblock is an example of the open leftover areas – residual spaces – that still today personify the image of Berlin. The surrounding area is characterised by the excess of these open gaps in the urban fabric and other fragmentary traces of history. Many of the main landmarks of Berlin’s political history – the Potsdamer Platz, Checkpoint Charlie and remains of the former Berlin Wall – are situated in the vicinity. Due to its proximity to the main administration areas, this area was a major target for the bombings in the Second World War and therefore faced extensive damage. Large parts of the Postblock have remained unconstructed since the damages of the war. At the same time, the results of the 1990’s building boom that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall are evident in the surroundings. The area is therefore like a collage of a miniature Berlin, where several

11

3

6

layers of history are present. These layers remind us of the rapid changes this place and the city have gone through. The block is situated in the central area of Berlin, at the border of Mitte and Kreuzberg districts. It is outlined by the streets Wilhelmstraβe, Zimmerstraβe, Leipzigerstraβe and Mauerstraβe. The origins of the area as an urban settlement date back to the 18th century; also the original name of the area, Friedrichstadt, will be used in this work. The name Postblock refers to the old General Post Office building, standing at the crossing of Leipziger Straβe and Mauerstraβe. Built in the late 19th century, it is one of the oldest buildings still surviving on the site and an example of the Wilhelminian neo renaissance. Throughout this work, some of these characteristic buildings will be 17


introduced as examples that carry eventful stories and are linked to many of the topics discussed. For example, the former power plant “E-Werk” has undergone major changes from an industrial monument, into an underground music arena and to an office building. Another, nowadays famous gallery building Zimmerstraβe 89-91, has once housed a popular ballroom – later an arena for Hitler’s propaganda speeches and one of the deportation camps of the World War II. 2 The current face of the Postblock and its surroundings is like a text that tells one version of the story of Berlin. The historical layers around the site show traces of a baroque street structure, Berlin’s industrial development and rapid growth into metropolis, times of the Weimar republic’s cultural heart, the Nazi regime, war destruction, memorials of the cold war and the Berlin Wall, examples of both West and East German city planning between 1960’s and 1980’s, the outburst of Berlin’s art and music culture following the city’s reunification – and finally, the results of the rapid building boom of the 1990s that has now stagnated. Today’s Berlin is a fragmented city that has multiple identities and many different centres. The views around the Postblock are characteristic to the urban landscape of Berlin: a collage of contrasting and detached elements. The spatial rhythm is created by dense urban areas, inner peripheries, sudden breaks, voids and inconsistencies. This chaotic mixture does not follow any hierarchy but produces a sense of freedom. In my opinion, however, the contrasts and unfinished imperfect qualities are quite the things that make Berlin unique. The fragmented nature of the city has been a controversial topic in relation to Berlin’s renewal plans after Germany’s unification – the policy of restoring the compact 19th century city structure has led to developer-driven, monotonous architecture that, according to many critics, does not reflect the city’s identity. Architect Oswald Matthias Ungers, among other critical voices, has discussed the fragmentary character of Berlin and suggested that this quality could be seen as a source for architectural interventions as well. Berlin’s history indeed shows the 18

instability and the unfinished state of a city, which could be accepted by architecture and planning, instead of aiming at completed and fixed results. 3 Today’s economic stagnation and uncertainty about the city’s official identity could be considered as an opportunity to rethink the strategies of urban design and architectural planning. Later in this work we will focus on the new potential provided by the urban residual areas. Through informal but organised temporary uses and events, many of these places have been turned into successful public environments that have laid a positive impact on the city’s image.

1 A temporary hot-air balloon

The diversity and variety which are manifest in the historical quarters of the city are what give Berlin its individual character and reflect the quality of its urban design. It is a city in which opposing elements have always articulated themselves and which has never been successful in its attempts to achieve a single standardising principle.” Oswald Matthias Ungers et al.4 5 The “E-Werk”

9 1 The Site in its Urban Context


2 The Museum of Communication, former General Post Office

3

6 Checkpoint Charlie

7

10 View Between the Finance Ministry (former Aviation Mistry) and the Topography of Terror 1 The Site in its Urban Context

4 The new Potsdamer and Leipziger Platz

8

11 Residential block from the 1980s, part of the Internationale Bauaustellung 19


1.2 Around the Block OBSERVATIONS 2005-2007

View towards Zimmerstraβe, 25.07.2005

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View towards Wilhelmstraβe, 29.01.2006

First impressions of the site My attention was drawn towards this particular site in the centre of Berlin when I had a chance to see it from a rooftop terrace. The following day I came back and decided this site would be the focus area of my master’s thesis. The core idea would be to use the Postblock as and example and find new ideas how to revitalise similar residual urban sites. I started this task basically from scratch, by looking at the place and trying to trace the potentials underlying the present ghost-like appearance. The important question in order to define the aims of a new strategy would be: What does the place need? But before even being able to ask this, I should start with the primary question: What is the place? What are the sources of its identity? How could these existing qualities be developed in a positive way? During the first visit to the Postblock in July 2005, I was 1 The Site in its Urban Context

struck by the strange appearance of this forgotten area in the middle of the central business and administration district of Berlin. I was surprised by the large size of the empty areas splitting this block, and the strange outlines of the existing built structure – a collage of different parts dating from several past eras. From above, I could also note that in the close surroundings of the block there are still plenty of equivalent urban voids. At the street level perspective this area feels much denser than what it looks like from above. With tourists and sightseeing buses milling around it, the abandoned block seemed very absurd in the first place. The collage-like outlines of the existing built structures created an enigmatic, inspiring atmosphere. One could sense a presence of absence in the leftover land and the fragments around it, which strongly insinuated some concealed and forgotten stories.

The site is a living example of the contrasts and unfinished, imperfect qualities that make Berlin unique in comparison to many other European cities. These qualities have fascinated and inspired many artists, writers, film makers and also architects who find their way to Berlin.

(Architecture was interpreted as) a vital way of penetrating into a mysterious, historically generated environment, made of multiple layers, with its own precise character.” “It is always the discovery of the genius loci, from which it derives.” Oswald Matthias Ungers 5 21


Observations between July 2005 – January 2006 The corner of Wilhelmstraβe and Zimmerstraβe is surrounded by lightweight steel mesh fences, where a constantly changing set of advertisement posters is presented. These posters bring characteristic colour spots to the street façade of Berlin. The fences are in many parts taken over by thick bushes, therefore a passer-by walking at the streets would not see much of the inside without a small effort. The southwest corner of the block seems to be used as a temporary storage for different unused items: grey steel kiosks and large, rectangular concrete objects numbered with yellow tape. The northwest part of the block facing Leipziger Straβe is a parking lot, used by the adjacent office and administration workers. There were fences, strange electric appliances, leftover materials from a recently demolished service building, unused kiosks standing and waiting for something. Tags and signs on the walls, footsteps on the snow. Most intriguing to me was an extremely narrow brick building standing there lonely. The windows were broken so that one could see the old wallpapers inside. On the doorstep there stood a pair of shoes. And on the other side of the street, the Finance ministry, with office workers in their suits carrying briefcases. At the next corner, American 22

tourists looking at the remains of the Berlin Wall. Next to the entrance of E-Werk, a free-standing, extraordinarily narrow brick building catches my eye. It is like a slice of the previous courtyard block structure that existed here before the Second World War. It is high enough to be seen from the street, behind the fences. This quality has been spotted by someone with a message: a slogan has been painted on the façade, the huge letters corresponding to the size of the windows: “UMVERTEILEN. LUXUS FÜR ALLE!” It is a political slogan that claims a new deal, a reorganisation of the capital and luxury for all. The political context of the area seems to be still here. This text, the realisation of which has required some effort, indicates some independent activity on the site during my investigations.

Berlin is not a poetic city in the lyrical sense. - - The city has more than its share of limping and broken history. - - Its poetry, its ability therefore to offer a penetrative insight into reality, lies in its very hardness.” Doug Clelland 6

Another wall clearly visible to the street marks off the empty area. A large wall painting fills the closed firewall surface, and it also seems to be a well planned activity. On the street level of the same façade, there is a selection of small drawings and tags, with a faster changing circle. Someone has written: “Baut die Mauer wieder an” – rebuild the wall. 1 The Site in its Urban Context


Materials from the site and its surroundings

1 The Site in its Urban Context

23


the narrow building: details, 29/01/2006

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1.3 At the Crossroads of Historical Change

A Brief History of the Postblock Between July 2005 and July 2006 I had the chance to observe a number of small scale changes at the site – demolitions, renovation and slogans appearing on the walls of unused buildings. These events create an idea of the site as a constantly changing organism, to which different users with different aims intervene, the effects of which are of varying scales. After facing drastic changes in its history, the present condition of the block could be considered as a lethargic state. Certainly there will be again more dramatic changes to come – and the final task in the work is to suggest guidelines for that. Since its founding in the late 18th century, the Postblock has been at the crossroads of the major ruptures and turning points of Berlin’s history, which also reflect the big events in recent world history. Different ideologies and utopias have passed through history, transforming the identity and role of the site in the urban fabric. The resulting urban landscape is symbolic to the issue of continuous destructing and rebuilding the city during the 20th century. As the author Brian Hatton put it, the speed of history has been so fast that “the ruins have barely kept pace with the rate of ideological displacement”. 7 1 The Site in its Urban Context

Berlin’s architectural and urbanist discourse has always been connected to ideological issues. The recent past forms a dialectic pattern: new generations and ideologies have followed each other, concerned in denying the previous ones and becoming something else. In this city, more than elsewhere, architecture has become labelled as a symbol of power and control. Architecture has been used as a tool for representing power of the regime and images that have been chosen as appropriate for each period. During Berlin’s past where more or less totalitarian administrations have followed each other, however, a strong culture of resistance has also developed. Beside the ruling forces and official acts, the grass root level actors have laid a characteristic impact on the city. 8 Let us now look at the storylines of the Postblock. They can be read as a sequence of juxtapositions: power and resistance, demolition and renewal, control and freedom, tragic cruelty and the flourishing of culture.

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The Postblock under Transformation

26

1748

1856

1898

FROM THE PLAN “NORD-SÜD ACHSE” BY ALBERT SPEER, 1938 (NOT REALISED)

1940

blue: war destruction black: structures survived the war

1945-89 red: new realisations grey: berlin wall zone

1990- 2005 blue: demolition red: renovation

july 2005

january 2006

1 The Site in its Urban Context


Map of Berlin in 1789

1. On the Edge of a growing city The Postblock belongs to the district of southern Friedrichstadt that was built during 1732-38 as a second suburb of the city. In the area, the most important urban elements and the baroque street structure are still visible. In the 18th century, three public plazas were designed as gateways to the new city inside the walls. The plazas currently known as Pariser Platz, Leipziger Platz and Mehringplatz were named according to their shape: the Quarré, the Achteck and the Rondel. They were connected with great avenues, today’s Unter den Linden, Friedrichstraβe and Leipziger Straβe. Today, the roots of Friedrichstadt are also reflected in another way worthy of mention: they refer to Berlin’s traditions as a city of migrants and a culturally innovative city. Friedrichstadt represented in physical form a policy of toleration carried out by its founder, Friedrich Wilhelm. The atmosphere of early Friedrichstadt was described as one of “happy prosperity”. This image was based on three civic conditions: the rise in industrial production and economic achievement following the 1 The Site in its Urban Context

population growth after the 30 years war, the liberty of conscience enjoyed by the residents and the availability of houses for all newcomers. Therefore, Berlin gained a reputation of welcoming outsiders, which contributed greatly to the economic and demographic growth of this relatively small town. 9 The Postblock was situated right between old and new city walls, on the edge of the new city structure. It was one of the large, irregularly shaped blocks typical for southern Friedrichstadt, different from the grid of small blocks common to the earlier, northern part of the district. Inside the built block, a large courtyard was used for domestic allotments.10

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History of Ruptures: Destruction and Rebuilding

Blasting of the Schloss, 1950

Assault towards the ‘Zeughaus’, 1848

September 1933

Rebuilding in Wedding, 1977

Demolition of HItler’s Reich Chancellery, 1950

Demolition of the Berlin Wall at Bernauer Straβe, 1990

Demolition of the Palace of Republic, 2006

Demolition of the Lenin Memorial, 1991

Rebuilding of Leipziger Platz, 21.02.2006

Marshall aid, 1950s

1 The Site in its Urban Context

28 Die Zeit, 21.12.1996


Map, 1899

Potsdamer Platz in 1930

‘Die Mutter’ by Otto Freundlich, 1921

2. In the heart of a decadent metropolis During the 19th century, due to rapid industrialisation, Berlin grew explosively from a rather small town of little international importance into a significant European metropolis – a dense and overbuilt city. Berlin’s growth did not follow a concentric circle pattern but expanded to small villages and towns. In 1920, the surrounding villages were unified into “Great Berlin”, a city that did not have a homogenous image but consisted of many different views. After the unification, an area of forgotten land remained on the site of the previous city wall that had encircled the city, laying grounds for the non-centric and fragmented pattern of the city. This is evident in today’s Berlin – a fragmented city that consists of a network of different centres and has multiple identities. Towards 1900, the Postblock developed into a densely built courtyard structure subdivided into very small units. The densification had brought about a variety of uses besides the residential.

1 The Site in its Urban Context

A new city structure had developed east of Wilhelmstraβe, and industry had brought the railway to the city. The Potsdamer and Anhalter railway stations were situated nearby. Berlin had become important not only as a commercial and industrial city but also as a royal residence. A strip of governmental palaces had developed next to the Postblock, along Wilhelmstraβe. The Leipziger Platz and Potsdamer Platz were developing into a new commercial centre for the emerging metropolis: they were vibrant public spaces with tramways, horse carriages, new department stores and hotels.

talent, not dependent on strong traditions, nepotism or conventions. The bottom-up individualistic innovations arose from strong local networks, a climate of innovation and competition.11 During the years of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) Berlin also gained an international standing as a cultural centre, particularly famous for film, photomontage, socially critical theatre and jazz. Culture flourished particularly during the 1920s even though it was a time of unemployment, shortage, political instability and demonstrations. 12

The Zimmerstraβe and Kochstraβe streets next to the Postblock became known as the press district of Berlin, which was the centre of the German newspaper industry. According to Peter Hall, Berlin at times of industrial growth was an open society in which careers were open to people of

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The Target Area around 1940

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GDR’s ‘Haus der Ministerien’, 1953

The Reichsluftfartministerium by Ernst Sagebiel, 1938

Situation after the Second World War, 1945 The German Finance Ministry, 2005

3. The Political Arena

The map shows that Adolf Hitler’s residence, the headquarters of SS and the German security ministry were situated nearby the Postblock. Hitler’s private chancellery and several national socialistic newspaper presses were operating right at the Postblock. Hitler’s new Reich Chancellery was on Voβstraβe, north side of Leipziger platz. At the same site nowadays stands a 1970s residential building.

1 The Site in its Urban Context

During the Third Reich (1933-1945), the role of Friedrichstadt changed from a scene of a vibrant urban life into a playground for creating the new world capital, Germania. Important governmental institutions were situated in the neighbouring blocks, and the area became characterised by an atmosphere of limited access. Adolf Hitler, together with his architect Albert Speer, made monumental urban plans of extraordinary scale. Demolition of the Weimar Republic’s Berlin was started in many parts of the city – but the Second World War held back the realisation of the plans. One of the rare preserved examples of the Nazi Regime stands opposite the Postblock, on Wilhelmstraβe. The former Ministry of Aviation –

nicknamed as “Luftwaffe” – serves as a good example of architecture that was meant to represent power. The Ministry, designed by Ernst Sagebiel in 1935-36, was built on the site of the former palace of von Happe, the Prussian Minister of War. The Ministry survived the war destruction better than many other buildings in the area. After the Second World War, the fate of this reminder of Nazi history standing right on the border between the Soviet and American sectors, was at first very uncertain. Nevertheless, the building remained and has since then housed many different political ideologies. In 1949, East Germany was founded there. Until 1961, it served as GDR’s “House of Ministries”, and today it houses the German Finance Ministry. 13

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The Target Area around 1953 + the Berlin Wall 1961-1989

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�

In the decades of division, Berlin was the scene of ambitious competition between two systems in terms of architecture and urban development. The two politically competing systems had some things in common: deliberate destruction of the existing structure of streets and squares, demolition of historical buildings and changes to ownership.� Hans Stimmann15 Potsdamer Platz and the remains of the Schinkel town gates, 1946

4. An Island in the Archipelago The bombings of the Second World War by the Allied left behind a scarred and devastated city. Also the Postblock faced extensive damage. Large parts of the site have remained unused since the damages of the war. When Berlin was divided between the four conquering nations, the Postblock remained on the edge of the Russian territory, facing the American sector on its southern side. The resulting urban landscape resembled more an archipelago of floating islands than a dense city. As it was the case in many other cities destroyed by the war, the modernist movement considered this an ideal situation, a tabula rasa that is open for an entirely new beginning. Many competitions were arranged and large scale designs were made in the 1950’s for a Berlin with a new identity. In many of these designs, almost no relation to the past was left. Berlin was to be transformed into a new city appropriate to the new political colours, the age of new technology and car traffic. However, little large-scale realisations were carried out. 14

1 The Site in its Urban Context

The Columbus Haus and Potsdamer Platz, April 1951

Construction of the Berlin Wall next to the Postblock, November 1961

US soldiers passing the former Gestapo Headquarters, 1945

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Peter lives beside the Wall on Zimmerstraβe, near Checkpoint Charlie, close to the old flashpoint. What’s left on the street on the Western side is the metre of Eastern territory that is the pavement, so by the Wall here is a dark alley between the Wall and the short bomb-remaindered row of tall crumbling houses, in one of which Peter lives. His front door is in the West, but the path in front of it is in the East. He is a sculptor.” “Once it was quiet here along the narrow alley, but the tourists are suddenly too many, and too many of them with chisels pecking at the Wall, by day breaking into his quiet and at night into his sleep.” Ken Smith16

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The Wall on Zimmerstraβe in front of the ‘Wall Street Gallery’

The Checkpoint Charlie border crossing point, 1970

5. Dead End Streets by the Berlin Wall In 1961, the historic centre was split by the Berlin Wall. Large areas were demolished to make way for this construction that consisted of an inner and outer concrete wall and a border surveillance zone – the so-called “death strip” – in between. Also the entire Potsdamer Platz and Leipziger Platz, the former heart of the city, was wiped out. The Postblock remained on the edge of East Berlin territory, and the south part of the block was taken under the “death strip” zone. The Wall went along Zimmerstraβe that today marks the boundary between the two districts of Mitte and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. The surrounding areas on both sides of the Wall became a backyard – a deliberately forgotten area on the edge of the two Berlins. It was far from both the new centres of East and West, the Alexanderplatz and Kurfürstendamm. Most of the area was left unmaintained and access to the area was limited. In late 1960s and 1970s, Leipziger Straβe saw the new realities of GDR socialist planning, when the street was widened up for heavier car traffic and new building blocks were constructed. 17

1 The Site in its Urban Context

The crossing of Zimmer- and Friedrichstraβe became known as Checkpoint Charlie, the border crossing point for foreigners between East and West Berlin. It became one of Berlin’s most emblematic places of the Cold War, with a wide international interest. Today it is crowded with tourists. The memory of the Berlin Wall here reaches rather banal dimensions: next to the replica of a border control hut the history of the site shows in the names of fast food restaurants such as “Snack Point Charlie”. Souvenir items in Soviet and GDR style are sold at every corner.

