Places and People in Berlin III: Reusing formal industral Buildings

At ExRotaprint

At ExRotaprint

by Trusha Mitha and Tebogo Ramatlo

De –Industrilazation: exRotaprint

A former industrial building by Klaus Kirsten the architect is now a space of artistic expression and skills development. Artists were allowed to inhabit these old buildings and since there were no more industries and workshops. There was an uncertainty about the ownership of these estates and when artists showed value in these spaces – property prices went up.The building now employs new functions namely, language classes, carpenter workshops, office spaces, artist studios and metal workers – they all have a creative core and dock on other industries.The informality of the development, is the way in which the the whole compound developed, how artists that took initiative to finance a project that was not found feasible by higher authorities.

At Uferstudios

At Uferstudios

Re-Intergration: Uferstudios

Former Berlin Verkehrsbetriebe (Berlin Municipal Transport Services) garage now resides as a theatrical,music production and performance space. The transformation of the space was a movement of artists in collaboration with the federal government. The studios are used by several formal teaching institutions and independent artists as well.Multi-disciplinary professionals were involved in the transformation of this building into a functional theater production space, both for rehearsal and performance.

StattBad Wedding

StattBad Wedding

Transfromation: StattBad Wedding

Public bath house showers people with sensational orchestra music. A closed down public bath in Gerichtstr. 65, 13347 Berlin is now re-opened as a cultural centre which focuses on expressive and creative arts. The building functions on two levels, depending on varied and fixed functional aspects. The event spaces take place in the swimming pool areas, and spaces are adapted to suit the events. The fixed functions, such as the studios and work areas, are located in the changeroom areas.



Re- Generation: RAW

Raw “Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk“ is an inter-cultural project in the post industrial complex constructed in 1987. The space identifies itself with colourful graffiti walls that house cultural activities like skating and rock climbing. The bunker that was used protect workers from missile bombings during war is now used as a rock climbing wall around its external façade.



One thought on “Places and People in Berlin III: Reusing formal industral Buildings

  1. what i like about these initiatives is that these spaces were under-utilized or not used at all and through these initiatives people are being re-introduced to these “forgotten” parts of their city. i’m sure the tension evolves between commodification and public interest/ use -> but i think it is an important “dialogue” that needs to happen (as illustrated in a previous article). i find it quite inspiring, but become apprehensive if the inevitable influx of capital, to try and maximise profit. it is a natural process (organisation, exploitation, conservation, release/ breakdown and then back into organisation-re and again). i think we sometimes forget that these “systems” are natural in their PROCESS and context, even though they have the appearance of something that is INORGANIC. i’d love to see the analysis of these initiatives and similar ones in Joburg and the application of NATURAL PROCESS thinking to them and begin to preempt or become more resilient and adaptable to these changing conditions. i.e. creative industries looking for affordable space, moving into to areas, area becoming “acceptable” and aspirational due to current identity, then the process of exploitation where land developers attempt to “capitalise” which leads to an INEVITABLE – currently termed gentrification – exploitation – this will always lead to release/ breakdown. as planners and architects how do you PLAN and DESIGN for this in order for these “developments” to be more resilient and adapatable to changing conditions. i suspect closer cross-discipline (in a TRUE sense) will yield functional and empowering results. architects, town planners, sociologists, anthropologists, municipal administrators, relevant community representation etc in a dialogue that treats the current and potential community as the ultimate CLIENT.

    very excited to see where this goes and what happens

    thank you

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