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creative space pioneers

Regeneration of empty commercial units and activation of public spaces // Mehringplatz, Berlin, DE // Feasibility study // 2011

The estate of over 1.000 apartments and almost 40 commercial units constructed in the early 1970s around the important circular square at Mehringplatz is presently the subject of a major participatory procedure for a vision to guide its regeneration. Within this context, a team including Kapok has been commissioned by the GEWOBAG Housing Association to investigate new creative uses for the struggling ground floor commercial units and the adjacent public realm. The study explores the feasibility of a new commercial economy centred around creative pioneers in consort with local cultural and social players, to inject a new lease of life into the area. A significant aspect involves the revitalisation of existing undercroft spaces (Luftgeschosse) in the inner ring, and Kapok has developed an architectural and infrastructural concept for these spaces. This is articulated as a palette of interventions of varying intensity and investment, from simple infrastructure for structural attachment and servicing, urban ‘locker rooms’, through to glazed studio spaces.

Client: GEWOBAG Wohnungsbaugesellschaft, Berlin // Collaborators: Jan Kuhnert, KUB Kommunal- und Unternehmensberatung GmbH; Florian Schmidt, URBANITAS, Projektbüro Kreativquartier Südliche Freidrichstadt // Services: Urban strategy development, participation in workshops // Area: 4.000 m²