Bauausstellung (IBA) in 1987, Berlin’s 700th anniversary. The area south of Postblock is filled with 1980’s residential blocks designed by the world’s architectural elite: among others Peter Eisenman, OMA, and Renzo Piano. The quarter facing the Postblock, is based on a competition held in 1982, won by the Spanish architects Bohigas, Martorell and Mackay. The part along Zimmerstraβe was designed by Joachim and Margot Schürmann and realised in 1989-92.18

Another famous memorial of the city’s division – the “Topography of Terror” exhibition – stands at the other end of Zimmerstraβe, at the site of the former Gestapo headquarters. It is one of the few preserved parts of the former Berlin Wall, most traces of which were immediately destroyed after the reunification.

Other parts of the Kreuzberg district became emblematic for West Berlin as a “free zone”. As a dead end area in the presence of the wall, it became a disfavoured and cheap district populated by artist, rebels and foreigners. From the 1960s to the 1980s, it was known as a site of leftist political activism, including the squatter movement and other forms of spatial appropriation.19

On the West side of the Wall, the border area remained in reserve until late 1970s, when new plans and international competitions for housing blocks were started. The blocks became part of the Internationale

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The 1990s Growth expectations after the German reunification led to a building boom and developer driven urbanism Blue: new buildings 1989-2001

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The famous Wertheim Department store at Leipziger Platz, 1908

Club Tresor at Leipziger Straβe, 1991-2005

Building site, December 2005

Buildings of the new Leipziger Platz, December 2007

6. Underground culture vs. gentrification 20

Leipziger Platz, 1990

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Following the demolition of the Berlin Wall in 1989 a new art and music scene developed near the Postblock. Several spontaneous art galleries appeared on Zimmerstraβe, and until now the street has established a reputation as a noteworthy gallery location. The proximity to the former Wall and the Checkpoint Charlie border crossing point gave a special stamp on the location, and a number of underground music clubs came up in the vicinity. The club E-Werk took over the former transformer station in the Postblock. In the neighbouring blocks, several other clubs were founded. The most of them was the Tresor situated in the former bank vaults of the Wertheim department store at the corner of Leipziger Platz. It became almost an established institution, continued from 1991 until summer 2005 when the site was sold for an insurance company. The rapid building boom and gentrification of the area in the 1990s caused most of these independent activities to move into other districts.

The Postblock is now one of the last remaining unconstructed lots in an area that became a target of the optimistic building boom in Berlin following the fall of the Wall. We can already see the results of the “first wave” of reconstruction, characterised by developer-driven and mono-functional property developments. Potsdamer Platz has been brought back on the map as a contemporary shopping mall and a high-rise symbol for the “New Berlin”. New high class shopping arcades have been sprinkled along Friedrichstraβe. Today, the economic crisis and collapsed property markets have led to a slow down and virtual standstill in property development – therefore some of the open corners still remain waiting. The area close to the Postblock is again symbolic of Berlin’s situation. It shows juxtaposition between new constructions and residual areas. 21

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The past events on Postblock show its traditions in residential and mixed uses, cultural programs, merchandise, media, allotments and independent temporary appropriation of space. All together, a mixture of activities creating a lively atmosphere. On the other hand, later political events lead to the construction of the Wall, turning the area into a backyard, a fenced and frozen area which it still seems to be despite its central location. The present program of the surrounding area is very monotonous – consisting mainly of offices and shopping – and thus addresses only a limited group of people, although in the multicultural Berlin, extremely mixed user groups exist. The following two chapters will provide more insight into the phenomenon of temporary use and questions of contemporary public space. After that, the last chapter will take us back on the Postblock and present new ideas for its future developments.

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References, Chapter 1

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1

Földenyi 2000, p.74-81

14

Stimmann 2002, p.19-20; Balfour 1990

2

Wörner et al. 1997; Meuser & Stimmann 2002; Florentine 2005; Senatsverwaltung 2005

3

Oswalt 1998; Ungers & Ungers 1982, p. 70-73

15

Stimmann 2002 Hans Stimmann is the Senate building director for the Senate of Urban Development, Berlin

4

Ungers et al. 1978

16

Smith 2001, p.41

5

Ungers 1982, p. 75

17

Balfour 1990, p.230; Strieder 1997 Interview, Udo Dittfürth

6

Clelland 1983, p. 6

18

Wörner et al. 1997

7

Hatton 1991, p.102-103

19

Lachmayer 1982, p.78-79; Schöning 1982, p.82-83

8

Huber & Stern 2005, p. 24; Balfour 1990; Clelland 1983, p. 6

9

Leatherbarrow 1983, p. 22-31 Numbers of Berlin’s early demogrphic growth: 1648, 6000 -> 1713, 60 000 -> 1737, 81 000 -> 1825, 220 000

10

Balfour 1990; Roters 1982; Senatsverwaltung 2005

11

Hall 1999, p. 40-41

20

Gentrification, or urban gentrification, is a term applied to the part of the urban housing cycle in which physically deteriorated neighborhoods attract an influx of investment and undergo physical renovation and an increase in property market values. In many cases, the lower-income residents who occupied the neighborhood prior to its renovation can no longer afford properties there. (Wikipedia)

12

Roters 1982, p.13-20; Clelland 1983, p.12

13

Wörner et al. 1997; Cramer 2003, p. 20-23; http://www. bundesrat.de/schaufenster/en/detlevrohwedderhaus.html

21

Oswalt 1998; Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung 2007, p.143-146 Interview, Helge Weiser

http: //www.tresorberlin.com/club/info.html

39


People growing vegetables in the Tiergarten park after the Second World War 40

2 Residual Space and Temporary Use


2. Residual Space and Temporary Use �

Berlin has experienced the fall of four German states in this century. The times of radical change, the destruction of war, the weak economy and unresolved ownership questions often led to spontaneous appropriations and activities, which stood out on account of their lack of financial resources and high degree of creativity. Such activities are unstable and transitory, and have an extremely flexible reaction to any change in the general conditions. They have helped to shape the specific urbanity of the city.

Badeschiff, a floating swimming pool made of an old cargo boat in Kreuzberg, Berlin

Philipp Oswalt 1

In the previous chapter, the role of the Postblock was interpreted in the light of history. We saw how different ideologies and administrations have followed each other, wiping over the area in a dramatic way. Berlin’s unique history has led to a situation where even the city centre is scattered by open spaces, waiting for future development. The evolving of urban residual spaces has in the recent decades been a widespread phenomenon also outside Berlin: similar tendencies have emerged in many European cities that are undergoing changes in politics, economy and infrastructure 2. Sociologist Peter Arlt has pointed out that the effects of self-organised projects are particularly significant in Eastern Europe, where major urban transformations have been on the agenda. In these areas, the state of constant change has become a part of normal urban development. Abandoned areas have turned into important scenes of urban transformation and evolved into intensively used public and semi-public spaces, through the emerging unplanned temporary uses. Thus the self initiated temporary uses represent a new form of public space 2 Residual Space and Temporary Use

created by the public itself. 3 In the recent urban developments in Berlin, the temporary, self-organised uses of residual spaces have had a significant, characteristic impact on the city. Temporary uses are most often started by private sector players or culture-relates organizations; the term covers a variety of activities from art to entertainment and start-up businesses. However, the broader impact on the urban level is particularly in the dynamic development of the identity and image of urban areas. The bottom-up temporary projects represent a new form of a flexible, tactical urban development that has a potential to complement the framework of more traditional urban planning policies. It has become clear that the gaps related to slow urban planning processes should be filled, in which cases temporary use can be a fruitful solution. Projects regarded as temporary can be started more quickly and thus put a start on the development of an area, while large scale projects are still being prepared.4

adopting the strategies of temporary uses and projectbased development into its municipal policies. In many other European urban areas, however, the temporary uses are still often an underused resource or even contradictory to current practices of planning and urban management.5 This chapter aims to address this question and point out ways of how these potentials could be integrated into urban planning policies – seen not as threat but as possibilities. In addition, we will provide examples of temporary uses and study the socio-economic potentials and long-term effects related to use of urban residual spaces in Berlin and other cities. Background on similar themes will be also provided in relation to Helsinki. Main sources for this chapter are recent European research projects Urban Catalyst and Decomb, writings and interviews of the Berlin-based architect Philipp Oswalt, and the doctoral thesis of architect Panu Lehtovuori, who has carried out research about the production of space through events in Helsinki and other European cities.

Recently, Berlin has shown a pioneering example of 41


Use of the Tiergarten park for growing vegetables after the Second World War

Lychener Straβe 60 in 1999: alternative lifestyles Club culture of the 1990s: The “E-Werk”

The “Polish Markets” in Potsdamer Platz, early 1990s

The Badeschiff, 2000s

A beach by the river Spree in Mitte, 2000s

People living in caravans, Volkspark Friedrichshain, 2006

42

In August 1961, a few days before the erection of the Berlin Wall, 1500 people fled through the fences from East Berlin 2 Residual Space and Temporary Use


2.1. Culture of the Temporary in Berlin

One of the enchantments of Berlin is its ability to always surprise. You enter a cosy, quiet restaurant, with second hand armchairs laid on the sidewalk – and at the back of the space you follow people passing through a hole in the floor, down to the shabby basement where a jazz band is playing. After a moment, you get back upstairs and find people dancing on the tables. At another basement vault that you enter through a labyrinth of courtyards, there is music playing with a distant sound through the pipes of the heating system. Down by the river there is a base of an old cargo boat, transformed into a swimming pool, beside a sandy beach on the shore, facing the industrial ruins and new MTV headquarters at the other bank of the river. Walking in one of the large, traditional Volksparks you find a group of people living in caravans. At another pocket park on the edge of a residential area, in the middle of the day, a big white llama walks towards you, eating a croissant, and continues its way to a circus tent hidden behind the bushes. As well as all the unanticipated events and experiences, the physical, also the built structure of the city is full of surprises, with its fragmented and chaotic character. As a consequence and side-effect of the historical ruptures and waves of destruction, temporary niches have evolved 2 Residual Space and Temporary Use

in Berlin’s urban structure, creating the peculiar openness that is still evident anywhere in the city. The historical events’ heritage for today is land on which to grow new innovative ideas. Thus, alongside the many leftover areas in Berlin, a certain “culture of the Temporary” has evolved: a tradition in alternative movements and subcultures as well as independent action, resistance and re-appropriation of space. Despite their unplanned and often seemingly grassroot nature, the temporary uses of residual spaces have had a significant contribution to Berlin’s status as an avant-garde city. 6 The culture of the Temporary has found different forms throughout the discontinuous history of Berlin. Architect and researcher Philipp Oswalt 7 has written extensively on the theme. In his words, Berlin has been “an urban laboratory for examining the residual”. Temporary cultures here are not only a recent phenomenon: they have emerged especially in transitional periods, as rapid responses to changing conditions or limited material resources. Oswalt points out some examples of this: the use of the Tiergarten public park for growing vegetables after the Second World War, the squatters’ movements, alternative lifestyles and alternative modes of housing that emerged especially in

West Berlin during the 1970s and 1980s, the so-called Polish Markets in Potsdamer Platz in the early 1990s and the recent gallery culture since the Millennium. 8 In these transitional periods, the Berliners have shown great capacity for an innovative use of space, where contradicting elements often encounter. Abandoned places are turned into new with limited means, using the inherent qualities of the old as a starting point – therefore also giving new, multidimensional meanings to the history of those places. One characteristic example, where the memories and aesthetics of the GDR history are shown in a new light, is the “Kunsthalle” art gallery, a former GDR supermarket in Chausseestraβe that has been turned into a place for exhibitions. 9 The large amount of surplus space makes Berlin an ideal incubator for new activities and creative milieus. Why all these spaces are still lying unused – nearly 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall – is for the most part a result of the economic stagnation: the potential land rents are too low to cover the development costs. In the current situation of Berlin, it is often more profitable for the site owner to allow temporary, controlled uses than no use, even with 43


In this city without style, without tradition, one was conscious above all of everyone’s sense that he or she was living in every way from day to day around a kind of zero. The strength and weakness of the Berliners was their feeling that they could begin a completely new kind of life – because they had nothing to begin from.” Stephen Spender 12

relatively low rents – otherwise the situation would often lead to a lack of maintenance or illegal use. Other reasons behind the frozen market are complex landownership after wartimes, land kept in reserve for long term planning options or the slow planning processes. As to the case of the Postblock, 90% of the site is owned by the state and 10% by the Jewish community. According to the town planning department, the site has been in reserve for administrational use, yet the future is unclear and no precise ideas for either use or funding exist for at least the next ten years. 10 In Germany’s post-unification years, also an atmosphere of freedom after long times of restrictions, has formed a fertile ground for new, undesignated activities in Berlin. The availability of workspace and the open climate have enabled people with talent but limited financial resources to try and test their ideas and form networks even with limited financial resources. Today, cheap rents attract people from abroad but also make it possible for young graduates to stay in the city even without lucrative paid employment. On the

44

other hand, the stagnation and unemployment has forced people to seek for new ways of doing and to utilise what is available. Therefore, the vacant residual spaces have been turned into incubators for new professionals and modes of public activity. Reacting to the most current situations in a creative way, the temporary use strategies are today’s form of the tradition of innovations in Berlin, which has its sources in the city’s early industrial past in the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The bottom-up individualistic innovations arise from strong local networks and an open climate of innovation – as was also the case in the early times of Berlin’s industrial growth. Using the terminology of the contemporary discourse around creative economy, Berlin’s current situation could be defined as the birth of creative industries, the temporary activities being a significant part of Berlin’s creative capital.11

2 Residual Space and Temporary Use


“Hexenkessel Hoftheater” in Mitte, Berlin

“Küchenmonument”, an inflatable kitchen and restaurant by Raumlabor Architects

Club Friseur at an old hairdresser’s shop nearby the Postblock, 1990’s Designers’ christmas market 2007 at St. Johannes-Evangelist-Kirche, Berlin

“Folding Box”, transportable space at the Designmai fair in Berlin, 2006 2 Residual Space and Temporary Use

“Zwischengrün” (Intermediate Green)

“To Japan”, 1999-2000, temporary installation in the patio at the gallery Asian Fine Arts, Berlin

the “Volkspalast” , interim use of the Palast der Republik in 2004 45


[The Case E-Werk]

In the previous chapter, the role of the Postblock was interpreted in the light of history. We saw how different ideologies and administrations have followed each other, wiping over the area in a dramatic way. Berlin’s unique history has led to a situation where even the city centre is scattered by open spaces, waiting for future development. The evolving of urban residual spaces has in the recent decades been a widespread phenomenon also outside Berlin: similar tendencies have emerged in many European cities that are undergoing changes in politics, economy and infrastructure. (Hentilä) These abandoned areas have turned into important scenes of urban transformation: numerous unplanned temporary uses have emerged and the areas have evolved into intensively used public and semi-public spaces. The new meanings of public space produced by temporary events, is indeed one of the most essential aspects in why these effects should be considered in vhe future development of cities. (La Varra, Christiaanse) In current practices of planning and urban management, the temporary uses are an underused resource despite the great potential they offer for “improving both social stabilization and competition capacity of urban regions.” (UC, Hentilä). Therefore, the aim of this work is to suggest how these potentials could be integrated into planning and urban management – seen not as threat but as possibilities. In this chapter, the socio-economic potentials and long-term effects of the temporary uses related to urban residual spaces in Berlin and other cities will be studied. Three main sources for this chapter are the European research “Urban Catalyst”, writings and interviews of the Berlin-based architect Philipp Oswalt, and the doctoral thesis of architect Panu Lehtovuori, who has carried out research about the production of space through events in Helsinki and other European 46The E-Werk building seen from Zimmerstraβe, 2006

2 Residual Space and Temporary Use


1886-1928: Enlarging the transformer station

1997, Don giovanni performed at E-Werk The “E-Werk” is one of the existing buildings at the Postblock, carrying a particularly interesting past. It has seen several changes and hybrid uses, and is therefore a characteristic example of also the changes that Berlin has gone through. It represents not only Berlin’s industrial history but is also one of the first examples of the emerging underground cultural scene that originated here, close to the remains of the Berlin Wall in the 1990s. The building has undergone several changes in use: from a block power plant to a transformer station, to ruins, a landmark, famous techno-club and most recently a high technology office and hybrid-use building. The “Buchhändlerhof” transformer station was built here in 1928, designed by the architect Hans-Heinrich Müller. The industrial brick architecture is characteristic for the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Berlin grew into an industrial city. Prior to that there had been a smaller power station dating from 1886. The building’s original name Buchhändlerhof (Booksellers’ courtyard) derived from a nearby yard where the Association of Berlin Booksellers headquarters used to be located. The entrance to the power station was from Wilhelmstraβe through that courtyard. The surrounding district was at that time famous as Berlin’s newspaper and press district. In the Second World War the building was seriously damaged and left in ruins. The ruins were situated directly adjacent to the Berlin Wall construction. Therefore, the previously central place remained a quiet and ghost-like backyard, and was deliberately ignored during the city’s division. The name used today, the E-Werk, obviously derives from the building’s origins as electricity plant but has also a more recent history. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the emerging music scene discovered that the old masonry building provided the perfect venue for its parties. A 2 Residual Space and Temporary Use

music venue called E-Werk was founded. It became one of the most famous techno clubs in Berlin and the whole Europe. Furthermore, the place gathered together professionals from different cultural areas: the E-Werk was one of the first techno clubs in post-unification Berlin where visual artists and musicians worked together. Also theatre and opera performances were arranged in these atmospheric industrial halls. The available space was transformed into a new location using minimal means: light, music and furniture. The cultural use of E-Werk continued from 1994 until 1997. An interesting curiosity in Berlin’s industrial history is, however, that also several other transformer stations by the same architect, Hans Heinrich Müller, have been recently reused as music clubs.

