Raumlabor Berlin is a German collective practicing new models of urban renewal and ‘instant urbanism.’ Their work is at the intersection of architecture, planning, art and ‘urban intervention.’ The group describes itself as being attracted to “difficult urban locations”: locations which are abandoned or leftover and have the potential for reinvigoration. This approach is well summedup with their credo “Bye Bye Utopia.” Their work is positioned as an antidote to the utopic visions of the early twentieth century where every urban condition could be planned, and every urban problem could be solved, with the application of a few simple rules. Central to the work of Raumlabor Berlin is the idea of ‘urban interventions.’ Such projects seek to disrupt whatever previously held notions a particular community had about a particular space. The process is fully experimental and iterative, always involving the community as design partners. Case in point: The Hotel Neustadt. The hotel was developed in preparation for a twoweek festival, which was in itself intended to rejuvenate the downtown area of Halle
Neustadt. Raumlabor Berlin undertook the project as an urbanism within urbanism. While the hotel was intended to rejuvenate the city, the project became the city.
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.’ We honor their work for the ways in which they have combined research, community engagement and radical forms of practice to create new ways of making public space.