bee city

Cities out of slabs or pre-fab dormitory towns: the Plattenbauten in former Eastern Germany. Conceived to house the masses in a collective way, Soviet-style Urbanism produced worker colonies, whose monotonous built form we are obliged to inherit today.

Honey Neustadt (Oct 2006) by Höfner & Sachs is a reinterpretation of the DDR shrinking city of Halle-Neustadt. Questioning the concept of worker community, they proposed to house 1 million bees in mock-up Plattenbauten to work in a 250 kg. honey production.

As part of Berlin’s general reuse of vacant urban lots, the Skulpturen Park has been a bottom-up initiative running since 2006. Under a rotating curatorial team, several project,s such as Honey Neustadt, have been dealing with neighbourhood and urban voids. Former private subdivisions for lots shaping the block have given place to a common space for residents.

This newly achieved communal wasteland for the city awaits speculative fulfillment by developers. But until then, private boundaries scrupulously delimited on paper are blurring in reality. Philip Horst proposed for the site in 2006 a collective lighting hanging 20 metres above the empty block: Blur. Its remote control would be passed on every 2-3 days to a local resident surrounding the Skulpturen Park, so that the power to light the area would stay at residents’ wish.

[all images> Skulpturen Park]

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