1994 - 1997, Club E-Werk

1997, Entrance at Wilhelmstraβe

In the post-unification euphoria, the area rapidly gained a reputation as a spot for new underground culture, due to the proximity to the former Berlin Wall and the Checkpoint Charlie border crossing point. Here were born a number of new music clubs that soon became world famous: ”Tresor” at the bank vaults of the former Wertheim department store, “Friseur”, “Elektro”, “Caipirinha Bar” and the original location of “WMF” – a club famous for its nomadic tactics of escaping the authorities by constantly changing its location. The E-werk ruins were later closed to the public and resold for refurbishment. The building was transformed into headquarters of a software company. The new design by Hoyer and Schindele architects consisted of both new additions and renovation work and was finished in summer 2005. Besides the new office use, different kinds of cultural events are still being held here in the large industrial halls, reflecting the building’s history of hybrid uses. Thus, the location has been given a permanent stamp by the temporary activities. 13 2005, The new entrance of SPM Technologies at Wilhelmstraβe 47


48Weekend flea market at the Treptow Arena, Berlin

2 Residual Space and Temporary Use


2.2 Characteristics of the Temporary Uses

They (the temporary uses) reprogram spaces that are closed down and lying waste. Transformer stations, bunkers, and coal stores are made into places of recreation, supermarkets and administrative offices are transformed into art galleries, factory buildings into apartments and cultural centres. Like in a surrealist collage, elements of opposite worlds meet. Living rooms become club rooms, the club scene merges with youth sport, art, or literature.” Philipp Oswalt

14

In Berlin, the culture of the Temporary has its roots in history, but since the 1980s, similar phenomena have become significant in many other European cities. In cities that are undergoing changes in politics, economy and infrastructure, abandoned areas turn into important scenes of urban transformation.15 Architect Panu Lehtovuori emphasizes in his doctoral thesis “Experience and Conflict” (2005), the potential of residual areas also in the cultural production of cities. As an example he uses the former Helsinki railway warehouses and former industrial locations in Manchester. 16

Characteristics and typologies

The characteristics and consequences of temporary uses have been recently investigated by the European research project Urban Catalyst. In the context of five European metropolitan areas – Amsterdam, Berlin, Helsinki, Naples 2 Residual Space and Temporary Use

and Vienna – the research discovered typologies related to youth culture, music, art, leisure, start-up businesses, underground and migrant cultures, social services and flea markets. These kinds of activities and groups often lack affordable spaces – a fact that is well known also in Helsinki. The types of temporary uses can vary a lot, but many common characteristics have been pointed out. The interim use of E-Werk and other examples described above, indicate many of these common features. The E-Werk represents a new mode of public activity produced through events. An organised but informal activity has caught a grip on a given situation, using the existing space in an unusual but meaningful way and giving it new meanings. A closed down place has been turned accessible: an intense public phenomenon has been created by a low-cost appropriation of space, using only limited financial and material resources, benefiting from the existing qualities of the space. Other common features applied here are inter-disciplinary networks, non-monetary exchange, programmatic experiment and a positive impact in the public image of the location. 17

An underused resource As the Urban Catalyst research suggests, the temporary uses are “an underused resource in activating residual areas and in improving both social stabilization and competition capacity of urban regions”. One noteworthy observation here is that in many cases of temporary use, extremely mixed types temporary uses can coexist at the same site.

This is a goal often set but seldom reached in many planned urban development projects. The temporary uses are often seen as a contemporary form of resistance against control, as opposed to the contemporary, hyper-defined public environments.18 We can ask, whether the idea of resistance is the reason why temporary uses often are rather displaced than adopted by official planning policies?

Experience of space Panu Lehtovuori discusses in his doctoral thesis the intensive experience of space as an important feature produced by temporary uses and urban events. He uses the former railway warehouses in Helsinki as an example. For several years, the “makasiinit” became a popular urban venue, hosting multiple programs: concerts, galleries, flea markets, restaurants, shops etc. In Lehtovuori’s words, the warehouses “played a central role in the cultural change and reform” of Helsinki and became “a symbol of bustling urban culture”.19 Successful examples of urban events have given courage and inspiration for the city’s inhabitants to try and give their own initiative – actively redesign their city. Nevertheless, the railway warehouses were demolished after long and fervent debate, in order to give way for the new music hall building considered officially more appropriate for this central location. Yet at the moment, the construction of the music hall is delayed due to funding problems.

49


Nomadic circulation

Club WMF at Ziegelstraβe, 1990s

The intensive use of the railway warehouses showed that a strong need for such event venues in the city still exists. New locations have been already found in less central locations. Lehtovuori and Oswalt have pointed out as a general tendency that the temporary, low budget cultural uses change their location rather frequently. While real estate and land prices grow higher, the low budget activities move to new, more affordable places further from downtown areas. In Helsinki, one of the after effects of the demolition of the “makasiinit” has been a wave of organised house squats starting in the summer 2007. The young squatters eventually found a new temporary location in the district of Vallila, situated at the edge of central Helsinki. Also other new, successful cultural venues have been established particularly in the neighbouring areas of Kallio and Sörnäinen. A very promising new location is the old Suvilahti power plant, “Voimala”, which hosted the urban music festival “Flow” in the summer 2007. Since then it has immediately been adopted by a variety of users and began to develop into a new “cultural factory”. 20 The following example of the Club WMF shows another type of circulation in Berlin – a night club constantly changing its location. In Berlin, which actually consists of independent village-like districts, there is no clear centre, and the circulation of temporary events has followed from one district to another – from Mitte to Prenzlauer Berg during 1990s, to Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain in recent years. Thus the urban areas are constantly renewing themselves in a dynamic way.21

“Pop up Cafe”, Tokyo

“A legendary example … is the WMF -Club, whose eventful history has been shaped by the temporary use of a number of places which are central to and, at the same time, very typical of Berlin’s history. The club was founded in 1990/1991 when the premises of the former headquarters of the Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik in Leipziger Straße were occupied. After they were expelled by the owner, the initiators drained the flooded urinal of the former Wertheim department store at Potsdamer Platz without permission and ran the club there for nine months. This was followed

by a legalised interim use in Burgstraße, the premises there were designed by Fred Rubin. The bowling bar which he had removed from the Palast der Republik and transformed was installed there in a new context. When the WMF recently moved into what had once been the guest house of the Council of Ministers of the German Democratic Republic in Johannisstraße the idea was developed further and the interior designed using objects from the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the former Central Committee of the SED such as the office of Erich Honecker in white leather.“ Philipp Oswalt 22

Controversial images

The residual areas are often central but marginal places where new meanings are produced through events where citizens actively claim urban space. As Panu Lehtovuori states, a “juxtaposition of both symbolic and configurational centrality and marginality is found to characterise the most successful event venues.” On the other hand, he criticizes the contemporary designed public space, suggesting that the unplanned and spontaneous appropriation often has better results in positive experiencing of space. 23 For many people, the urban buzz and lively atmosphere of the Helsinki railway warehouses contributed to a more positive image of the city. For others, the place represented an unacceptable decadence in the prime location facing the Finnish parliament. What could be considered as an appropriate image for a European capital city, is a controversial question. The controversy applies to a certain extent to both Helsinki and Berlin. One of the most topical examples related to both temporary uses and politics in Berlin has been the Palace of the Republic. This cultural and administrational palace, being an icon of the GDR politics, has been a controversial topic after the reunification of Germany, but recently became also an example of successful temporary uses. In 2002, an exhibition “Zwischen Palast Nutzung”

Young fashion designers’ showroom at Kastanienallee, Berlin 50

2 Residual Space and Temporary Use


(use between palaces) displayed possible scenarios and created public debates. Under the same name, a formal non-profit organization was founded and negotiations with the government started. A series of cultural events were organised in 2004 under the name “Volkspalast” (People’s palace) and followed in 2005 by the international conference “Fun Palace”.24 The events were organised between several cultural organisations, and became popular with the public. Another important feature in the case of the “Volkspalast” was the new role of architect that Philipp Oswalt described as an agent of intermediate use: mediating, facilitating and generating activities rather than designing them. This successful example could have been taken further as an initiator for other future uses of the building. Yet, the demolition of the Palace was started in January 2006 and plans have been made to construct a replica of the Prussian Hohenzollern castle on the same site. However, the financing is unclear and there is no real certainty of what is going to happen on the site. It is likely that this central site will remain a vast field of grass for at least a decade. 25

“In the 21st century, should one destroy a 20th century building itself of historical significance, to replace it with an 18th century palace?” Paul Virilio 26

Palast der Republik in February 2006

Palast der Republik in January 2006, one day before the demolition was started

The “Makasiinit” in May 2006, after an arson attack 2 Residual Space and Temporary Use

51


Flea market at Hietalahti square, summer 2007 52

2 Residual Space and Temporary Use


[Case Helsinki: recent evolving of urban cultures]

And how about Helsinki? Where do we stand today, when cities one after another are trying hard to think how to pull creative forces in the city? These questions have become part of the agenda also in Helsinki, at the latest in 2000 when the city was nominated a European Capital for Culture. There are a lot of creative sources bubbling under – but how to support them and make them grow? Seminars and conferences have been organised about innovation and creative urban design, trying to find the answers within the existing official framework of planning and bureaucracy. However, it seems to be a question of attitudes rather than design: the sources of creativity lye within the inhabitants and their ideas. Therefore, they should be encouraged and allowed to make initiatives, organise events, live in their city and also, take responsibility of their city. Since the 1980s, the urban cultures in Helsinki have been in transformation. Temporary events and appropriation of space have contributed to shaping the specific urbanity also in Helsinki. Trailblazing phenomena contributing to the birth of new urban cultures, have been the rough concert venue “Lepakko” established by the Live Music Association in 1979 and the Cable Factory cultural centre opened in 1987 in the old Nokia cable factory. During the 1980s, little by little, the whole restaurant culture and nightlife in Helsinki was reformed, new music venues were opened, urban magazines and radio stations founded, break dance and graffiti landed even in here far up north. Music, film and urban culture festivals have been founded one after the other. The 1990s saw the landing of techno music happenings and collective urban cultures in the form of cultural and artists’ associations, skateboarding and urban events reclaiming the streets and squares of the city in a new way. The centre of Helsinki has also expanded: new districts at the edge of central Helsinki have developed specialised images for certain subcultures or fields of culture. The previously infamous district of Kallio that used to an area of low income people with a bad reputation has developed into a trendy location of the young and creative generation, and the old industrial and railway properties 2 Residual Space and Temporary Use

in Vallila have been turned into artists’ ateliers. In Punavuori, small, specialised shops and galleries are being opened one after the other, offering alternative choices in fashion, street styles and music. The street images are more and more characterised by distinct and creative ways different subcultures dress themselves, tune and accessorize their outfits. 27

However, the regulations regarding public behaviour and use of space are rather limiting than allowing, making it sometimes too complicated and time consuming for people in Helsinki to pursue their ideas through official channels. The threshold for appropriation and reuse of urban space is still high. Instead of seeing the informal bottom-up approach as a complementary resource, this does not really exist in Helsinki where modernistic traditions of top-down oriented planning and control still dictate the development of the city. In other words, there is still a lot to do in order to make the everyday experience of the city inspiring and special.

A pancake party in the summer 2007 in front of Lux Shop, Helsinki. The shop specialised in young fashion designers’ products, faced a problem by a façade renovation in the neighbouring building, which blocked the pedestrian access in front of the shop. The inconvenience was turned into a benefit by organising two street parties on the blocked part of the street, which turned into an exterior “room”. Instead of disabling the visibility of the shop, the renovation was turned into a good advertisement, and also a welcome addition to the cultural supply of the city – an open and free of charge opportunity for the city’s inhabitants to actively enjoy urban life.

A number of voices have raised discussion about the idea of a city built by its inhabitants. Architect Tuomas Toivonen together with researcher Roope Mokka has raised discussion about public participation as a part of the urban development in the Helsinki Metropolitan Region28. Architect Juha Ilonen has made a study “Olohuone Helsinki” (Living Room Helsinki) listing numerous ‘non-spaces’ – unused potential spaces in the centre of Helsinki that could be used by the people for a variety of urban activities. Ilonen has pointed out examples of courtyards, small squares, pocket parks and alleys that could be upgraded and used by people, contributing to a more liveable city. In addition to these, Helsinki has several larger areas undergoing changes right next to the centre; unused industrial locations, new district developments, central park areas etc. In the development of these areas, the informal bottom-up principles could be applied and the concepts of temporary use and event based developments could be incorporated in order to guarantee a lively and up-to-date spirit of urban environment. 29 53


since 1987: The Cable Factory cultural centre The Artists’ Association Muu R.y. April Jazz Festival The film festival Love and Anarchy) The Jazz Club “Bullworkers” at the basement of restaurant “Kappeli”

Helsinki Cruising Nights since 1982

1970

Helsingin juhlaviikot (Helsinki Festival) since 1968

1980

1975

1985

Radio City Cafe Metropol Image magazine “Kaivopuiston kansanjuhla”, free concerts in Kaivopuisto park since 1978 Elmu (The Live Music Association) established in 1978

54

Since 1984: “Naisten kymppi” women’s urban running race Beach Party at “Hietsu” beach

Lepakko concert venue run by Elmu association started 1979 and demolished 1998

The free urban magazine “City” since 1986

2 Residual Space and Temporary Use


Uudenmaankatu starts developing into a popular restaurant and bar street

Kallio starts to develop into a district of young, creative people with restaurants, studios and nightclubs

Small shops specialised in young designers’ products and rare labels open one after another in the Punavuori district

Unused industrial spaces in the Vallila district turned into artists’ ateliers

1990

1993 : Total Balalaika Show, The Leningrad Cowboys with the Russian Red Army Choir at Senaatintori square

Popzoo Promotions agency established in 1994

Since 2002: Koneisto Electronic Music Festival moves from Turku to Helsinki Pixelache Helsinki Electronic Art Festival

Since 1998: Katastro.fi, media art association Finnish Fireworks Championship

1995

Since 2004: Korjaamo Cultural Factory at a former tram repair station Flow, urban music festival

2000

2005

2007: Voimala Cultural Factory in the old Suvilahti Power Plant, Eurovision song contest in Helsinki

Since 2001: Designpartners fair

1992: Corona Bar Film Theatre Andorra

Since 1995: Maailma kylässä (World Village) festival Art Goes Kapakka Festival 1995: Ice hockey championship followed by people reclai ming the streets

Helsinki, European Cultural Capital 2000 Since 2000: Radio Helsinki Avanto Helsinki Media Arts Festival Urb Festival of Urban Culture and Art

2003: Global Balalaika Show, replay of the Leningrad Cowboys performing with the Russian Red Army Choir at Senaatintori square

Since 2005: Helsinki Design Week Helsinki Design District Hel Looks, selected street fashion weblog

2006: Demolition and arson attack on the Helsinki railway stalls

Night of the Arts since 1989 The ‘Makasiinit’ Railway stalls in public use 1989 -2006

2 Residual Space and Temporary Use

Since 1999: the event venue “Nosturi” replaces Lepakko

55


56The ‘A Trans Pavilion’ gallery at Hackesche Höfe courtyards in Mitte, Berlin

2 Residual Space and Temporary Use


2.3 Long-term Impacts of Temporary Uses

During a 3-month fieldwork in Berlin, I shared a workspace at an art-architecture gallery “Projekt 0047” in Mitte. Its story is somewhat characteristic for Berlin: in 2004, two Norwegian architecture students found a promising, unused street level space at one of the side streets in Mitte. What the hell, they thought, let’s move in. After living in this space for a while, they turned it into a gallery, found curators to work there and funding from Norwegian sources, and started organising exhibitions and renting the backroom for studios. The news spread quickly as word of mouth, even up to the latitudes of Helsinki, and I happened to hear about this place in an accidental conversation. At the time I came to work at 0047, though, it had turned from a run down basement into an active gallery, and the surrounding streets in Mitte, into a cutting edge gallery area, the well known gallery streets Auguststraβe and Linienstraβe only a stone’s throw away. During my first week, a special collective project took place, with an opening every night for one week – so I got to know the typical scene of Norwegian artists who come to work in Berlin thrilled by its cheap prices, and selling their works in Norway. Nowadays, however, the gallery 0047 has moved back to Oslo. As it is often the case, the circulation of corresponding activities is rather fast, and even for the Norwegian artists, it is said the fascination of Berlin often lasts for two years at the maximum. Naturally there are exceptions to the rule as well. 2 Residual Space and Temporary Use

