FLOATING (UNIVERSITY) BERLIN — A WATER-BASED WORLD OF LEARNING AND EXCHANGE BY THE FORMER TEMPELHOF AIRPORT
They still exist: these independent, surprising and impressive “non-places” in Berlin. A prime example is the rainwater basin at the former Tempelhof airport. Off limits for 60 years, this unique ecosystem opened to the public in 2018 as a “Natureculture learning” site, also known as Floating “University” Berlin. Hidden amongst allotment gardens, this unique place is completely invisible from the street and is entered via a temporary bridge. What you find inside is an enchanted island comprising wooden huts and footbridges leading across the swampy terrain. You would think you were in the middle of the forest were it not for Tempelhof’s radar tower peeking up from behind the trees. The campus was created by architecture collective Raumlabor as a space for experiential learning and transdisciplinary exchange on subjects like art, culture and design.
What was started as a social project by the architects has gone on to be recognized with a Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. This week you can visit the place yourself as part of the Climate Care 2021 festival (until 12.09.2021), which features screenings, performances and discussions on topics such as black voices in the environmental movement (screening and discussion with Black Earth Collective and Rahab Njeri, 11.09 19–22h). You can view the full program online, though if you ask us the venue alone makes a visit worthwhile. Enjoyed at sunset, it is one of the most magical places in Berlin.
Text: Milena Kalojanov / Photos: Lena Giovannaz