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Franziska Giffey is wrong: the ICC is not a cultural venue for everyone

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The Parisian Center Pompidou is a must see, the modern counterpart to Notre Dame, Louvre and Eiffel Tower. More than 10,000 visits were counted per opening day in the pre-Corona year 2019. So Franziska Giffey also praises the CP as a model for the conversion of the Berlin ICC into a “place for art, culture and creativity”.

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The CP has often been invoked as a role model in Berlin, for example at the Humboldt Forum or the Museum der Moderne. But this model was never achieved. It is often overlooked that it is more than just a place of culture. It is a built social utopia in which bums, working-class children, immigrants and the upper bourgeoisie are supposed to come together.

That’s why the CP is in the middle of Paris, in a residential area, in a pedestrian zone, is easily accessible by regional, long-distance and underground trains, even for residents of the suburbs, and is multifunctional right down to the last hall. The Berlin ICC, on the other hand, is a monofunctional colossus planned for congresses on the outskirts of the city center, in the middle of a traffic island, far away from the people in Marzahn, Lichtenrade or Tegel.

The ICC has been systematically decaying for 25 years

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Because of the utopia of “culture for all”, the French state finances the operation of the CP with around 120 million euros annually. In Berlin, on the other hand, the future operating costs of the ICC are apparently to be borne by the users. Do you know a cultural center that finances itself? The construction cost calculations are just as grotesque.

The ICC and the CP both have to be renovated, and 200 million euros are planned here and there. But the CP, at 10,300 square meters, is barely half the size of the ICC, has a much clearer building design and was completely renovated around 2000. The Berliners, on the other hand, have been systematically allowing their ICC to expire for 25 years. The architect Thomas Willemeit has calculated a billion and is probably realistic.

The money was still worth it because of climate protection, the brand, and the importance of the ICC. But such an investment requires a utopia, an idea of ​​what the ICC could be beyond its mere functions.

That was once the idea of ​​Berlin as a cosmopolitan city of congresses. Today, on the other hand, the Berlin Senate is even proud of not having an idea for the ICC, delegates finding it to “the creative people” – who then promptly propose pop roof dance festivals for their clientele. Instead of developing an idea for society as a whole, Berlin prefers to plan a seemingly cheap renovation and arrange for an interim use that wears down the building even more – until it is really ready for demolition.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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