Temporary uses are often understood as “secondary” uses that are accepted in a location since more permanent or profitable “primary” uses are not possible. The durations and types of contract between the site owner and user can vary largely in different economical and cultural contexts.30 Even though temporary uses usually represent only a limited, transitional period for a location, also more long-term influences have been observed. In the Urban Catalyst research it was found out that informal activities in fact form major parts of the cultural production of the observed cities. The temporary activities represent the most current forms of urban developments and are examples of how individuals can actively redesign the city without investment or rigid planning procedures. The Urban Catalyst research has pointed out several kinds of long term effects of temporary uses. For their initiators and the people running them, temporary uses are often a transitional step towards professionalization and establishment – above, we have discussed the residual spaces acting as incubators for new professionals. In addition, the activities create and enhance networks between different users and create synergy effects. The networks have proved sustainable even after the initial activity has ended. Today, also the informal and formal levels seem to overlap and create mutual benefits: established institutions such as museums

Exhibition opening at gallery 0047 in Berlin, 2005

or marketing departments of large corporations are by now copying the nomadic strategies 31 and the eventbased character of temporary uses. Above we have also described, how temporary events can increase the urban bustle and contribute to a more positive image of a location or a city. As a result, temporary uses may also attract investment and create economic benefits. In times of change and uncertain future, temporary uses can offer new initiatives and alternatives for future development. According to sociologist Peter Arlt, interim uses are a flexible example of a tactical urban development. He emphasizes that larger scale projects and actors often lack certain qualities that are inherent in temporary uses: the dynamics and energy that liven up streets and buildings, and improve the atmosphere of areas.32

Networks

Among the most important resources and long-lasting capital for temporary activities are networks and different organisations. According to the Urban Catalyst research, the social and interdisciplinary networks formed through temporary activity seem to be sustainable and tend to last even after the common activities at the site ends. In general, the networked mode of operation has become more and more important for the contemporary city, where culture is increasingly used as a tool for urban development. 57


Hanna Harris discusses this question in her licentiate thesis “Process City”, in relation to the production of urban culture in Helsinki. She argues that “communities and networks operating in the everyday life have become important elements of urbanization, in addition to the previously acknowledged urban infrastructures and isolated, one-off urban events.” As an example, she points out that in the evaluations of Helsinki 2000 Year of Culture, the importance of networks and processes was emphasized even over reviews of actual production that took place. The importance of the year for urban culture was not only in a series of events but in a constant learning process that had more far-reaching consequences. 33

Economic Benefits

Even though the temporary uses are usually carried out with a minimum of investment, they are not independent of the market and can also attract investment. For Berlin and many other cities, the temporary uses form an essential part of the image and profile of the city, and a reason for many younger generation tourists to visit the place. According to professor Helka-Liisa Hentilä, “the additional value connected with temporary uses is the potential of forming innovative milieus, creating synergy and an arena for collective learning; therefore improving the competition capacity of a city.“ The global inter-city competition today is to a large part based on their “cultural capital” – the cultural temporary usage forming an essential part of it, yet often with little financial input. 34 Temporary uses can have important positive impulses and economic impacts on a location. For example, they may increase the diversity of economic life by giving opportunities for start-up firms and creating new part or full time jobs, attract commercial uses and create hybrids between culture and economy.35 In the context of recent research on creative industries and milieu analysis in Berlin, 58

researcher Bastian Lange states that the cyclical production of new trends has proved attractive and creates new markets also for established branches of economy: “The fact of belonging to a scene, with its inherent potential to influence new styles and trends, can be considered as significant capital for the creative economy”.36 Synergic benefits can be created by the co-operation of informal and formal level actors: one form of co-operation is a sponsorship, where an established company can update their brand image by sponsoring alternative culture events or projects by underground “trend setters”. In Helsinki, one recent example is the collaboration between the global sport brand Adidas and young Finnish designers and artists as a part of the global “Adicolor“ concept. Young local talents were invited to tune Adidas’ original products, thus giving visibility for emerging talents and a fresh kick on the image of the sports brand. The creations were exhibited in 2006 at an independent art and design gallery-shop Myymälä2, but also at Finland’s biggest department store Stockmann. 37

Berlin recognises that promoting its creative milieus is a great opportunity for the city”. Bastian Lange 38

Attractive Image

In Berlin the influence of temporary activities on the attractiveness and image of different locations, is particularly clear. There are also several examples, where an experimental activity has developed into a more established form, giving a certain stamp to the location and attracting new investors. In recent years, big international music companies, such as MTV Europe and Universal Music have re-established their headquarters in Berlin. They have located into old industrial estates on the banks of the Spree

river, drawn by the scene of independent music producers, club culture and temporary activities. 39 Another famous example is the evolving of the gallery area around Auguststraβe and Linienstraβe. The formerly rundown East-Berlin area was in the early 1990s a cheap but central place; in 1992, 37 curators organised an exhibition “37 rooms” that lasted for one week. After this one-off event that was a sort of a trial run, a large number of commercial galleries have established themselves on the spot. Real estate owners have taken advantage of such initial uses; by now the image of the area has changed rapidly, and it is now known as a “location” in the centre of the city, full of galleries, small shops, restaurants and expensive apartments. This kind of gentrification can also be seen as a negative effect – in this case, however, the area has more or less maintained the important parts of its original character, but moreover it has become financially sustainable. The activities are still of a unique one-off nature, and run by independent professionals and their networks. 40 In addition to Auguststraβe, one of Berlin’s main gallery hubs is located right at the Postblock. The galleries along Zimmerstraβe are another example of a grass root activity establishing itself into a permanent and economically successful form. The front building at Zimmerstraβe 90/91 has been recently renovated and several art galleries and other creative businesses like architect’s offices have settled here. A visit to these galleries reveals that they play a major role in both international and Berlin’s contemporary art scene. The galleries are permanent tenants and established institutions that have started elsewhere in Berlin. More and more are moving in. 41

2 Residual Space and Temporary Use


“Site-specific acupuncture” Temporary uses can be a way to unfold and develop ideas and potential new strategies for redevelopment of problematic urban areas. A Dutch urban redevelopment project “WiMBY! Welcome in My Back Yard” has over the last six years showed how temporary interventions, cultural reprogramming or a one-off event could help to “rediscover the area’s hidden but positive qualities and above all, bring into light unexpected urban potentialities, possibly inspiring future strategies”.

The “Freitag tower”, situated in a visible spot in the crossing of the main highways in Zurich, is a model example of intelligent “urban acupuncture”. It combines the interests of the city and the Freitag company on the level of urban branding. On a local level this temporary pioneer project has gained interest, vitalised the area and helped to push forward other developments. The small project has also been noticed by the global media and contributed to Zurich’s new image as a fresh and dynamic place with a good development potential. 44

We were absolutely sure that if Hoogvliet was to become a new, vital and attractive city, nothing would be more counterproductive than to start from scratch.” Michelle Provoost & Wouter Vanstiphout 42

“Heerlijkheid Hoogvliet, a festival organised by the WiMBY team, 2003

The location in a former no-man’s land has developed into “The gallery building at Zimmerstraβe”, which is now one of Berlin’s three most important gallery locations, together with Augustsraβe and Jannowitzbrücke. This development started already in the divided Berlin in 1986, when the artist Peter Unsicker opened his gallerystudio on the opposite side of the street at Zimmerstraβe 12, which used to be the territory of West Berlin. The studio was named “Wall Street Gallery” due to its location, one meter from the Berlin Wall, with tourists, “wall-peckers” and soldiers frequently passing by. From 1990 on, several spontaneous street galleries appeared on the street – and in the past few years, more are moving in the location. According to Minh-An Ha at Upstairs Berlin, the main reason for this location’s potential is the international reputation of the area in direct vicinity to Checkpoint Charlie, Potsdamer Platz and the Martin-Gropius Bau art museum. 2 Residual Space and Temporary Use

The WiMBY! project by Michelle Provoost and Wouter Vanstiphout addressed the revitalization of the infamous, disastrous suburb of Hoogvliet by developing the existing, peculiar and unique qualities of the area, turning its weaknesses into strengths. As an alternative for planned large-scale demolitions, a site-specific strategy was developed, based on a thorough analysis of the area and a close cooperation with its inhabitants. Innovative concepts were introduced on various levels: social, economic, architectural, and urban. Instead of an all-encompassing master plan, an alternative town planning tool was created; a system named “Logic”. As the basis for a coherent vision, a number of qualities were identified as Hoogvliet’s main characteristics. By combining these main variables, a set of different possible scenarios was developed as a basis for negotiation. According to the authors, the project and analysis had even therapeutic effects on the inhabitants of the malicious suburb, healing their inferiority complex: by showing the inhabitants just how unique their New Town really is, they succeeded in promoting a change of mentality that helped to stop a purely negative way of dealing with the existing situation. A common NiMBY (Not in My Backyard) attitude was therefore turned into WiMBY. 43

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2.4 Urban Agents – The Potential of Temporary Uses in Planning

Festival of Lights at Altes Museum, Berlin, 2006

Despite the clear benefits offered by transitory uses, in most cities they are not yet part of legal regulations or even discussion. They are often ignored by planning authorities and in some cases, face a lot of prejudice and create fiery debates about their future – as was the recent case of the Helsinki railway warehouses in Töölö Bay. Recent European research projects have, however, examined ways to integrate these potentials into contemporary city management and urban design, which is now understood as a strategic process. Strategic planning is a question of a relational and dynamic process rather than a linear development proceeding directly from strategy to implementation. Temporary uses offer a dynamic, flexible tool that can be applied at short notice, complementing the slower planning and decision making processes. 46 As in the context of Berlin, the temporary users of abandoned sites can act as “urban agents”, generating new activities and offering alternative ways of responding in times of uncertainty. The economical slow-down should therefore be considered – instead of a crisis – a chance 60

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In the future, a central task of urban and recreational planning departments will be to manage an increasing number of open spaces on an increasingly shrinking budget and, where appropriate, to hand them over to temporary users.” Miller Stevens, Christian Voigt 45 View towards the Oberbaumnrücke and the “Spreeraum Ost” area

to question and revise conventional planning procedures. Helka-Liisa Hentilä lists the obstacles linked with the professional urban planning and urban management cultures: “… traditional urban development of residual areas is based on erasure and displacement and has no perspective as to involving the temporary uses in the processes of change.” She suggests that the problem with traditional processes is their “stiffness and relative inability to react to current needs”. When slow planning policies generally aim at fixed end results, the goals of which have been defined a long time beforehand, the sustainability of the plans and their adaptability to changing future needs is questionable. As an alternative option, the acceptance of temporary uses would give more time and flexibility for urban planning and decision-making. In the establishment of temporary uses in practice, the role of municipal authorities is quite crucial. As the Urban Catalyst research suggests, this has often not taken place as part of the political agenda but rather with the initiative of individuals working inside the municipality as 2 Residual Space and Temporary Use

negotiators, setting up contacts and mediating between different stakeholders. In order to make better use of the potentials offered by temporary usage, a framework for the management – a negotiation mechanism between users, owners, municipality and other stakeholders – would be necessary.47

UDM

Promising ideas can be found in the recent discourse of Urban Design Management (UDM) 48. UDM sees urban development as a dynamic, flexible process rather than a system of predetermined, fixed designs and allencompassing decisions. Through this point of view, integrating also temporary uses into urban development policies seems natural rather than conflicting. The UDM method addresses common conflict situations in urban development, using integrative negotiation practices as a solution to connect the diverse aims of stakeholders, to identify mutual gains, and view situations as a set of resources and opportunities instead of conflict. 49

Berlin example

The questions of communication, negotiation, mediation and general attitude are essential also in successful implementation of temporary uses. Berlin has recently set an example in its new municipal planning concepts, where also temporary uses are now considered an important factor that supports its economic, social and cultural development. The planning concepts in Berlin consist of two levels: strategies and the way they are put into practice in different district – in the form of projects. Therefore, the concept for urban development functions as the frame for planning and implementation, not as a set of strict rules. 50 Also a municipal policy of “zwischennutzung” (interim use) has been developed, as a part of the municipal planning concepts. In this policy, the durations of temporary use contracts can vary but the temporary user has to be ready to leave within 3 months if a more permanent “primary” user appears. The policy has proved to provide mutual benefits: the user is provided with inexpensive space; the maintenance costs of the owner and risks of neglect decrease; an urban space gets new vitality; a “new image” 61


and new programs can possibly be developed for the location.51 The aim of Berlin’s planning framework has been to create an active platform for co-operation and communication between different stakeholders, emphasizing co-operation and negotiation. A key role in this development is played by private consultant agencies that work as mediators between stakeholders. This is a new opportunity also for private architecture offices, who can use their professional knowledge in a new way as mediating consultants – or urban agents, as Philipp Oswalt put it in the case of the ”Volkspalast” (see chapter 2.2). 52 One of the Berlin-based consultant agencies, “Mediaspree”, was started by networking between different land owners and other players in the “Spreeraum Ost” area. In recent years, the banks of the river Spree between Kreuzberg and Friedricshain districts have become one of the backbones of the city’s new identity and image”, as researcher Meri Louekari describes. The Spreeraum Ost is a successful example of how a rundown area, formerly located on the border of the two Berlins, has developed into a vital, interesting new urban entity. This area has been successful in pulling in many new actors within the creative industries, and has been given an important status also in the city’s

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urban strategy (Stadtforum Berlin). It also shows an example of how small-scale, bottom-up projects can be given a role in urban development, even when it is controlled by the municipality. The municipal authorities co-operate here with consultant agencies, who work as mediators between several different stakeholders. The development of the area is based on an urban plan, yet new projects are formed through negotiation and qualification as singular cases. 53

The free use of open space may offend us, endanger us, or even threaten the seat of power. Yet that freedom is one of our essential values. We prize the right to speak and act as we wish. When others act more freely, we learn about them and thus about ourselves. “ Kevin Lynch 54

With an effective incorporation of the temporary uses into its planning policies, Berlin can show a pioneering example for other cities facing similar issues. Temporary uses can be considered as urban agents that offer new and alternative ways of responging in times of change, and keep the plans updated during the development process. By facilitating temporary uses on sites that are waiting for future solutions, new liveliness and intensity can be brought into urban environments at short notice and the accessibility of these places can be enhanced, not to mention an increased sense of security. In cases of phased development, temporary uses can supplement fixed constructions and their catalytic effect can be used to suggest possible new uses for the future. Utilising the potentials of temporary uses in planning can therefore be a way to develop more sustainable urban strategies.

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2.5 Rules of the Game

�

What we need is a city where everyone has a voice. Where everyone feels that they can, in collaboration with others, contribute to change.� Tuomas Toivonen et al. 55

As a practical conclusion of chapter 2, I have listed some key aspects that are essential in making a more comprehensive adoption of temporary uses into urban policies possible – both in their realisation on a practical level and in developing ideas into more prominent forms. What are the common obstacles hindering temporary uses? Which features of the legislation need to be changed or developed? What can individual people do in order to develop ideas and put them into practice? In addition to solving practical, bureaucratic and political questions, also new, effective forums for creating, sharing and developing ideas should be created as a new basis for a sustainable cultural production of cities. A change of attitudes is also needed, from individual to municipal levels: we should move from the spirit of doubt, prejudice and pessimism, towards a spirit of innovation, welcoming, and optimism; faith in that we, together with others, can make things happen.

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01

03

The Attitude: make it possible to think the impossible

The Local Authority: from Provider to Facilitator In order to support appropriation and temporary use of space, the role of municipal authorities should shift from provider of services towards facilitator of self-initiated projects. Consequently, the citizens’ role should turn from passive and consumptive towards active and productive. The users of public services should therefore be treated as participants, not as mere consumers. Public authorities may have significant means to stimulate innovation from the public; on the other hand, they may also be a great hindrance.

One of the strongest obstacles for innovative use of urban space and new developments, is often a generally passive and negative attitude; a general feeling that all change is potentially negative. A new sense of mutual trust and doing together is needed to overcome this. We should call for A WiMBY attitude (Welcome in my backyard) instead of NiMBY (Not in my backyard) 56. Also the local authority’s attitude and helpfulness is important – in the end, it can essentially make or break a project. A realistic optimism will help to view many problems and conflict situations as opportunities. A new motto for the dream city should be: “Make it possible to think the impossible!” New internet platforms: a Facebook group for developing ideas for the future use of the new cultural factory “Voimala” in Helsinki

02

Platforms for Communication and Initiatives How to stimulate the creation of new ideas and initiatives? Together with an open-minded attitude, new systems are needed both for creating ideas together and for offering them into realisation. Think tanks, open forums, internet channels, tagging systems benchmarking good practices – platforms that would not only bring people together but also offer ways to develop people’s dreams into reality. Apart from virtual networks, the role of traditional gathering places (the corner shop, the pub/cafe, the football pit and the pharmacy) and their contemporary alternatives should not be ignored. The neighbourhood societies in Berlin are a good example of social networks that have actively raised their voice in the public; they have organised events and projects that many can benefit from and that may lead to new ones.

