Phase 3a · Article · Kunsthaus Tacheles

1 Introduction

After the fall of the Wall, this graffiti-slathered art squat became a permanent fixture on Oranienburger Strasse, drawing locals and tourists to its galleries, cultural venues, bizarre sculptures and beer garden. Although over time it lost much of its anarchic edge, it was still one of the few bastions of alternative spirit in this heavily gentrified area.

During the period of Germany’s union, the Aussiedlergesetze enabled immigration to Germany of some residents from the former Soviet Union. The current decade experiences an increasing influx from various Western countries. Especially young EU-Europeans are settling in the city.

2 Context

The Kuntshaus Tacheles was an occupied house with different services, theater, cafeterias, shops, bars, discotheques, and art galleries. Through a tacit participatory pact, all the agents in the building participated together to create a complex creative space, without judging the activities, raging from drug trades, to international art expositions.

As of 2010 there were approximately 900,000 people (about 28 percent of the population) with an immigrant background living in Berlin, with significant differences in their distribution. In the West-Berlin areas of Wedding, Neukölln and Berlin-Gesundbrunnen, foreign nationals and German nationals with an immigrant background make up nearly 70 percent of the population; areas of the former East Berlin have lower percentages.

The agents by the time the house was abandoned where:
Tacheles eV.
Gruppe TAcheles
Berlin’s City hall
HSH Nordbank (owners)
Andrés Duany (structuralist)
Café Zapata
Camera  (cinema)

3 Cronology of the strategies

It was built in 1908 as a department store and it had entrance on both sides (Friedrichstrasse and Oranienburger) and it was the second largest city center shopping mall in Europe.

After I World War, the building was abandoned until 1928 and it was used by AEG as the House of Technology, they used it to introduce products and advise customer, and the world’s first television broadcast took place here.

At the beginnings of the 30’s it was used by the Nazi party members and later de Central Land Office of the SS moved in. Finally, during the 2nd World War the second basement was flooded by the Nazis and part of the building suffered severe damage, but the rest was well preserved

In the 1950’s the old cinema (Camera) was too destroyed and they reopened on the Oranienburger street side, reusing the lecture hall of the AEG, rebuilding part of the façade to its final state.

Between the 1969 and 1977 they demolished part of the building, including the theatre and the dome, wich was still fully intact and they would demolish the rest in 1990

Shortly before the scheduled blast was still left standing rest of the building on 13 February of 1990, the artist initiative Tacheles occupied. Through negotiations with the Construction Authority Berlin-Mitte, which was responsible as a legal entity for the complex, and relying on conservation tried the occupiers to prevent demolition. Nevertheless, the house should be loud Magistrate Decision 150/90 on 10 April 1990 to be blown, whereupon the squatters at the Berlin Roundtable presented a request for urgency, which could stop the demolition being.

The building was brightly painted, debris from various sculptures were erected. Different conceptions of artists from East and West Germany initially created many controversies. Meanwhile, the complex, which has the Tacheles eV , group Tacheles and Pro Tacheles is operated, developed into a solid and great art, action, event and communication center in Berlin. In the building there are, among others, about 30 artists’ studios, exhibition spaces and sales spaces for contemporary art, a cinema and the so-called “rooftop bar”.The “Blue Salon”, a 400 square meter space is primarily used for concerts, readings etc. The “Golden Hall” comprises the entire first floor of Tacheles – here is a stage that has become an important venue for alternative theater scene and especially for the independent dance scene in Berlin.

On 4 April 2011 the owner HSH Nordbank scheduled an eviction, but it was not carried out. Instead, on the next day, the gastronomy and cinema left the building peacefully in return for a payment of 1 Million Euros from an anonymous source. Eighty artists vowed to stay on with their ateliers and metal workshops. One week later, the sequestrator ordered an almost 3 m tall wall to be built, separating the Oranienburger Straße from the building’s courtyard. The future concept for the building remains undecided.

On September 4, 2012, the remaining 40-60 artists left peacefully, after pressure from the owner – after 22 years. The Metallwerkstatt is still existing and fighting against eviction.

Several artists and programmers created a Tacheles 3D online art gallery, to open up new rooms for the Tacheles artists, and to continue the spirit of Tacheles online. The association Artprotacheles aims at expanding the idea of Tacheles through Mobile Atelier Projects and has already realised the first one in Berlin Friedrichshain.

4 Conclusions

This reference is the complete opposite of the PICH plan in Zaragoza. While the PICH plan is completely maintained and produced by the city hall, Kuntshaus Tacheles is of citizen iniciative, producing a multipurpose space. The most important thing to learn from this example is that, despite the fact that the building was being demolished due to its “bad state” it’s life was prolonged 22 years and shaped the life of the surrounding areas, becoming one of the most cultural and artistically of the city, the current status of the city as a cultural and rebellious city could have never happened without Kuntshaus Tacheles and other similar projects that scattered in the neighbourhood.

This can be translated to Carolinas Bajas, it has many empty buildings, pending of demolition, which are owned by banks, or major entities, with no intention in taking profit, just waiting for the best moment to rebuild and sell. While all this happens, this reference proves that, by the means of a symbolic rent this kind of cultural spaces multipurpose can reshape the neighbourhood and give identity to itself.


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