The completion of Frizz23 in Kreuzberg marks a milestone and a stroke of good fortune in Berlin’s real estate politics. This cooperative building demonstrates the possibilities of bottom-up urban development – how it can be constructive and successful when the lead is taken by citizens and local actors. For years, the plots of land surrounding a former wholesale flower market known as the ‘Blumengrossmarkt’ were highly coveted.
Following Berlin’s reunification, the fragmented and exciting urban zone between Friedrichstrasse and the Jewish Museum has been home to a number of different galleries, pop-up shops, retail outlets, and social initiatives. Yet after the departure of the flower market, the Berlin state government decided that rather than awarding the properties to the highest bidder it would award them to the most convincing concept – a decision influenced by the efforts of FORUM Berufsbildung, a vocational training NGO based in the area for many years, and the subsequent advocacy of a citizens’ initiative.
Frizz23combines non-profit education, small creative businesses and temporary residencesunder a single cooperative building venture. In a tireless process of interchange with local actors, the district authorities and the Berlin Senate, the initiators FORUM Berufsbildung and Deadline Architects along with the building group’s forty-two members have created a structure that houses, in addition to FORUM Berufsbildung and a small guest house, a large variety of artists, musicians, authors, illustrators, editorial staffs, agents, bicycle repair workshops, upcycling studios, and a collective gallery under a single roof.
Pictures by Jan Bitter