Therefore, proper municipal tools need to be developed in order to deal with temporary uses and to integrate them into the framework of urban development. Public participation could be made an essential feature of planning; not in its present mode as citizens’ right to complain but as a right to initiate and generate ideas and also put them into practice. The public authorities could support and motivate the citizens’ innovation in several ways: by facilitating some of the bureaucratic and licensing systems, by offering information, expert services, assistance in funding, conflict management and mediation – offering new tools and a flexible framework within which individuals and different groups can operate. Different alternatives for funding methods should be created; business partnerships, local charities, public funds for temporary use. Regarding the temporary use of available spaces, a proper platform for information or a data pool is an essential starting point, offering a clear benefit for both owners and potential users of space. This could be run by public or private agencies, not unlike the internet services provided by real estate agencies today. In Berlin, there are already a number of websites where one can search information about sites for temporary uses, which are run by the State of Berlin, district management offices or by private agencies.

Architecture students’ workshop in Tokyo

When an idea for a project exists, communication between different stakeholders (users, owners, local authority, investors) becomes important. In this phase, a new profession of mediator or agent is much needed, collaborating and negotiating between individual people and the municipality. For the temporary users, organised representative groups would often turn out helpful: in the eyes of the owners and potential investors, a reliable negotiation partner makes it easier to find a consensus­­. 64

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05

Developing Quality Projects Creating new, visionary and ambitious ideas and raising public discussion can be encouraged by different public programs and competitions. Public-private and informal-formal level collaborations could be used much more than at the present. The informal and formal levels can support each other in several ways and create synergies; the small scale actors do not only need support from big ones but they have a lot to offer as well.

Citizens’ initiatives in Berlin

04

Legal Measures In order to facilitate temporary uses, certain legal measures need revising or clearing up. It should be made easy for the potential temporary users to find adequate information and assistance on several measures: licenses or permits, mandatory building requirements and questions of property rights and liability between user and owner. The types of contracts between user and owner may vary; in Berlin there are examples of temporary lease agreements, maintenance contracts (the user agreeing to cover the maintenance costs) or relinquishment contracts, which stipulates that a site or an institution be relinquished to temporary users free of charge. The last model is often used in cases where a public institution is put at the disposal of an association. A more tolerant attitude towards public behaviour by the police or health authorities, can also contribute to a more attractive and pleasant urban environment. The focus should be shifted from what is not allowed towards what can be possible.

Different tools for creating projects with good quality and for motivating people to innovate, could be created by both public and private fields: idea competitions, think tanks, cooperation models, mentoring programs and modes of supporting the professionalization and consolidation of start-ups. Two recent student competitions organised in Helsinki – the idea competition “Ratakuilun opiskelijakilpailu” for temporary use of the old central railway tunnel as a new kind of public space (2007), and the ‘Tuunaa Stadi’ (Pimp My City) competition searching ideas for tuning up construction sites in the centre (2006) – showed that plenty of ideas already exist; they only need encouragement to bring into daylight, and open-minded professional collaborators to put them into realisation. 57

06

Entry for the student competition for reuse of Helsinki railway tunnel, 2006 by Aino Aspiala, Hella Hernberg and Sanna Meriläinen

The Dream Manager and the Urban Agent In the rapidly changing city, where temporary use of urban spaces will no doubt increase, the scope of work for the architect is also about to broaden up. A new potential role for architects will be to use their professional knowledge not necessarily to design but to help people generate their ideas and dreams into feasible forms. Another domain of this new professional field would be to form and maintain networks; gather together people with possibly similar motives, and necessary professionals from different fields. In Berlin, private agencies such as the ‘MediaSpree’ or the ‘Zwischennutzungsagentur’ have already been established and they have had a large role in new developments (see chapter 2.4). 58 I would like to name this new profession the “Dream Manager”. And thus, as the name of this work also suggests, we would move from urban planning, through negotiation-based Urban Design Management, towards innovation-based Urban Dream Management.

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References, Chapter 2

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 66

Oswalt 1998 Hentilä 2003 La Varra 2000 p. 426-439; Christiaanse 2002; Louekari 2007, p. 136 Louekari 2007, p. 137 Overmeyer et al. 2007, p. 21-25; Hentilä 2003, p.1; Studio Urban Catalyst. 2003, p. 2-3 Lange 2007, p. 136; Cupers & Miessen 2002, p. 57 Berlin-based architect Philipp Oswalt has written several texts about Berlin (see Bibliography) and is project director for the Shrinking Cities research project Oswalt 2000a Idem. Hentilä 2003, p. 6; Lange 2007, p. 136 Interviews: Helge Weiser, Philipp Oswalt Lange 2007, p. 136-139; Timm 2005; Rutten 2005, p.71-74 Becker & Stahel 2000, p.75 Meuser & Stimmann 2002, p. 110-111; www.hoyerundschindele.de email interview: Eve Hurford Oswalt 2000a Hentilä 2003; Studio Urban Catalyst 2003 Lehtovuori 2005, p. 16 Hentilä 2003 p. 10; Studio Urban Catalyst 2003, p. 23; Overmeyer et al. 2007, p. 21-25 Hentilä 2003 p. 1, 15; La Varra 2000, p. 428 Lehtovuori & Mälkki 2002; Lehtovuori 2005, p. 17-20 Lehtovuori 2005; Oswalt 1998; Oksanen 2007 www.kaapelitehdas .fi; www. voimala.eu Oswalt 2000a; Oswalt 1998 Oswalt 1998 Lehtovuori 2005, p. 15-20 The name ‘Fun Palace’ refers to a famous and influential project by Cedric Price (1961), which was developed in association with theatrical director Joan Littlewood. Although it was never built, its flexible space influenced many other architects. (Wikipedia)

25 26 27

Misselwitz & Oswalt 2004, p. 90-103 Virilio 2000, p. 154 Isokangas, Karvala, Kaappo 2000; Oksanen 2007; Uimonen 2007; Jokelainen 2008; Salmela 2008 http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helsinki; http://www.hel-looks.com/; www.kaapelitehdas.fi; www. voimala.eu

28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37

Toivonen et al. 2007, Salmela 2008 Ilonen 2007; Mäkynen 2006; Toivonen et al. 2007 Hentilä 2003, p. 6 ‘Nomadic strategies’: In chapter 2.3 I have described how it is typical for the temporary uses to change their location, as an example the club WMF in Berlin. Studio Urban Catalyst 2003, p. 23-25; Hentilä 2003, p.12; Louekari 2007, p. 139 Harris 2002, p. 2, 7 Hentilä 2003, p. 19 Idem. p. 14, 19 Lange 2007, p. 138 www.myymala2.com/about/ www.marmai.fi/uutiset/article73550.ece Myymälä2 as it is today consists of a gallery, shop, artist studios and the workshop of the in-house labels, run by a small community in the district of Punavuori. The idea is to provide an alternative to the hefty fees and endless waiting lists that are requisite to a traditional gallery show, thus allowing for less established artists and craftsmen to launch their careers. The project began five years ago in a less central location as a pet project of a few friends who met in art school. In the course of the move to the current Punavuori location, the scale changed but the idea is still the same.

38 39

40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57

Oswalt 2000a; Lange 2007, p. 138 interviews: Peter Unsicker, Minh-An Ha Provoost & Vanstiphout 2004, p. 136 Idem. p. 130-155; http://www.wimby.nl/ Ahlava et al., p. 219 Stevens & Voigt 2007 p.120 Lehtovuori & Maijala 2007, p. 41 Hentilä 2003, p.18-20 Edelman 2007, Ahlava & Edelman 2007 Edelman 2007, p.22, 23, 34, 57 Louekari 2007, p. 220-221 Interview: Helge Weiser Louekari 2007, p. 220-221 Idem. p. 244-245 Lynch 1979, p. 413-417 Toivonen et al. 2007 Provoost & Vanstiphout 2004 www.decomb.net/download/HDW-news1.pdf www.hel.fi/wps/portal/Kaupunkisuunnitteluvirasto/

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Examples of websites and agencies for temporary use in Berlin: www.liegenschaftsfonds-berlin.de www.stadtentwicklung.berlin.de/bauen/ baulueckenmanagement/ www.quartiersmanagement-berlin.de www.zwischennutzungsagentur.de www.mediaspree.de/ www.josettihoefe.de

Other references for chapter 2.6: Overmeyer et al. 2007, p. 159-189; Provoost & Vanstiphout 2004, Toivonen et al. 2007; Misselwitz & Oswalt 2004; Edelman 2007; Louekari 2007

Lange 2007, p 141 Louekari 2007, p. 138- 139 2 Residual Space and Temporary Use


Kastanienallee, Berlin

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3 Problematics of Public Urban Space


3. Problematics of Public Urban Space

The urban brownfield areas are examples of places where public life takes on new forms and new directions, in the form of temporary uses. In Berlin, clubs, galleries and small businesses emerging in run-down areas and old factories have helped to shape the specific urbanity of the city. In other words, interventions on a small scale and local level have had a large scale impact on the city’s image. The contemporary design of public space, on the other hand, has been fervently criticised, of producing meaningless, controlled and hyper-defined environments. At the same time, the transitory or temporary activities are seen as a contemporary form of resistance against control.1 The juxtaposition between planned, clean and controlled environments and the uncontrolled leftover areas lying waste, is particularly clear in the Berlin district of Friedrichstadt, where the Postblock is situated. In this chapter, we will discuss more closely the problematic of public, planned and unplanned urban environments, using Friedrichstadt as an example. We will analyse the actual meaning of public space, in historical and contemporary context, and introduce a few alternative concepts of spatial design that can be applied in this context. The main authors referred to in this chapter are Richard Sennett, Marc AugÊ, Panu Lehtovuori, Rem Koolhaas and Kees Christiaanse.

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At the crossing of Friedrichstraβe and Mauerstraβe, a corner of the street stands empty. A characteristic split up view opens up between a free-standing 19th century residential building and a 1990’s glass facade office building towards a post modernistic 1980’s block. At the background, comes into view the high rise of the GSW company at Kochstraβe, the extension of which was designed by Sauerbruch and Hutton architects in 1995-1998. North of Zimmerstraβe, Friedrichstraβe transforms from a quiet street lined by Döner kiosks into one of the most luxurious shopping parades in Berlin. Along Friedrichstraβe there are signs of fashionable brands and retailers such as Rolex, Audi, Galeries Lafayette, Gucci, etc. Despite all the luxury, it is difficult to find options for a vibrant street life: potential customers are encouraged to dive into the world of commodities inside the shopping malls. The problem here is that the activities do not communicate with the street except as a transport space that takes people from one point to another. At this time of the year, glühwein is sold here together with Berliner Currywurst in traditional German style wooden huts with Christmas decorations. As a characteristic remark between the two districts, only two blocks south of Checkpoint Charlie, Friedrichstraβe street scene is filled with Turkish Imbiss (snack bar) stands as it reaches further into the Kreuzberg district. 70Mauerstraβe 86, December 2005

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3.1 Residual Spaces: Rebirth of the Public

Today’s Friedrichstadt portrays the problematic of public life in a city with its juxtaposition of controlled and open environments. There are plenty of examples of citizens actively claiming urban space and giving it new meanings and uses – but simultaneously, the processes of commercialization, normalization and gentrification2 are evident in many of the designed urban developments.3 This change is clearly manifest in today’s Friedrichstadt by the newly built commercial and office environments standing next to open leftover areas. According to Panu Lehtovuori, much of the contemporary public space could be called “the space of collective consumption”. 4 Indeed, the shopping mall is a paradigm often used to describe public life in our contemporary cities; the realm which is controlled, manipulated, surveyed to all extents and and where the role of individual people is characteristically that of a customer. Particularly Rem Koolhaas has raised discussion about the impact of shopping as an inevitability of today’s public condition.5 Marc Augé has discussed the proliferation of “non-places”, the a-historic and generic realm of highways, airports and malls. This kind of space contains a narrow set of codes for human behaviour and favours individual but strongly orchestrated action – keeping interaction between others minimal and superficial. By the term “non-place” Augé refers to the loss of three traditional aspects of place: 3 Problematics of Public Urban Space

the loss of the social notion of place as a gathering point where people communicate, the loss of the unique character of a place, and the loss of the potential memory of a place. On the other hand, as described in the previous chapter, the temporary uses of residual places have succeeded in producing these above listed qualities of public space, in a new context and without planning or design.6

City is a human settlement where strangers are likely to meet.” Richard Sennett 7

Richard Sennett’s simple but powerful definition of the city suggests that in order to be truly urban, cities should cater for diversity and alterity, allowing opposite and contradictory worlds to meet. As Sennett suggests, the human worth of living in a city is about sociability, living with and learning from strangers. In a truly cosmopolitan realm, complexities are allowed to interact. The experience of complexity also effects on the individual’s image of one’s own identity and helps to define human limits. Also Lehtovuori describes, that “public urban space is the key site of the coming-together of different actors and influences, thus becoming the ‘soul’ of the city and breeding ground of its urban character”. 8

While urban populations are today becoming increasingly multicultural, (Western) urban space is paradoxically more and more segregated, simplified and sanitised. This juxtaposition is evident in an interesting way also in today’s Berlin. On one hand, it is a living example of a city which is urban in the above mentioned sense: one can see the mixture of different nationalities, styles, ideologies and social groupings coexisting side by side. All these groups do not necessarily interact with each other more than on a superficial level, but they live in peaceful coexistence, allowing others to express themselves freely as they are. In many parts of the city, like the streets of Kreuzberg, one can see how the appearance of the city is shaped by all these different groups, immigrants, subcultures, and German traditions. This image of the city reflects its inhabitants and is not one designed by architects. Nevertheless, many other parts of Berlin have been under the threat of being “normalised” with designs aimed at the average customer. Apart from a number of successful new public buildings, the average new architectural developments have produced sterile and neutral environments that could exist anywhere in the world. 9 At the same time, as described in the previous chapter, the temporary uses are producing new public space, by focussing public attention on forgotten places and creating new ways of a shared experience of space. In a new 71


way, the residual has been turned into public, into places where encounters occur and opposite worlds meet, thus bringing back the soul of public life in a traditional sense as defined by Sennett. The temporary uses have reintroduced the social notion of place, they reinforce the specific characteristics of the place and therefore also the memory of the place – in the form of urban cultural events, neighbourhood gardens, recreation spaces, music clubs, flea markets, etc. The self-initiated uses of residual spaces have therefore shown their importance as a paradigm for the contemporary city – in Berlin, Helsinki and many other cities. The temporary activities are successful examples of spatial “appropriation” instead of “domination”, and as Lehtovuori suggests, they have a key role in sustaining and renewing urban cultures.10 The spontaneous developments in Berlin are examples of a tolerant policy, a loose control within a flexible framework that has room for freedom. A balance between the two is important; whereas Western planning policies are sometimes too stiff and controlled, also a total lack of control would have its shortcomings, examples of which we can see in the slums and informal economies of world’s biggest and fast growing metropolises, or situations where control is taken over by illegal organisations.

Facade samples at the construction site of the new Leipziger Platz, 2006

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3.2. Friedrichstadt and the Obsession of “Becoming”

Leipziger Platz under construction, December 2005 The view towards Leipziger Platz is characteristic for contemporary Friedrichstadt. Outlined in the 17th century, once the thriving heart of the decadent metropolis and later a vast no-man’s land, this is still one of the largest building sites in Berlin. During the 1990s, as a rapid response to the economic growth prospects, the area became the target of a heavy building boom resulting in developer driven, monofunctional constructions. Vacant lots in this area have been rapidly filled up with office and commercial blocks. However, in today’s economic crisis, the building activity has slowed down and some of the leftover areas still remain waiting. One of them is the Postblock. 3 Problematics of Public Urban Space

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Nearly twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the street views in Friedrichstadt are still characterised by leftover areas - manifesting the uncertainty and stagnation of today. Besides the vacant land, there now seems to be a great amount of vacant office space remaining in the new built blocks. In 2000, the vacancy rate for offices was 9,4 %. 11 After the building boom period, many of the office facades are now filled with rental advertisements competing with their size in the urban landscape. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the growth expectations led to a rapid building boom. As an answer, a program of “critical reconstruction” was created, with the reconstruction plan “Planwerk Innenstadt” based on the historical 19th century plan of the city. A program of filling the voids of the inner city was started – both in terms of urban fabric and the symbolic spaces associated with loss, erasure and division. However, as the economic prospects failed to materialise, the program has not yet been completed; the urban gaps caused by historical effects are still underlined by today’s economic slowdown. 12 The fragmented character of Berlin has become a controversial topic in the debate over the post-unification reconstruction. This discourse has polarised between the official policy of restoring the compact 19th century city structure and, alternatively, maintaining the city’s open character as one of its unique features and a reminder of history. 13 The Planwerk Innenstadt has been criticised for its lack of authenticity and of leaving decisive urban design questions up to the real estate market or bureaucrats. Many critics have pointed out Berlin’s privileging of the image over the real. Rem Koolhaas has compared the New Berlin to a Chinese city: “The Chinese city is for me a city that 74

has built up a lot of volume in a very short time, which therefore doesn’t have the slowness that is a condition for a traditional sedimentation of a city, which for us is still the model for authenticity.”14 It has been said that the historical reference remains a two-dimensional representation of the historical plan of a chosen era, but does not relate to Berlin’s real history or identity. In its historicism, the plan refers to only one of the many layers of Berlin’s history, which is considered appropriate for the European city. Especially in the district of Southern Friedrichstadt, “almost every new urban utopia has been tested”, as Oswald Matthias Ungers has pointed out 15. The utopia of today, according to many critics, is the fiction of an unbroken Prussian history.

Rem Koolhaas began his architectural career with a study on “The Berlin Wall as Architecture”, 1972. Already before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Koolhaas with other critical voices suggested that Berlin could have been the first European city to “cultivate emptiness” instead of replacing it. The open nature of the city, the ‘emptiness’ and ‘nothingness’, were regarded as symbols for the unique avant-garde qualities of Berlin. Emptiness was seen as liberating potential. 18

Architect and researcher Philipp Oswalt describes the flaws of the ‘critical reconstruction’:

One aspect of the liberating potential of emptiness can be understood as it is reflected in the temporary uses of Berlin’s leftover areas. The clubs, galleries and small businesses emerging in run-down areas and old factories have helped to shape the specific urbanity of the city. They have provided the city with new cultural intensity. Therefore, it is important to ask what this means in terms of architecture and urban planning, and find ways to integrate these potentials into planned and built developments.

