MakeCity Berlin

MakeCity Berlin. A Festival for Architecture and Urban Alternatives

- Berlin - Germany

Download: full programm as PDF

On June 14th, 2018, the Berlin Festival for Architecture and Urban Alternatives opens, with 250 events throughout the city The process of discovering unique sites and new builds with more than 80 guided tours and walks across Berlin, marks just one of the many highlights of MakeCity 2018: navigating the towers of the Tempelhof Airport, investigating the Oberschöneweise industrial site and the abandoned Spree park, or exploring the acoustic gallery of the reconstructed Staatsoper Unter den Linden by HG Merz and the beehives of Sauerbruch Hutton at the Academy of Arts. From pioneering wood-built urban architecture to cohousing models, mixed-use and ground floor spaces for urban production, MakeCity enables insights into major new developments given by architects, urban designers and city-maker. Over 80 MakeCity Open Tours with largely free admission can be booked online from May 24. These make up just one of the four formats of the extensive programme, made possible by more than 100 founding Festival partners. Functioning as central nodes, 25 urban HUBs can be found throughout the city. Cultural centres, galleries, embassies, universities, architecture and design studios are opened as offices, and rooftops become spaces for exhibitions, workshops, and actions, with more than 50 Studio Talks. The Festival Centre – installed in the Czech Centre Berlin – offers a special programme over the course of 9 days, with comprehensive events, panels and workshops addressing the three core themes of the festival.

Berlin Remixing is the motto that grounds MakeCity 2018. It is based on an ideal image of the ‘Berliner Mischung’ – that is, planning founded on the equal coexistence of residences, working, and street life. This concept dates back to the 1860s and urban planner James Hobrecht, but it reframes the 21st century city as an open and adaptable system. Urban spaces, architectures and landscapes, building materials, typologies, and concepts of use are being rediscovered, reinterpreted, renegotiated, and remixed. Over the course of 18 days, MakeCity 2018 expects more than 20,000 visitors: not only expert specialists, but also interested Berliners and visitors to the city to participate and discuss. This reflects the desire of Governing Mayor Michael Müller, the Festival’s patron – a sentiment also summed up by journalist and author Wolf Lotter as a leitmotif: “It is high time for a new discourse […] At any rate, alimentation is clearly no solution! Instead, cooperatives: cooperation, networks, more independence!”

MakeCity is Germany’s biggest trans-sectoral festival for architecture and urban alternatives.

Why trans-sectoral? The festival reaches across disciplines and sectors, which in the sense of an intelligent city – a smart city – should think holistically and interdepartmentally. This refers both to policies and administration, culture and economy, urban development and landscape planning, architecture and engineering, as well as design and material production.

The programme of MakeCity 2018 is comprised of three core themes:

Structures / Processes pursues the notion of the Circular City – a circular economy for cities. How might resource flows be shaped in the future? What can be (re-)used, and which flexible forms of urban spaces and architectures are necessary for this? New, more social approaches to urban design are articulated: models of sharing, or alternative forms of cooperation. A ‘Berlin Model’ is evolving to actively engage further with urban initiatives and allow greater participation.

Architecture / Space targets Berlin’s growing population, which requires not just new affordable housing, but also new housing models with mixed typologies. Can architects develop structures that allow for fundamentally different concepts of collective, community-based spaces, which are flexible enough for a variety of uses? Here, materials, design methods and financing models need to be reconsidered and remixed.

City / Nature focuses on the discourse of urban communities and urban landscapes. Effects of climate change on the design of public spaces are as much a topic as the conversion of public areas to agricultural use. Cultivation and urban infrastructure, indoor and outdoor, work and recreation – these are merging into new units, as vertical gardens thrive on facades and urban jungles reclaim industrial wastelands.

MakeCity 2018 brings international aspects and perspectives to all festival topics and formats.

Examples from Los Angeles, Oslo, and Kleiburg (NL) highlight projects that have transformed poverty-stricken urban districts by means of joint social responsibility. The use of new resources in urban planning will be presented on the basis of an example from Amsterdam, in which building facades are produced from plastic waste. Copenhagen has reacted to flooding consequences of climate change with the construction of “cloudburst boulevards”. Inputs on how to build in hot climates come from Ahmedabad (IND). Finland is currently implementing one of the most ambitious school redesign projects in Europe, while initiatives in Barcelona and Rome are securing access to cultural activities through cooperatively funded and self-managed projects. Many more examples and themes can be found in the festival newspaper.


Michael Müller – Governing Major of Berlin

Initiator: Francesca Ferguson – MakeCity Festival Founder and Artistic Director

Founding partners : 100 participating founding partners, supporting the festival financially and influencing the programme.

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