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Raumlabor Berlin

Raumlabor Berlin is a German collective practicing what they call “research-based design.” Reacting to twentieth century utopianisms that tried, but did not succeed, to bring about better living conditions for everyone, Raumlabor works at the intersection of city planning, architecture art and urban intervention. They are attracted to difficult urban locations, places that are abandoned or in transition. They feel that such spaces offer untapped potential and fertile ground for experimentation to try to find new perspectives of approach.

Central to the work of Raumlabor­ Berlin is the idea of ‘urban interventions’– projects that seek to disrupt previously retained notions about space. The process is experimental and iterative, always involving the community as design partners. For example, the Hotel Neustadt was developed in preparation for a two­-week festival, which was intended to rejuvenate the downtown area of Halle Neustadt.

Rallying artists, NGOs, students and local teenagers, the project was completed in under six months. During the festival, local and international guests mixed with artists, young people and students who had been designing and building the project. After the festival, the energy created around the Hotel Neustadt remained. It continued to attract guests and the hotel became a central fixture in a newly revived city.

By their own description, Raumlabor Berlin’s approach is ‘dynamic urbanism.’  They have combined research, community engagement and radical forms of practice to create new ways of making public space.