Berlin is to become a normal European city, Germany a normal country and, following the end of the post-war era, its unfortunate history is, if possible, to be erased from the collective memory of the city and society. And at the same time, the ‘Berlin style of architecture’ is the post-modern concept of a decorated shed for a globalised real estate market which reduces architecture to the role of styling the consumer article building with the help of stereotyped images.”16

Where there is nothing, everything is possible. Where there is architecture, nothing (else) is possible.” Rem Koolhaas 19

Since the 1970s, however, several architects have been working on alternative themes in the context of Berlin. Among others, Rem Koolhaas, Oswalt Matthias Ungers and Daniel Libeskind have used the dialogue with the existing qualities of Berlin to provide a conceptual framework for the identity of the city and, at the same time, transform these into contemporary architecture. 17

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Sketch for the redesign of the Lepziger Platz by Allison & Peter Smithson, “Haupstadt Berlin� competition, 1957

Ludwig Hilberseimer, Berlin Development Project: Friedrichstadt District, 1928

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Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis: Exodus, the Voluntary Prisoners, photomontage, 1972

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�

We need new urban strategies. Networks of the city that extend beyond its physical presence. -- The aim must be a new interpretation of the shrinking city. That they can be the start of new cultural practices has already been shown.� Claudia Gliemann 21

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3.3. Culture, Innovation and the Challenges of Shrinking

After the reunification of Germany, many of the former GDR towns have faced problems of unemployment and declining population. Despite the great prospects and hopes of being back in the centre of Europe, neither Berlin has grown. Between 1800 and 1900, the population had increased tenfold, and reached its peak of 4,2 million inhabitants by 1930 (see Figure at the next page). Today, the 3,4 million inhabitants live on a much larger area than before the World Wars. Within the next ten years, the current population is predicted to diminish with 50 000. 20 However, the suburbanisation, deindustrialization, deconstruction and migration have not caused a loss of culture. In times of heavy industrialization, Berlin was dealing with problems brought by rapid growth and overpopulation - now the problems are the opposite. In the long term, the population is likely to shrink and get older. The research “Shrinking Cities” has recently investigated new possibilities for revitalising among others East German towns struggling with the problem of shrinking population 3 Problematics of Public Urban Space

– which is a big problem also in the rural Finland.22 Also Berlin is looking for new strategies in order to survive and remain an attractive city. These strategies cannot be based on economical growth and physical density but rather the cultural potentials. In this sense, the experimental uses of residual areas have shown potential for creating intensity without physical densification. 23 Particularly in the context of shrinking or economic slowdown, temporary uses have potential as a means of sitting out the low-development period until more lucrative opportunities for urban development present themselves. Temporary interventions, cultural reprogramming or oneoff events could also act in a catalytic way and lead to the discovery of new, site-specific solutions – they can help to rediscover the area’s hidden but positive qualities and above all, bring into light unexpected urban potentialities, possibly inspiring future strategies. The role of culture in urban development has recently become widely acknowledged, as the concepts of “creative

Sectors of the creative industries: 1. The arts and cultural heritage 2. Media and entertainment 3. Design, advertising, architecture and other reative commercial services (Paul Rutten)

economy”, “creative class”, “creative industry” etc have become central terms of public discourse. Faith in these concepts has become almost fundamental after Richard Florida’s bestseller “The Rise of the Creative Class” (2002). However, the roots of the concepts can be dated back to 1960’s and 1970’s America.24 According to Florida’s theses, if cities and regions can attract talent and creativity, they will attract also investors and companies. In order to innovate and excel economically it is important both for the companies and regions to provide an attractive climate for people to live and operate. The city should be an open environment, where it is possible to achieve ambitions, discover new things, live as one chooses – a breeding ground for innovation. As the Berlin example shows, the innovative temporary uses of urban residual spaces are one form of this flourishing of creative that creates attractive urban environments. 25 It is important to note that the qualities that attract and enhance creativity also contribute to a good living environment in general. According to Florida, main 77


Creative numbers of Berlin In 2005, 90 000 people worked within the creative industries 6300 design enterprises in 2005

5.000.000 4.340.000

4.500.000 4.000.000

Over 50% of businesses in the creative field are small, 1-2-person businesses

2.500.000

In 2002, turnover in Berlin’s creative sector amounted to more than 8.1 billion Euro, which was ~11% of the city’s total GDP

1.500.000

Between 1991 and 2004, the number of foreigners has increased by 44%, from 315578 to 454545. At the same time, the whole population has slightlty decreased (1%) 26

ingredients of this are authenticity, uniqueness, mix of influences, multidimensionality of experiences, indigenous street level culture – all in all, an open, tolerant climate, cultural diversity that allows one to act freely. These are not unlike Richard Sennett’s ideas of urban complexity introduced above. In Berlin’s industrial past, the openminded climate that attracted innovative and creative people proved to contribute to the economic growth – the same could be true for today, if the potentials are taken into use in the right way. In times of economic crisis, Berlin can still benefit from its diverse cultural capital, the cultural potentials that can be found in both conventional and radical forms. Paradoxically, Berlin has been under such a control over a long time, that people have had to find ways to escape the control and be strong about doing what they want; the same spirit still exists as a driving force. Today’s cities are competing on a global level with attractiveness and marketing themselves as cultural or 78

3.000.000

The number of self-employed artists increased by 40% in the period of 2002-2004

In 2004-2005 there were almost 100 temporary use projects in disused sites or vacant buildings in Berlin.

3.400.000

3.500.000

2.000.000

1.000.000 500.000 1890

1900

1910

1920

1930

1940

1950

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

2010

Figure showing historical population growth in Berlin (Wikipedia)

creative. In its rough and undefined streetscapes, however bizarre and peculiar they may be, Berlin already has what many other cities are trying to achieve: it is a place like no other. Therefore is should not even try to become a “normal European city”. Funnily enough, the same concern is common in Helsinki, even though the original and exotic qualities and traditions of Finnish culture are quite far from those regarded as “European”. The real essence of cultural potentials cannot be found in some general standards but in each city’s unique qualities, even in the bizarre and peculiar ones. Recent examples show that Berlin has discovered that supporting temporary does not contradict the city’s position in inter-city competition. Bubbling under actions can create weak signals that contribute to future growth. This has been acknowledged for example in the way temporary uses and bottom-up modes of operating have been adopted into Berlin’s urban strategies, as discussed in chapter 2.

Supporting initiatives and signals on a local level can have positive influences on future growth even on a larger scale. This way of thinking opens up new potentials that lie in the grass root level: even the personal initiative of one single inhabitant can be important. The citizens’ role in giving their input to the metropolitan development on the district level has been raised into discussion also in Helsinki, after an idea competition “Greater Helsinki Vision”, (2007). In his entry titled “Towards City 2.0” architect Tuomas Toivonen, with researcher Roope Mokka and their team pictured a future Helsinki designed by its inhabitants.27 Berlin already has a strong tradition of a district level management, with its variety of neighbourhood and district committees where people are given responsibility and freedom to develop their living neighbourhoods. In Berlin, people feel committed to their “Kiez” 28 and are therefore willing to take good care of it. 3 Problematics of Public Urban Space


�

What if the inhabitants (of Helsinki) would be encouraged to make initiatives to improve their own districts? What if they could be made responsible for the future of their own home surroundingss? And, what if the duty of municipal authorities would be to help them develop their ideas?� Tuomas Toivonen, Roope Mokka 29

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Kastanienallee, Berlin

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Views from the courtyard complexes Hackesche and Heckmann Hรถfe 80

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3.4. The Berlin Courtyard as a Traditional Social Structure

In today’s Berlin, also a genuine tradition of public space in its historical meaning still continues: the public courtyards (Hof / Höfe). This is a refreshing phenomenon in relation to the above described loss of contemporary public space as a general tendency. The Berlin Höfe can be seen closely related to the arcade or passage as a building type that developed during 19th century, as a stage for new kinds of public and commercial activity in European cities. As public spaces on private property, passageways connecting different streets accessible only to pedestrians and most often related to small scale commercial activity, the courtyards differ from the arcades only in that they are not glass-covered. Both the arcades and the public courtyards serve as transitional spaces, intermediary spaces between interior an exterior, and a public sphere where social encounters may occur. They serve as extensions to the street as a social space. Therefore, they are radically different from the new shopping malls and department stores as capsular places, which have reduced their ingredients to level of passive consumption. 30 The recently renovated Hackesche Höfe and Heckmann

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Höfe in the Mitte district are successful examples of Berlin’s public courtyards. Still today they bring a social mixture and lively atmosphere to the city, showing how the old courtyard tradition can find new, successful interpretations and contribute to a unique experience of urban spaces. These courtyards are very popular mixed-use environments, consisting of relatively small scale retail, restaurant, galleries, (film)theatres, and small enterprises often related to creative industries. The upper floors are usually in residential use and therefore the courtyards are often closed during night time. 31 What is surprising in their appearance, is the calm and relaxed atmosphere which is somewhat different from the usual image of a popular commercial or touristic environment. Entering these courtyards can bring a surprising satisfaction of personal discovery of new routes and unexpected mixture of activities. In the courtyard labyrinth of Hackesche Höfe, in the middle of the city, one can find expensive boutiques and cafes but also all kinds of people relaxing and lying down on benches under a tree. The relaxed atmosphere is so strong in some of the courtyards, that one almost feels as if entering someone’s private backyard.

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The “Ost-West Galerie” at Zimmerstraβe 90-91,1990

Post card, "Clou - Berliner Konzerthaus", 1912

Post card, "Berliner Konzert-Haus", 1917

Gallery “Upstairs Berlin”, 2006

[Postblock: gallery courtyards and mixed use] The Berlin courtyards are interesting both as a social and spatial structure. As the historical maps of the Postblock indicate, the courtyard structure developed also here, reaching its maximum density around 1900. In these times of overpopulation, the courtyards became subdivided into even smaller units by added wings and rear buildings. The remaining internal courtyards of the block are very peculiar in their spatial outlines but in terms of social activity they nowadays seem rather ghost-like. However, they still possess all the possibilities to develop into a more vibrant public space. One can already find a large number of established art galleries on the three remaining courtyards and one of the buildings along the street. The front building at Zimmerstraβe 90/91 has been recently renovated and taken into gallery use. The history of the building unveils also other public and cultural uses during its past – and shares its part of the political events of the last century. Around 1900, the densification of the block structure had brought about a variety of uses besides the residential: private entrepreneurship, manufacture and press. Maps from 1900 and 1910 present the main public functions: the market hall, the booksellers’ courtyard (the Buchhändlerhof ) and the post headquarters.

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The market hall, called “Markthalle III” or “Zimmerhalle” was built 18831886 by Hermann Blankenstein in the Schinkelschule style. It was one of the 14 municipal market halls in Berlin, the remains of which are listed as heritage sites today. Around 1910-1912 the Markthalle III was converted to a concert venue for 4000 people: the “Konzerthaus Clou”. It was a popular venue for large events such as concerts and variety performances during Berlin’s golden years. However, due to its location close to the administration areas, the front building got occupied by national socialistic printing firms, such as the Völkischer Beobachter, during the 1930s.The cellars were used for interrogations by the Gestapo. On the other side of the block were located the private headquarters of Hitler. Consequently, the joyful story of Konzerthaus Clou turned into other directions in May 1927, when the hall became the venue of Adolf Hitler’s first speech to a mass audience in Berlin. Later, it was taken into propaganda use and closed as an entertainment venue in 1943. From then on, the hall was used as one of Berlin’s four deportation camps, the “Lager IV”. The hall was nearly completely destroyed in the Second World War, and only the front building at Zimmerstraße 90/91 survived. 32

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1

2

3

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Wall painting in Neukรถlln, Berlin

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3.5. Design of Urban Public Space: Criticism and New Concepts How is culture reflected, in all its higher, lower or ethnic forms, in the design of public urban space? Why does it seem that a great deal of the contemporary public space is restricting rather than enabling? The cities’ cultural and attractive potentials are all related to the lived and experienced urban space. Yet many critics have pointed out that the lived, experienced space is often not adequately considered in planning and architectural design. The critique of 20th century’s modernistic space conception suggests that it has been operating on a too narrow reality, undressed from actual meanings and focusing on the abstracted physical and visual aspects of space, with a lack of understanding of its social dimensions. One of the most influential authors in this sense is Henri Lefebvre, who has suggested that all human space is fundamentally a social phenomenon. 33 As the concepts of creative city and innovation are nowadays being almost overused when discussing new urban strategies, we should ask, whether a creative city can actually be designed. If so, what kind of planning could be successful in this sense? Could it be that design itself is not enough, but that we need to allow and support the individuals living in cities to initiate ideas and also put them into practice? After all, the source of creativity lies within the people; therefore their voice should be recognised. To a large extent, this is a question of attitudes, both 3 Problematics of Public Urban Space

within people and the decision makers. The design policies directing urban developments should be able to co-operate with the innovations from the public. The temporary uses in this sense have shown an example of a so-called “self-service city”, where public space is produced by the public itself. As architect and author Stan Allen describes, the architect’s role should be to “make a space for that public – to create the conditions where the public can freely exercise its collective creativity.”

For me, a successful public space is precisely a space where something unanticipated happens. So the job of the architects becomes calibrating the right measure, understanding flow and access, while always leaving some noise in the system, a degree of ‘play’, that allows for the unexpected. The architect’s job is to create spaces with potential. That potential is in turn activated by the way in which the space is put to use – put into play – by the public itself.” Stan Allen 34

Architect Rem Koolhaas has expressed that ’urbanism’ as a profession, is under a threat of being lost or becoming like ‘architecture’. In his words, urbanism ideally generates potentials whereas architecture consumes, exploits and exhausts them. He argues that architecture has become stuck in the modernist illusion of “involvement and control” and a “hypocritical relationship with power”. It seems that the ‘urbanism’ in Koolhaas’ sense is clearly a more cultural, mixed and experimental activity than planning or architecture as they are commonly practised. Koolhaas announces that urbanism should redefine itself, “lighten up”, and learn “to accept what exists”. To meet the challenges of complex, changing urban environment in a sustainable way, planning methods need to apply more open principles, not always start with an empty table but learn to appreciate what already exists and find the poetry also in the unexpected and uncertain qualities.

If there is to be a ‘new urbanism’ it will not be based on the twin fantasies of order and omnipotence; it will be the staging of uncertainty; it will no longer be concerned with the arrangement of more or less permanent objects but with the irrigation of territories with potential.” Rem Koolhaas 35

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Gordon Cullen, Homes for Today and Tomorrow, 1961

Cedric Price: Fun Palace, desicned for Joan Littlewood, 1961

Weak Planning

Architect Panu Lehtovuori argues that architects and planners today operate in an artificial reality that is formed by the planning practices themselves. He suggests that this professional reality, the “concept city”, is too narrow and distinct from the complex lived reality; it focuses only on the visual representation of space as a geometrical object and a totalised view from above. Lehtovuori has in his recent doctoral thesis aimed at an expanded spatial theory, based on Lefebvre’s spatial conception. He suggests an “experiential approach” to the design of urban public space. This would consist of the physical space, its use and the “personal, singular moments of invention and existentially important experiences”. Therefore, also the everyday level of experience of space and the social meaning of events should become important for urban public space. Lehtovuori calls for a ”weak” planning that would leave open a margin for unexpected activities – weak signals than can nevertheless have an important contribution to future developments. 36 The temporary use of urban space is one form of these weak signals bubbling under, which have however laid their impact also on a larger scale. 86

City as a Loft

The concept of the city as a loft is introduced by the Dutch influential architect and professor Kees Christiaanse. In his model, urban spaces should be viewed as loft spaces but in a larger scale: frames that can flexibly host different programmes and lifestyles and be occupied and changed with few but effective means. The reuse of existing qualities, both physical and social, can bring new interpretations and historical depth to the design. Chistiaanse’s concept in a sense shares similarities with Lehtovuori’s idea of the open margin that leaves room for change and unexpected activities. Within this margin, the tactics of temporary uses can be applied. In this sense, the built urban environment could be viewed as a forest with public right of access. The basis for new strategies for the urban residual areas, according to Christiaanse, is to direct a gradual and openended development that can adapt to changes of the future. In his model, the starting point for new developments is always in what already exists: both the physical structures and social activities should be recognised as “mutually

complementary and fertilizing processes as lasting capital.” The temporary uses we have discussed in this work, are examples of reinterpreting the existing qualities of a site in the same sense as Christiaanse describes; they take a space into use with limited resources, therefore always building on what already exists. In a new sense, they reinforce the ‘genius loci’ 38 of the site. 37

Flexibility and Frame

What does Christiaanse mean with “frame”? What are the ways to leave an open margin for the changes in the future? These questions bring us to the idea of flexibility that has recently made a comeback on the arena of architectural discourse. Flexible structures were earlier developed particularly in 1950s, 60s and 70s, when architectural groups such as Team X, the Metabolists, Situationists and Structuralists attacked the functionalist terms of urban planning. Their inspiring ideas however were often resulted in rather technically loaded systems that did not always work in reality. Today we can learn from the shortcomings of the previous models of flexibility and put less faith 3 Problematics of Public Urban Space


into the omnipotence of technology; however, also our resources are better. Today’s focus has thus moved towards method development, computer-aided flexible design and modularity rather than infrastructure. New ideas of more organic growth have also been presented, based on topological connectivity and flexibility in the form of free flow within a structure. In the context of urbanism, a new emerging field of design is called “landscape urbanism”, as a synthetic discipline incorporating insights of ecology, infrastructure and urbanism. It offers new insights that can be applied also to the design of urban void spaces. In relation to the themes discussed in this work, landscape urbanism presents the ideas of an open field with indeterminate programme or multiple uses, and the selforganisation and emergence of activities. Although these ideas sound promising and can lead to new possibilities, a very critical challenge remains: how to design those initial conditions that allow right balance between precision and freedom.39 Let us now return to the question expressed in the beginning of the study: Can we as planners and architects accept the urban realities: the complex, uncertain and changing nature of cities? Can we support the city as it is, can we even enhance its underlying potentials and not restrict or erase them? Can we let the voice of the city’s inhabitants be heard? The urban residual areas, where truly urban qualities have emerged as counter-effects to the more controlled environments, show a good ground for testing new planning methods and developing new ideas. The following proposals for the Postblock aim at reinforcing the unique characteristics of the site with the help of temporary uses and the active participation of the city’s inhabitants, and illustrate what kind of developments these might lead to in the future.

