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/fileadmin/Projekte/K43_Rotenhaeuser_Feld/rotenhaeuser03_teaserH.jpg Public Space for the Intercultural Neighbourhood

Rotenhäuser Feld

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/fileadmin/Projekte/K13_Sprach_und_Bewegungszentrum/sprachubz.jpg Learning in motion

Centre of Language and Excercise

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University of Neighbourhoods

With its University of Neighbourhoods (UdN) the HafenCity University (HCU) Hamburg, Wilhelmsburg has got a place for working and for events, which is a place of learning and research as well as a meeting point for different cultures and experiences.

Until 2013 the University of Neighbourhoods will be researching contemporary forms of education at the interface of culture, knowledge and urban development. The starting point of the discussion was a common urban situation: an empty building that had not been used for years, the former Public Health Authority building of the district. Since 2008, the UdN had been developed here its own principles of working and studying and its own curriculum that is working on active acquisition and has been intervening tangibly in the substance of the building in several construction segments and in the framework of different semesters for the last two years to effectively work on the building for its last 5 years before demolishing.

In the context of the far reaching urban transformation process, the emphasis is on a new comprehension of the conveying and production of knowledge. The designing of the city is being investigated here as an existing, construction, social, cultural and economic web. In the centre of these issues there is a concept of sustainability, which takes up the given situation – and not just the conversion or remaining use of the building – for the development of new forms of action. The aim is the sensitizing for specific planning and construction tasks. This also means: sustainability is not only created with and from things, it is created especially from relationships, from the neighbourhood. Since 2009 lectures, workshops and events for the students have been taking place on a regular basis in the converted, former public health authority building. Flanked by neighbourhood festivals and an annual summer school with students from all over the world, a living location for studying has been created in the centre of Wilhelmsburg that has built up intensive contacts to the neighbourhoods of the Reiherstieg quarter.

The project University of Neighbourhoods is a cooperation project of the HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU), the International Building Exhibition (IBA) Hamburg and Kampnagel International Culture Factory. It is sponsored by Max Hoffmann GmbH & Co. KG. Based on the conceptional approach of the award-winning draft "Grenzposten", commended as a student competition by the IBA Hamburg and HCU in 2007, the building has been constantly rebuilt, intensively used and widely taken alive until the end of 2013. 

Milestones of the project

  • Since 2008: Continuous renovation of the building by students of the HCU

  • 12.06.2009: Opening of the construction site of the UdN in the framework of the Hamburger Architecture Summer 2009 with a performance by God's Entertainment, Vienna

  • 16.08.–28.08.2009: 1. Summer School 2009: »Urban transformations and metamorphoses« with approx. 30 international students

  • 16.08.–28.08.2010: 2. Summer School 2010: »Use of “Art” Interventions For Participatory Planning In Urban Environments« with approx. 25 international students

  • 27.08.2010: Neighbourhood festival in the UdN Spring 2011: Planning and construction of garden islands, tree houses etc. With the participation of local residents, children and specialists

  • 15.04.2011: Spring festival on the Rotenhäuser Field

  • 15.08.–27.08.2011: 3. Summer School 2011: »Climate Cultures or: The Survey of the Everyday« with approx. 30 international students

  • End of 2013: Scheduled end of the project in the former public health authority building



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Area of site: 3.300 square metres


AIV Building of the year 2013

Prize award 'BDA Hamburg Architektur Preis' 2014, honourable mention


Hafen City University Hamburg