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Spaces for the Art

Elbe Islands Creative Quarter

IBA Hamburg / Martin Kunze IBA Hamburg / Martin Kunze IBA Hamburg / Martin Kunze IBA Hamburg / Johannes Arlt IBA Hamburg / Johannes Arlt Raeume fuer die Kunst


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Elbe Islands Creative Quarter

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Elbe Islands Creative Quarter

to the project

Spaces for the Art

The purpose behind this programme was to anchor structures for the arts and creative activity and put in place the conditions for a durable, vibrant cultural scene on the Elbe Islands. Apart from offering artists studios and exhibition rooms, the idea was to create flexible production spaces for local and super-regional start-ups in the creative sector.


Creating good ambient conditions for art and creativity in the city: The Veringhöfe Arts and Creative Centre set out to put these aims into practice. Under the auspices of IBA Hamburg this disused industrial building was turned into a model facility where artists and creative people can work. It is an interesting model because the subseqent users not only drew up the operational and funding structures themselves, but also played a vital role in altering the building to make it more energy efficient.

The property is located directly on the Vering Canal and at the edge of the Rehersteg district originating from the Wilhelmian period. In the immediate vicinity is the district cultural centre, Honigfabrik (Honey factory) as well as the barge of the Maknete Association e.V. (formerly a gallery for landscape art). The Veringhöfe were originally the production facilities and office buildings of an industrial company, after the departure of the company, in the seventies, the buildings experienced a wide range of owners as well as uses; they were most recently used for various events. Some of the existing buildings of the red brick clinker group of buildings will also be retained in the future. In the framework of the IBA project, the buildings will be energetically refurbished with simple interior fittings to enable interesting rental rates for artists and start-up enterprises in the creativity sector to be offered.


An open workshop set the process in motion. At the end of 2008 artists, curators and project developers were invited to submit their ideas about how Veringhöfe should be developed. In May 2009, from the vast number of concepts received, the one entered by project developers conecco/STATTBAU was selected. Their concept was not to dictate who or what should move into the Veringhöfe, but rather to initiate a user-driven process of developing the concept and operational plans. And this proved the right approach. In the months and years that followed, the facilitators brought together numerous people who were interested in the project and, moreover, persuaded them to form various groups and play an active role in developing the concept and exploring ways to use the space in the old industrial building.

The non-profit association is dedicated to promoting art and culture, tolerance and understanding between ethnic groups, and committed to education, training and assistance for young people. The non-charitable association, by contrast, sees itself as part of a union that serves the common interests of users and its objective is to create a self-organized, durably affordable space for artists and communities of creative workers. The last-named association is also the long-term tenant of the City of Hamburg, which agreed to let the property - following joint negotiations with IBA Hamburg - on a thirty-year lease starting in August 2013.


IBA Hamburg helped to put the building structure itself into good condition. The energy-efficient refurbishment of the building, which was completed in October 2013, resulted in consumption a full 30 per cent below the requirements of the Energy Saving Regulations 2009. Now, and in future, this measure plays a key role in helping users to save running expenses.

Moreover, the building fabric, building services and the staircases have been modernized and the outside facilities and the property development were completely new planned. Since 2013, the canal is finally directly accessible.


Started with a small group of artists and creative professionals, the past years have developed a growing community. The members of the “[Artists Community]” (working title) currently consist of around 40 individuals and artists’ collectives (as at October 2013) working in the fine and dramatic arts sector, in photography and illustration, in graphic, fashion and product design and in the field of sound art.

With input from these artists, a gallery space, open-plan studios and workshops have been laid out. Courses and events, plus cooperation schemes with nurseries, schools and social facilities are designed to develop artistic leanings in the young and to be a positive addition to the neighbourhood for many years to come. In the long term, an Advisory Council is to be set up to ensure continued quality at Veringhöfe.



"Art under Construction" brings life into the Veringhöfe provisional utilisation from 19.09. to 15.10.2011

The Association for the Promotion of Art and Culture in Veringhöfe brought its future rooms to life for a few weeks! Under the motto „Art under construction“ from 19 September until 15 October 2011 in the canal building in Veringhöfe, the focus was on the creative process: Different artists of the community offered workshops in the building and on the premises and gave the visitors an insight into their work.

Exhibition Art & Creative Centre Veringhöfe

From13 to 29 Mai 2011 the future users of the Veringhöfe provided an insight into the current concept development as well as the artistic involvement with the facades and the designing of the outside area of Veringhöfe in the exhibition "Art & Creative Centre Veringhöfe - Process l Concept l Vision" at the IBA DOCK.

Discussion event "Co-Operation und Co-Location"

Under the motto "Co-Operation and Co-Location – From the use of Art and Creative locations in Hamburg", representatives of different action groups debated the communicative and productive possibilities of interaction that could arise due the spatial interaction of artists and creative artists in selected locations on 19 May 2011. The debaters included representatives of Frappant e.V., Kreativ Gesellschaft Hamburg mbH and the [Artist Community] Elbe Islands.


Exchange of experience Hamburg - Toronto

To promote the exchange of experience Toronto – Hamburg, Tim Jones, President of the Canadian Non-Profit Urban Development Organisation  Artscape, gave an insight into the over twenty-year practice of the creation of sustainable and affordable production rooms for artists, as well as the associated network an organisation development in Canada on 15 June 2010. The following discussion was dedicated to the development and successful consolidation of art and creative centres in Wilhelmsburg and the whole of Hamburg. You will find information concerning the lecture of Tim Jones under Material.

Project dialogue Veringhöfe

During the project dialogue on 2 July, local residents of the Reiherstieg district had the opportunity to get to know both the planning of IBA Hamburg in relation to energy efficient refurbishing and the concept of future users. IBA Project Coordinators Gerti Theis and Christian Roedel together with the project developer of [Artist Community] Yvonne Fietz and future users were available to answer questions.

Open day & exhibition

From 3 to 9 July the [artist community] opened their doors to neighbours and interested visitors from south and north of the Elbe for the first time. More than 40 of the future users presented their work and invited visitors to exhibitions, performances, live music, paintings, projections and participatory events. The future restaurant "Café Visionaire" presented itself with the first culinary samples.

For the second time, there was an open day under the motto OPEN from 10 to 12 September 2010,  organised by the new community including interaction with guest artists like Sarah Quinn, BauArt AllStars Nikolaj, Gordon Müllenbach etc. Café Visionnaire provided food and beverages; the special mixture of live music, combos, DJs, readings, diverse join-in workshops and a flea market for EVERYBODY brought more than 600 people together. At the end of the event, the works of the participating artists of the [Artist Community] were on show.


The project is supported through the "Rahmenprogramm Integrierte Stadtteilentwicklung" (RISE) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

European Regional Development Fund

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Am Veringhof 23b
21107 Hamburg

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Beginning of construction:
1st quarter of 2013

October 2013

Useful area: 
2000 sqm



IBA Hamburg GmbH

Department of Urban Development and the Environment, Borough of Hamburg Mitte Department of Urban and Landscape Planning, Property Management and Real Estate Assets Hamburg; Sprinkenhof AG 


Pilot study:
Plan-R-Architektenbüro (Hamburg) 

DR Architekten Dittert & Reumschüssel