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Archigram: Instant City, collage, 1969

Kisho Kurokawa: Helicoids project, 1961 Yona Friedman: Study for Spatial City, 1960s

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When architecture is seen as a continuous process, in which theses and antitheses are dialectically integrated, or as a process, in which history is closely involved as anticipation of history, in which the past has the same weight as looking forward to the future, then the process of transformation is not only the instrument of design but it is the very object of design. At the same time it becomes possible to make reference to the specific reality of each individual site where the architecture will be built – and therefore to the genius loci – and to discover the poetry of the place and give it expression. In this way the site is used to its best advantage.” Oswald Matthias Ungers 40

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References, Chapter 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

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La Varra 2000; Christiaanse 2002 Gentrification, or urban gentrification, is a term applied to the part of the urban housing cycle in which physically deteriorated neighbourhoods attract an influx of investment and undergo physical renovation and an increase in property market values. In many cases, the lower-income residents who occupied the neighbourhood prior to its renovation can no longer afford properties there. (Wikipedia) Lehtovuori 2005, abstract; La Varra 2000 Lehtovuori 2005, p.58 Chung et al. 2001 Avermaete 2001; Cupers & Miessen 2002, p.12 Sennett 1974, p.39 Sennett 2000; Lehtovuori 2005, p. 15 Lehtovuori 2005, p. 15 Idem. p. 74, 163; Christiaanse 2002 Bengs et al. 2002, p. 12 Stimman 2002 Oswalt 1998 Obrist 2003 Ungers &Ungers 1982, p.73 Oswalt 1998 Idem; Ungers & Ungers 1982 Koolhaas 1995, p. 199-203, 215-231 Idem. p. 199-203 Bengs et al. 2002, p. 13 Gliemann 2004 p. 23-30 Oswalt & Rieniets 2006; http://www.shrinkingcities.com http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berliini; Interviews: Philipp Oswalt, Udo Dittfürth For example: Jane Jacobs: The Life and Death of Great American Cities, 1961 and Manuel Castell’s early works

25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Rutten 2005; Florida 2005 Overmeyer et al. 2007, p. 36, 130, 138 Toivonen et al. 2007 The German word ‘Kiez’ is used in the meaning of a small district, an “urban village” Salmela 2008, translated from Finnish by HH Geist 1983, Avermaete 2001 Clelland 1983, p.13; http://www.stadtentwicklung.berlin.de/umwelt/ umweltatlas/edb607_01.htm#lk1

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Florentine 2005; Immobilien Zeitung 2005, p.30 www.andreas-praefcke.de/carthalia/germany/berlin_clou.htm http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Market_halls_in_Berlin

33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

Lehtovuori 2005, p. 74; Lefebvre 1991 [1974], p. 68 Wiley 2008, p. 102-103 Koolhaas 1995, p. 959/971 Lehtovuori 2005 Christiaanse 2002 In the context of Modern architectural theory the concept of ‘genius loci’ – the spirit of the place – has been used especially with the phenomenological approach to architecture. This field of architectural discourse is explored most notably by the theorist Christian Norberg-Schulz in his book, Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture. (Wikipedia) Wiley 2008; Eaton 2001. p. 214-235; Forty 2000, p.142-148 Ungers 1982, p.15

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4 Urban Dream Management – Future Scenarios for the Postblock


4. Urban Dream Management – Future Scenarios for the Postblock

After its past with a flourishing of culture, a lively mixture of different uses and deeply tragic events reflecting the world history, The Postblock has been lying virtually unused and inaccessible for decades. Even today, due to a number of reasons discussed in previous chapters, no precise plans for its permanent use exist. How then could we take into use the potentials the site offers and thus also contribute to revitalising its surroundings? This chapter will focus on new ideas for revitalising the Postblock, in the form of scenarios that emphasize the role temporary uses can play in this development. The aim is to create a positive “domino effect”, where an intervention on one part can attract other users and trigger further developments. The scenarios illustrate potential positive impacts of temporary uses: what kind of uses might develop on the site in the first place, which benefits they would offer, and what kind of long term influences they might lead to. The new proposals also refer to the history of the site, which cannot really be passed without banality. I think the new poetry of the Postblock can be found – in relation to its tragic history with violence and authoritarian control – in a new, optimistic and open minded attitude, supporting the encounters of different people in a friendly and fruitful way, creativity, the continuation and joy of life and also peaceful relaxation in the midst of the urban chaos. In this way, the scenarios present ideas based on the site-specific qualities of the Postblock, but in a way to be interpreted also in relation to other corresponding areas – in Berlin, Helsinki or elsewhere.

4 Urban Dream Management – Future Scenarios for the Postblock

The temporary uses here are seen as a wild card in the urban game; an unpredictable factor that can lead the game into new dimensions. Temporary uses can trigger positive developments that lead to new possibilities; they may also develop into more prominent forms and attract other, more established players on the site. The fixed or formal levels can interact with the temporary, creating synergy effects. Consequently, even if more permanent uses appear, leaving an open margin for undefined temporary usage is a way to ensure flexibility and adaptability to changing needs in the future. Apart from indicating potentials of temporary uses, the scenarios emphasize the social aspects related to the use of public urban space. We are viewing different possible storylines in this urban game, where different users can interact, form networks, develop ideas and give their own input to the design of urban space, as ”real-time urbanists”. A new public space is presented, that is created by the public itself. We can imagine asking people the questions: ”What would make you move here?” Or: ”What are the things you dream of ? What do you think would make your neighbourhood a better place?” And then encourage people to make these dreams actually happen. In the realisation, however, professional assistance and financing solutions might be needed – this is where the new profession of Urban Dream Managers can step into the game.

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4.1 Steps Towards Urban Dream Management 03 Attractivity…

04 ... Means Innovation In a city where everyone has a voice, innovation is more likely to take place. Important components of the dream management, are new methods, systems and platforms for collective brainstorming. Even small ideas can lead to positive effects; small scale innovations can pull bigger and more established actors to new locations. A community where people feel that their voice is recognised and found useful is likely to support and motivate the creation of new ideas. Berlin, with its roots of innovation already in its early industrial past, shows a model example of this. 5

A place that attracts and welcomes outsiders is also likely to be a place that the inhabitants can enjoy. The innovative, creative milieus are built with the creative input from the city’s inhabitants as a building material. This is likely to result in both socially and spatially attractive surroundings. A feeling of self-actualisation and being able to contribute to one’s own surroundings even in the city centre, contributes to more attractive, safer neighbourhoods and encourages also people’s sense of responsibility.

01 Public Space Created by the Public The essential part of Urban Dream Management is formed by the people, the citizens themselves, with their innovative attitude, a spirit of doing together and responsibility for their city. A successful public space is a space created and used by people in their own, creative way– not dictated from above but emerging from below, from the sides. Citizens can make things happen themselves if they want to, and even better so, together with others. Control or even the feeling that one has control over events is paramount in establishing and refining a more sustainable process of urban change and development. The temporary uses of abandoned spaces show a pioneering example in this self-initiated urbanism that also brings mixture and diversity back into urban life.

In order to make one’s own dreams happen, collaboration with others is not only necessary but can help to develop the ideas further into feasible forms. A spirit of peer power drives forward better than envy and prejudice. Networks between different professionals can create synergies, and ideas can be crystallised. If traditional hierarchies are loosened, the informal and formal levels can interact and benefit from each other. 1 92

02 Open Sources = Concept Diversity Urbanism today should become more able to meet the requirements of increasingly differentiated and dynamic types of use, life-styles and economies. A new kind of urban development is needed, which is not entirely predetermined but open towards new initiatives and changing conditions. Urbanism could work in similar ways as many software developments today. The open source software, examples of which are the internet browser Mozilla Firefox and the Linux operating system, are maintained and built by a large network of volunteer programmers, and the most important principle is that the source code is openly available. 2 The open source urbanism – a new operating system and user interface for the city – would complement the existing planning framework with new operative models, allowing input from the public and involving a broad spectrum of social initiatives in creating the city. It would be based on free exchange of information, collective creativity, and mutual cooperation. This process-oriented planning would include also informal and open-ended factors as a complementing tool, and therefore result in a more transparent development process, including a wider range of scenarios and active participation of the public. 3 4 Urban Dream Management – Future Scenarios for the Postblock


05

Unexpected encounters, Critical Mixtures

Images from left to right: Kranbahnpark, Berlin Architecture workshop in Japan, 2004 Street posters in Berlin The film “Metropolis” by Fritz Lang, 1926-27 The “Ost-West Galerie” at Zimmerstraβe, 1990s Hot air balloon event in Berlin, 1908 Cedric Price: sketch for the Fun Palace project

A city that is truly urban, will cater for a multitude of different lifestyles, social groups, ages and nationalities, allowing them all to have impact on the urban surroundings. The open source urbanism would therefore reintroduce the city in the sense defined by Richard Sennett as “a human settlement where strangers are likely to meet”4 – if they choose so. It would allow mixtures of activities that can complement each other in unexpected ways. Mixtures of informal and formal levels working together would contribute to a livelier urban environment. I would call this a critical mixture, bringing a certain edge that is needed to reinforce the identity of a place and enable unique experience of space to take place.

07

06 Perspectives in Time and Space The questions of temporariness in urban management bring into light an essential understanding of time perspectives. If urban development is not only seen as a linear curve, but a more complex process with different changing parameters, the situations can be adapted to changes in short or long time spans. Short term solutions do not have to contradict with long term ones, but they can also complement each other. A multi-faceted usage, for example layered use of a site or a space depending on time of day and seasonal change, can result in more flexible, sustainable and efficient use of space. Even in permanent solutions, leaving some spare space for the polyvalent and temporary uses, can be a way to ensure adaptability to changing needs in the future. Designed with future changes in mind, the city becomes like a loft. 6 4 Urban Dream Management – Future Scenarios for the Postblock

The Urban Catalyst Temporary uses can fill in the time gaps of urban planning in a productive way. They can also be a tool in unfolding the existing potentials of a location, even the most peculiar ones, and strengthening its identity: reinterpreting and reusing in a creative way what is already present. Temporary interventions, cultural reprogramming or one-off events can help to rediscover hidden but positive qualities and bring into light unexpected urban potentialities, captivating new urban entities and inspiring future strategies in places that lack coherent visions for the future. Therefore, allowing temporary uses can also lead to new long term solutions.

08 The Dream Machine The core principle in creating a city that belongs to its inhabitants is to allow and encourage people to dream in a big way. We should not start with thinking of what is not possible, but let ourselves dream of the impossible, and then perhaps put our feet to the ground and find ways to turn our dreams into reality. In this process, much needed components are networks linking up different communities and professions, supported by a framework on a municipal level. The architect as a dream manager can contribute to the creation of new, inspiring urban entities where people feel they belong. 93


4.2 Zimmerstraβe Scenarios

Bjørn & Lisa

03

Ömur

HOME STATION

MUSEUM OF COMMUNICATION

THE E-WERK

02

Ben

05

SLOW FOOD FIELD

06

URBAN OASIS

Ronny & Elisabeth

04

THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE

MARTIN-GROPIUS BAU

CATWALK COURTYARDS

01

TOPOGRAPHY OF TERROR

Minh-An

MEMORIAL LIGHT Christian

SCENOGRAPHIC SWIMMING ZIMMERSTRAβE GALLERIES

CHECKPOINT CHARLIE

Camilla 94

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Potentials of the area -The courtyards: new public spaces, potential reinterpretation of the traditional höfe - The poetry of fragments; unusual spatial structure -Routes through the large block; need enhancing -Existing buildings with potential; possible co-operation with new projects: Museum of Communication, The gallery centre, The E-Werk venue, Private offices, Ministry of Finance

05 03

-Art, media -Individual interventions, signs of innovation -International atmosphere -History, memory, stories, nostalgia

02 MUSEUM OF COMMUNICATION

CHECKPOINT CHARLIE

THE E-WERK ZIMMERSTRAβE GALLERIES

THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE

06 TOPOGRAPHY OF TERROR MARTINGROPIUS BAU

AXONOMETRIC VIEW FROM SOUTH WEST, 1: 4000 4 Urban Dream Management – Future Scenarios for the Postblock

01

04

Problems of the area - The inaccessibility of the exterior areas – little relation with the block and the street - Lack of vibrant public life - The streets are used only as a transport space; services and activities that communicate with the sidewalk are needed - The present program of the area is very homogenous and concentrated on day-time use - The present target group is too narrow, consisting mainly 95 of working-age office people and tourists


“I live in Malmö, Sweden and often come to visit Berlin because of its great atmosphere and the choice of events. Last time I stayed here at the Zimmerstraβe camping site, which was a one of a kind experience. I also made a lot of new friends and professional connections at that time. Some of these people live in Berlin and this time I’ve come to visit them. I really love the ‘Zimmerbad’ – since the summers have become terribly warm, it has changed this dusty and hot furnace into a pleasurable place you don’t want to leave at all. The only problem is it’s so crowded – I would suggest they open more such places in the centre of Berlin!” Camilla, 25 y

Scenographic Swimming, 2010 The pit facing the E-Werk building on Zimmerstraβe has been turned into an outdoor swimming pool “Zimmerbad”, also called as “Badezimmer” (=bathroom). At nights, films and multimedia works are projected on the back wall of the narrow brick building standing next to the pool. Several urban festivals have been using the pool as a stage with a swimming audience. In the winter, a smaller outdoor swimming pool is open, connected to a temporary sauna department, together with a scenographic ice skating rink. The idea was developed by a private investor working with artist and media networks. The gallery ‘Upstairs Berlin’ at the neighbouring gallery hub was chosen to curate the works shown here. Apart from art, music and media, the visitors can enjoy the variety of food and wellness services that have rapidly been established nearby: massage, yoga, meditation, hairdressers and day spas. 96

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The Slow Food Field, 2011 Ben (84 years) was born in Berlin in 1927. He vaguely remembers having visited with his aunt, as a little boy, the beautiful market hall and the Buchhändlerhof courtyard at Zimmerstraβe, before those were destroyed in the Second World War. He now lives nearby, on the former east side, and often comes to visit the Slow Food Gardens with his grand daughter Kerstin. She is eager to learn the traditional ways of growing plants and vegetables – which is now possible even in the centre of Berlin since the car traffic was radically reduced due to harsh taxation. Ben belongs to a local slow food circle, together with many of his neighbours. As a retired chef, he also often delights his neighbours by cooking sumptuous meals using the homegrown vegetables. The Slow Food Field project was started by a neighbourhood society initiative. It was accepted by the

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municipal authority as a short term solution for the unused Postblock. The use permission contract is based on the users’ maintenance of the site, leaving the land owners free of extra costs and reducing vandalism. The municipality even agreed to finance solar panels to support this project and encourage other such self-initiated developments in Berlin. The project is a pioneer in a new era of farming, manifesting the emerging ‘urban farmer’ profession, and the growing appreciation of locally grown, additive-free food. The farm and the city have begun to function as one integral system combining the pleasure of open sky and land with the richness of city living. In addition, the neighbourhood society also wanted to re-establish the children-grandparents-relationship and mutual crossgenerational learning; benefiting from both traditions and

new technologies. Soon after the start, also a slow food restaurant and bio-delicacy shop trend has developed around the site. The area has been discovered also as a place of relaxation and meditation, by workers in the surroundings. The greenhouses are used, apart from growing plants, also for different workshops, and even wintertime dancing, temporary restaurants and other events. The neighbouring galleries at Zimmerstraβe 89-91 have shown interest in joint environmental art projects. In the summer, after a hot day at the field, it is refreshing to dip oneself into the adjacent ‘Zimmerbad’ swimming pool as well.

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I opened a new restaurant here, expanding my business from Kreuzberg. The appreciation of well-prepared, tasty food made of fresh, organic ingredients has really exploded especially in Germany and my line of business is doing very well – although competition is getting harder. The location is very convenient because I can bring my children to the nearby kindergarten that is run by the neighbourhood society. My boys also really enjoy visiting the Museum of Communication at the other corner of the block, with their wide collection of inspiring old-fashioned technical devices.” Ömur, 35y

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We first met each other on the Zimmestraβe camping site. It was in the year 2009, when we both took part in this temporary 3-month project that became a success with the public. Tourists, visiting artists, schoolchildren’s groups, and even EU politicians came to test the new kind of urban camping in the heart of the city. We have now returned to the same location that carries good memories and suits well our lifestyle: we live in three cities – Berlin, Tokyo and New York. This is our temporary home station where we rent a bedroom, a shared workshop space and a garage for their hydrogen car. We usually come here for 2-3 months, sometimes only for a week. During these times, our children also get a place at the adjacent ‘school station’, where they often meet many of their friends from other nomadic families as well. Lisa, 35 and Bjørn, 38

The Home Station, 2022 The home station was developed on the site gradually, as a response to the growing phenomenon of dispersing homes and mobility, and Berlin having always been, characteristically, a city of migrants. It is a temporary, quickly applicable solution that still offers more than just a bed: the new resident can quickly modify and identify the rented space as their own home with a set of tools provided.

centred around public courtyards, and therefore introduce new public routes through the site, in connection to the old existing courtyards that have been upgraded into public use as well. The block structure is also broken by openings on above levels – bringing the courtyard idea into a threedimensional level. These smaller exterior openings act as multi-usable semi-public areas and frame views to the surroundings from new perspectives.

