In German cities, it is getting harder and harder for residents to find affordable accommodation due to a lack of flats and rising housing costs. Therefore, it comes to no surprise that it is challenging to maintain spaces for cost sensitive fields such as art and culture in a metropolis like Berlin. Nevertheless, artists have finally found a new home in the German capital directly along the river Spree.
UmweltBank funded the new living room for art and culture, which is called Holzmarkt. The urban village offers plenty of affordable space for creativity such as studios for circus acrobats and musicians, a children’s theatre, rehearsal rooms and an event hall fitting up to 300 guests. The quarter also covers various other aspects of city life. A restaurant and a club are as much part of it as well as a hairdresser, an organic food store and a bakery. Holzmarkt is a microcosm right at the heart of Berlin.
Diversity is not only inherent in the concept of the project. Rather it is visible in every building since they all have a unique style. Environmentally friendly building materials such as recycled windows, secondhand bricks and scrap wood from the region have been used to build the urban village. Therefore, no house resembles the other, making the whole village a piece of art itself. A piece of art that marks a contrast to the luxury apartments, hotels and offices that typically follow the river Spree.
Obviously Holzmarkt is not a matter of course since it is located at one of the most desirable building sites of Berlin. Many profit oriented investors showed interest in the property. Nevertheless, finally a crowd of devoted citizens were given the chance to design and build a new quarter focusing on people instead of profits. The result is a cooperative project where economy, ecology and culture are tantamount – a perfect fit for UmweltBank.