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Launch of the BMW Guggenheim Lab in Berlin

Bow-Wow Architekten - BMW Guggenheim Lab - Berlin, Kreuzberg

  • © BMW Guggenheim Lab
  • © BMW Guggenheim Lab
  • © BMW Guggenheim Lab
  • © BMW Guggenheim Lab
The time has come. Today, June 15, 2012, the second stop of BMW Guggenheim Labs is opening its gates.

After 10 weeks in New York the new location at the shore of river Spree at the heart of the Wrangelkiez quarter in Berlin Kreuzberg is supposed to be moved into. The lab was disassembled in October 2011 in New York and has been re-assembled since March 2012 in Berlin.

Mobile Research Lab

“The BMW Guggenheim Lab is a mobile research lab, which is going to travel to nine large cities across the world during the next six years“, we can read on the respective website. The temporary lab wants to provide a place where young people of various professions can meet and occupy themselves with modern urban life and related questions.

“The Lab considers itself an urban think tank as well as a multi-disciplinary place of encounter.  It is supposed to encourage public discussions in the cities on location as well as on the BMW Guggenheim Lab website and in the social networks“, you can also read on the operator’s website.

To encourage these discussion, the Lab itself offers free programs and experiments. Any citizen can participate. Additionally, apart from the offers on location, an active participation in the programs and experiments in social networks and on the respective website is offered. The current online program points look interesting, however, they can’t disguise that the Berlin citizens seem to feel bothered about the lab’s concept. There are and will be protest actions against the lab, the State Office of Criminal Investigations is involved already.

How much Upgrading does the Quarter need?

Several contributions can be found on the net. The local authorities in Berlin consider the Lab to be an upgrade for the city quarter, however, an upgrade like this is not what the inhabitants want. Rents in Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg and other Berlin districts keep increasing, another upgrade of the quarter will probably result in even higher rents. Apart from that, the locals have only been informed of what’s planned, but were never involved. This is added by the fact that the name BMW does not cause feelings of affection with every Berlin citizen. Many opponents of the Lab consider the whole project to be merely an advertising campaign for the car manufacturer they do not want to provide their quarter for.
The idea of a large-scale advertising campaign is not too far-fetched, considering the fact that Audi has launched a very similar, also advertising-oriented project in New York in May 2011, named “Festival of Ideas for the New City”.

Will the Metropolis of the Future be free of Cars?

In the end, all big car manufacturers have to face the question which products they wish to sell in a car-free city. Events such as the “BMW Guggenheim Lab“ and the “Festival of Ideas“ work on the image of the car manufacturers, but they also enable to look for ideas on the pulse of time. Despite all the critical voices were are eager to see what the outcome after those ten weeks will be.

A few Facts and Figures on the further Progression of BMW Guggenheim Labs:

The project consists of all in all three cycles, lasting two years each. Each of these cycles is based on a comprehensive topic. Currently, we are in the first cycle, dealing with topic no. 1 “Confronting Comfort – Research on individual and collective comfort and the urgent requirement of ecological and social responsibility”.
Mumbai is going to be the Lab’s third location after New York and Berlin. This first cycle will end with a finale in 2013 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The second and the third cycle will last until autumn 2016.


Bayerische Motoren Werke, Guggenheim Museum New York


Building structure by Bow-Wow studios


temporary: in Berlin June 15, 2012 - July 29, 2012

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Tank's picture

14. August 2013 - 5:10

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