The first stage of the project was started as an experiment organised in connection with the Designmai festival: ideas for temporary and mobile home and work solutions were tested on the site for a starting period of three years. After that, a pioneer project found an investor and plans were made in connection to other projects developing in the block.

The users of the home station are provided with different alternatives that they can choose and combine. These spaces are of private, shared or public nature: room, atelier, (common) kitchen, bath, laundry, meditation room, children facilities, negotiation rooms, workshops, restaurants, cafes, shops, gyms, library, etc. Some of the collective units can be used for different purposes during day and night or different seasons. They are actively used, not only by the residents of the building but also by other people working nearby or occasional passers-by.

The present home station is part of the new blocks that have been designed as a reinterpretation of the historical courtyard block structure. It consists of units that are

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I live in a penthouse at one of the old buildings at Mauerstraβe. At nights, I have a fascinating view to the new Memorial Light installation. For a long time, it used to be just a muddy pit. On the other side of my apartment, I can see lights of the towers at the new Potsdamer Platz. I work at the Ministry of Finance and we often have lunch at the ‘Slow Food Gardens’ organic restaurants. For our co-officers commuting from Bonn, we have a permanent booking at the new hotel built on the corner of Zimmer and Wilhelmstraβe. My wife is a multimedia artist; she has often been showing her works at the ‘Zimmerbad’ swimming pool screen, which is curated by one of the galleries nearby. Currently she is planning a temporary installation in connection to the Memorial Light.” Christian, 51 y

Memorial Light, 2009 After years of debate, as a result of an idea competition, the politically sensitive Checkpoint Charlie corner has found a solution. A light installation marking the superimposed outlines of previously existing building blocks has been installed, as a place of meditation and memory without an underlined aspect of grieving or guilt. Previously there were plans for normal office blocks to be built on this site, but the public opinion was strongly against such banal wiping out of the cold war memory. The light installation will be funded by the German government together with private donations. After long discussions, even the bank owning the land, agreed to give their share to the project.

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We came from Norway and settled in Berlin long ago; we have tried many different districts of Berlin but we’re now planning to move in the new Urban Oasis Building. We bought a large flat in Prenzlauer Berg in 2005, when the prices were still ridiculously cheap – now that our property value has almost tripled, we can afford this central location. Actually, the new building here is also planned to offer several different price categories and different types of ownership. Ronny is a performance artist, organising self-expression classes for all age groups, and the location is very convenient for him. He also wishes to organise Bollywood dance performances and such at home; therefore we need a large living room that can be transformed into a performance hall in max. 30 mins. In this flexible building it will be easily arranged. For me, Elisabeth, this will also be a perfect place to run my shiatsu massage practice at home.” Elisabeth, 48 and Ronny, 53

The Urban Oasis, 2031 After the Slow Food Field became popular as a public feature, investors started getting interested in developing the area; it was turned into a permanent park with modified topography, using soil from other areas of rapid development in Berlin. In the densely built centre of Berlin, a public decision was made to maintain some of these open areas as urban oases. Parts of the park are still rented for allotment use, other parts used for public recreation. The hills form a new kind of urban space, which was in the first development phase combined with temporary tent structures and such in order to host different events. There are plans for a snake-form hybrid use building (consisting of living, working, shared multipurpose spaces, 104

elderly home and different lifestyle/wellness services) to be built to separate the gardens from the street and to create a more silent area inside. Thus the park will become a hidden oasis of recreation, relaxation and inner/outer health and balance. The adjacent swimming pool and ice-skating rink have attracted other sports, health and beauty -related ventures to participate in this new building. The place is already used by a variety of different groups of old and young people – after the new building is finished, it is likely that even more elderly people will be able to benefit from the peaceful park and the variety of services provided.

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The Catwalk Courtyards, 2015 The Gallery hub at Zimmerstraβe 89-91 has started to pull more and more actors to the site. In addition to art, also design and fashion related groups are showing their interest in the location, with its potential in event production (E-Werk), an interesting shooting scene with political, historical and underground references, the international art connections and a good commercial potential; an alternative for the exclusively luxurious Friedrichstraβe nearby. By now the formerly run down courtyards have been upgraded into a fascinating complex of design, art, media (books, magazines, film) and fashion: galleries, workshops, small shops and cafes. The enjoyable and varied atmosphere of the courtyards and the adjacent slow food gardens has also started to pull more and more residents into the area: an initiative has now been made for refurbishment of the unused 1970’s office buildings around the corner at Leipziger Straβe into urban housing lofts. A lot of young people are inspired with the ‘ostalgia’ of these large blocks. The gallery boom here was really provoked by the Designmai festival that was held on the site in 2009, with the theme on temporary spatial innovations and mobile urban infrastructure, which resulted in the Home Station project. The festival used both the E-Werk industrial halls and the large outdoor spaces on Zimmer- and 106

Wilhelmstraβe, and the outdoor swimming pool as an event arena. The following year, the fashion fair ‘Ideal Berlin’ was organised here, which made the small fashion labels realise the potential of the location. Now also bigger international actors have started showing their interest in collaboration with small-scale independent labels. At first, Camper and Puma opened their temporary concept shops which brought more publicity also for the small labels – and more are coming. The municipality has stipulated that as a condition for building permission, the big international companies must also assist in funding a new cultural centre on the neighbouring site. A certain budget is allocated for offering lower rents for small businesses on the location, in order to maintain the ‘critical mixture’. The start-ups are considered important for the image of the location, since they are innovative and bring important edge and originality to the atmosphere. More and more, the start-up companies and more established businesses are also willing to collaborate with each other. Another part of the Postblock that has been in reserve for governmental purposes, is now planned to become the site for a new Ministry of Creative Economy that would collaborate with the adjacent Ministry of Finance at Wilhelmstraβe. The different creative industry related actors on the site would act as a research laboratory for the Ministry, and a base for new pioneer projects. 4 Urban Dream Management – Future Scenarios for the Postblock


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I opened a gallery here in 2001, because of the good reputation of the location. We’ve now, as a joint effort, renovated the buildings and upgraded the look of the courtyards. More and more galleries, fashion shops and cafes are moving in, and we are often organising openings on the same day. A lot of foreign art investors visit these galleries, fascinated by our cutting edge selections. We have a long line of artists queuing up for exhibiting here.” Minh-An, 35

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References, Chapter 4

4 Urban Dream Management – Future Scenarios for the Postblock

1

Toivonen et al. 2007; Wiley 2008

2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source

3

Misselwitz et al. 2007, p. 107

4

Sennett 1974, p.39

5

Florida 2005; Rutten 2005; Toivonen et al. 2007

6

City as a Loft, concept introduced by Kees Christiaanse; Christiaanse 2002

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Epilogue The first time I came to Berlin was an early morning in November 2002 – I arrived at a bus station that seemed somewhere out of nowhere. It was dark and cold, wet snow raining from the sky. I took the train that travels across the centre of the city, getting glimpses of the discontinuous image of how west transforms to east. I immediately got attached to the melancholic, grey mood of the city. Even though I have later seen a lot of sunshine in this city, the grey, nostalgic melancholy is still the strongest imprint in my mind. It is a dark but positive image, with a sense of freedom and openness towards a future where anything could be possible. Coming to Berlin as an architect felt somewhat controversial because I never could find Berlin interesting in a ”normal” architectural way; there are only fragments of historical beauty, the city structure is a chaos, and there are very few interesting contemporary buildings. In fact, exactly this made the city look interesting. The features I did find unique and inspiring were related to the city itself, things that make a city truly urban: the complexity, mixture and a sense of life. Therefore, it was fascinating to come to Berlin as a person, and experience the city with all its surprises. The urban wastelands and their temporary uses are an example of the surprises Berlin has to offer – apart from that they also show how the voice and initiatives of the city’s inhabitants have shaped the city. This is one of the reasons that in my opinion make Berlin such an attractive and liveable place. Berlin has been successful in understanding the potential of temporary uses and active participation also on a municipal level; why could this not happen also in my hometown Helsinki?

Right now, near its central areas, Helsinki has several areas under development: changing industrial sites and whole new districts, that could adopt the potentials of temporary uses and events in their development in order to guarantee the emerging of a lively and up to date urban environment. Also in the existing centre of Helsinki, there are numerous underused spots – small alleys, courtyards, pocket parks and such – for which a more flexible legislation and more allowing attitudes could give the starting shot to take them into use as active urban spaces. In the Helsinki region today, the concepts of innovation and creative city are almost overused in political discussions, to the extent that their actual meaning and content seems to be blurred. However, little emphasis is put on the actual sources of creativity, which in my opinion lie within an open minded atmosphere with positive attitudes that encourage the innovative spirit of the individuals. I think the temporary uses of urban space should be seen as one form of the flourishing of creativity that enables unique experiences of the city and can contribute to a more liveable, inspiring environment and also economic growth. Berlin has shown a successful example particularly because of its allowing attitudes, a proper balance between freedom and control and successful modes of co-operation between formal and informal fields. Eventually, the biggest challenge in supporting temporary uses also in Helsinki lies within the attitudes and mutual trust between different players. The inhabitants of a city and their ideas and wishes should be recognised as creative capital – building material for a better and more inspiring city. During this thesis work, a lot of questions regarding temporary uses and citizens’ active

participation have arisen, which should be met on several levels in the city: municipal decision-making, town planning, real estate, city authorities, police, health regulations, and the inhabitants themselves. In the era of tuning, recycling and reuse, also urban spaces can be seen as raw material that can be reused and reinterpreted over and over again, as a part of a culturally and environmentally sustainable urban strategy. In Helsinki, the young generation’s innovative spirit and need for expressing their identity show in the street image, in the creative ways people dress up, tune and accessorize their outfits. Why, then, could these people not be allowed to tune their urban surroundings as well and make their city feel as a place where they belong? In this work, inspired by the Berlin example, I have proposed a broadening of the tasks of architects towards working as ‘urban dream managers’, helping people realise their dreams into feasible forms not always as built structures but also in the form of temporary uses. Furthermore, in the more traditional sense of spatial design, particularly as regards urban public space, it would be important for architects to keep up the spirit of ‘urban dream management’ – to understand design as generating spaces with potential. Spaces that come into existence when they are taken into use by people, in their own creative ways.

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Acknowledgements

During the challenging process of this work, I have come across surprisingly many friendly and helpful people and colleagues who have contributed to the progressing of the work.

original places in Berlin; all the professionals whom I interviewed and who gave me important information; all the others who helped me in solving practical questions while in Berlin.

First of all I would like to thank the thesis supervisor, Professor Trevor Harris, for an encouraging spirit that made it possible to start working on the topic, for patience and long discussions. I am much obliged also to my tutors Antti Ahlava and Anni Vartola for their critical and fruitful comments on the theoretical and conceptual part.

I would also like to thank Professor Klaus Zillich and architect Andreas Quednau at TU Berlin, who gave me comments during the fieldwork in Berlin. While visiting the Netherlands, where I have also studied, I was delighted to discuss with Professor Mark Pimlott and architect Birgitte Louise Hansen, who also gave fruitful comments on my project.

The support of my friends has been essential for this project. I would like to thank especially Camilla, Venla, Milja, Katariina, Hedwig, Mathilde, András and Aurel, for inspiring talks and much needed encouragement. I am grateful also to the members of my family, especially my mother for commenting on the texts, as well as Ville and Maara for their warm support. My warmest thanks to all the people who were helpful during my fieldwork and excursions to Berlin: people at Gallery 0047, where I shared a workspace: Martin Braathen, Elisabeth Byre, Carson Chan and all others; Meri Louekari and Hege Dons-Samset for collegial support and good talks; Ben, Jan and Bjørn, for guiding me around the most

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The financial support of the following institutions made the field work possible: The Finnish Cultural Foundation, The Arts Council of Helsinki Metropolitan Region, The Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA) and Helsinki University of Technology. The printing of the work has been supported by the research project Decomb. Last but not least, I would like to thank Berlin itself for being what it is – always new, inspiring, open minded and easy going – sometimes tiring, yet fresh and different.


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WEB PAGES Research projects: http://www.urbancatalyst.net http://www.shrinkingcities.com http://www.decomb.net/ http://www.wimby.nl/ Berlin town planning: http://www.stadtentwicklung.berlin.de/ http://www.bvspv.de/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin Agencies for temporary use in Berlin: www.liegenschaftsfonds-berlin.de www.stadtentwicklung.berlin.de/bauen/baulueckenmanagement/ www.quartiersmanagement-berlin.de www.zwischennutzungsagentur.de www.mediaspree.de/ www.josettihoefe.de Gallery 0047: http://www.projekt0047.com/oslo/index.php

INTERVIEWS Udo Dittfurth, town planner in Berlin, 12/ 2005 Philipp Oswalt, Berlin-based architect and author, project director for the Shrinking Cities research, 12/2005 Eve Hurford, Berlin-based architect and multimedia artist, 01/2006 Peter Unsicker, Artist and gallerist at Zimmerstraβe, 02/2006 Minh-An Ha, Curator at the gallery Upstairs Berlin, Zimmerstraβe, 02/2006 Helge Weiser, town planner in Mitte district, Berlin, 02/2006 Martin Eberle, photographer and author of the work ‘Temporary spaces’, 02/2006 116

Helsinki: http://www.hel.fi/ www.kaapelitehdas.fi www.voimala.eu http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5555466161 (Facebook group for the cultural factory Voimala) http://www.korjaamo.fi/ http://www.helsinkidesignweek.com/ http://www.designdistrict.fi/ http://www.greaterhelsinkivision.fi http://www.kolumbus.fi/juha.ilonen/Sivusto/etusivu.html (Olohuone Helsinki) http://www.hel-looks.com/ http://www.myymala2.com/


Image Credits p. 9 Uwe Walter

p. 54-55 from left/ 1 Harri Ahola/HS; 2 András Hári; 3-6 Isokangas, Karvala, Von Reiche 2000; 7 Janne Hirvonen; 8-10 Liisa Jokinen; 11 www.flickr.com; 12 http://fi.wikipedia.org

p. 26 from top left/ 1-3, 5 Aust & Stark 1992; 4 Meerwein 1978; 6-8 Stimman 2002 p. 59 www.flickr.com; www.wimby.nl; HH p. 27 Architekten-Verein zu Berlin (ed) 1877, p.50 p. 60 www.flickr.com/photos/gertrudk p. 28 from top left/ 1-2, 4-7 Oswalt 2000, p. 51-57; 8-9, 11 Pröfener 1998; 3, 10 HH p. 61 www.flickr.com.photos/breakdennis p. 29 Roters 1982; Balfour 1990, p. 60 p. 30, 32, 36/ Stimman 2002

p. 64-65 from left/ 1 Bauhaus Archiv; 2 www.facebook.com; 3,5 HH; 4 Zitty Berlin 25/2007 p. 26; 6 Aino Aspiala, Hella Hernberg, Sanna Meriläinen

p. 31 from left/ 1Reibetanz, Tibbe & Weiβ 1991; 2 Balfour 1990; 3, 4, 6 Mc Gee 2000; 5 HH

p. 67, 68 www.flick.com/photos/21617436@N00

p. 33 Balfour 1990; Topography of Terror exhibition

p. 75 from top left/ 1 Balfour 1990, p.173; 2-3 Eaton 2001, p. 176, 235

p. 35 Unsicker 2001; Kartenedition Pawlowski - Souvenirs & Postkarten Berlin

p. 79 www.flick.com/photos/21617436@N00

p. 37 from top left/ 1, 6 Reibetanz, Tibbe & Weiβ 1991; 2 Martin Eberle; 3-4 HH;

p. 82 http://www.andreas-praefcke.de/carthalia/germany/berlin_clou.htm; Reibetanz, Tibbe & Weiβ 1991; HH

p. 40 Oswalt 2000, p. 68

p. 86 http://themeasurestaken.blogspot.com/

p. 41 Uwe Walter

p. 87 Eaton 2001 p. 218, 220, 230

p. 42 from top left / 1-2, 5 Oswalt 2000 p. 68, 271; 3 Eberle 2001; 4 Uwe Walter; 6 HH; 7 Overmeyer et al. 2007 p.1; 8 Patrice Habans /Paris Match

p 92-93 from left/ 1 Overmeyer et al. 2007 p.81; 2-3 HH; 4 Roters 1982; 5 Reibetanz, Tibbe & Weiβ 1991; 6 Post card, Sammlung Eickemeyer, Berlin; 7 Cedric Price

p. 45 from top left/ 1 Overmeyer et al. 2007 p 71; 2-3 Archplus 180, 09/2006, p. 65; 4 HH; 5 Eve Hurford, 6 Wiebke Loeper; 7 www.designmai.de; 8 www.raumlabor-berlin.de

All other photos and illustrations by Hella Hernberg.

p. 47 Martin Eberle; www.hoyerundschindele.de p. 50 Martin Eberle; www.templace.com; www.flickr.com/photos/angermann p. 52 Mathilde Billaud p. 53 András Hári

117

Profile for Hella Hernberg

Urban Dream Management  

Master's thesis, Helsinki University of Technology, Department of Architecture © Hella Hernberg, 2008. All rights reserved.

Urban Dream Management  

Master's thesis, Helsinki University of Technology, Department of Architecture © Hella Hernberg, 2008. All rights reserved.

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