An open international ideas contest has been launched to re-imagine the future of the Berlin-Brandenburg region in east Germany (Deadline: 11 November)
Open to inter-disciplinary teams of architects, planners and landscape architects, the anonymous two-stage competition seeks bold proposals to upgrade the historic 30,370km² district, which has a population of 6 million and will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.
First-round entries must feature an overall masterplan plan for the entire region at scale 1:100 000, along with a more detailed concept for how a single site could function in 2070. In the second round, 20 finalists will each receive €5,000 to further develop their masterplans and create proposals for three specific sites with at least one in Brandenburg and one in Berlin.
Source: Image by Thomas Wolf
According to the brief: ‘The main objective of the International Urban Design Ideas Competition for Berlin-Brandenburg 2070 is not to create a completely different, new metropolitan region beside or within the space occupied by the existing one, but to develop and improve the existing framework by building on its special strengths, features, and peculiarities.
‘With a fundamentally outstanding transport network, diversity of centres, housing stock of above-average quality, and comparative lack of urban sprawl in its hinterland, the metropolitan region possesses ideal preconditions for future development. These need to be identified, maintained, developed, and improved. Achieving sustainable development means bringing together past and future in an integrated approach.’
The Greater Berlin region – comprising both the capital and neighbouring Brandenburg – was founded in 1920. To celebrate its 100th anniversary next year the metropolis is holding an exhibition on its development history and launching a contest to explore how it could grow over the next half-century.
Stage one submissions will be judged on their spatial concept, quality of presentation, future-orientation of proposal and sustainability. Stage two submissions will be marked on their reflection of the region’s special characteristics, ability to strengthen local networks, and potential to create ‘attractive, socially and functionally diverse residential and commercial quarters’.
Source: Image by Wolfgang Pehlemann Wiesbaden Germany
Finalist concepts will also need to propose attractive public spaces, methods to promote green energy and the digital revolution, the conservation of valued urban features, and the integration of major industrial and infrastructure projects.
Judges will include Brigitte Bundesen Svarre from Gehl Architects and Miroslav Sik – professor of architecture at ETH Zürich. Ellen van Loon of OMA and Brandenburg minister for infrastructure and regional planning Kathrin Schneider may also join the panel but have yet to confirm.
The overall winner will receive a €70,000 while a second prize of €56,000, third prize of €40,000, fourth prize of €24,000 and fifth prize of €10,000 will also be awarded. The competition language is German.
How to apply
The deadline for applications is 11pm local time on 11 November
C/O Architekten- und Ingenieur-Verein zu Berlin
Tel: +49 308834598 / 1779655725
Fax: +49 308854583
Q&A with Tobias Nöfer
The project leader at Berlin 2020 discusses his ambitions for the competition
Why are your holding a contest to masterplan the future of Berlin-Brandenburg in 2070?
Our world is faced with grave social, political, and above all environmental issues. One of the greatest challenges of our time is to develop solutions enabling all of us to live together in peace and prosperity. Only by making our cities liveable and sustainable can we ensure that they will continue to offer us a home in the future. Our task today is to lay the foundations. Before we can do that, however, we need to work out how – to ascertain which model is the right one for which region of the world. These are issues that Berlin is facing, too. Hence our idea of inviting architects from all over the world to participate in a design competition for Berlin. The first regional planning competition run by our organization more than 100 years ago was extremely important in shaping the city we know today. Competitions are still the best way of bringing undiscovered talent, new ideas, and ground-breaking change to the world.
What is your vision for the future of the region?
Naturally everyone has their own ideas about the paths to be taken. By running an international competition, however, we hope to see the future of our city through the eyes of others. We are also developing a retrospective exhibition on 100 years of urban planning in Berlin to accompany the competition. Safeguarding the future means learning from the past – building on what was good and not repeating mistakes. We want realistic visions for the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan area, not abstract utopias. Innovative design may be a fine thing, but we are far more interested in good design.
Berlin and Brandenburg form an integrated unit; it would be impossible to consider them separately. The competition therefore covers both Brandenburg and Berlin in its middle. We are seeking plans and images that convey the idea of a metropolitan area in which people live together in freedom, justice, and peace – in our view, that is good urban development.
What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?
Our competition is open to all architects and urban planners throughout the world. Given the complexity of the issues involved, interdisciplinary teams are likely to produce the best solutions, so we encourage collaboration with transport planners, landscape architects, and other professionals who are concerned with the future of cities. We would like to avoid rounding up the usual suspects. Obviously, knowing how Berlin developed in the past and what today’s problems are will help make a relevant contribution. To ensure a fair and open competition, the entire process will be anonymous until its conclusion, in compliance with European regulations.
Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?
All competition entries will be put on display for three months starting 1 October 2020 in our exhibition at the Kronprinzenpalais Unter den Linden, in the heart of Berlin. The names of the authors will be published in this context. An accompanying programme of colloquia in various formats will provide opportunities to discuss the various issues addressed in the competition with decision-makers from politics, society, and business. Since the diversity of contributions may be expected to reflect the diversity of possibilities for Berlin and Brandenburg to develop, the exhibition will show not only the winning entries but all entries. We hope that the competition will serve to inspire follow-up projects, for example an international building exhibition in Berlin-Brandenburg. While there can be no commitment to develop the winning entry, we are sure that the competition will help to open doors for the participants.
Are there any other recent regional level masterplan projects you have been impressed by?
The exhibition will also show current planning projects from Berlin’s partner cities Moscow, Vienna, Paris, and London. Some of these are very ambitious, and much farther advanced than in Berlin. The issues they deal with are largely the same ones that we are facing, so we hope to gain a lot of inspiration from the exchange with them. Paris, for example, has drawn great dynamism from the Grand Paris project, which is now setting considerable developments in motion. This dynamism and determination is something we want for Berlin, too, and we are confident that the optimism and enthusiasm of the participants in our competition will make a significant contribution.