International 24h Urban Design Hackathon - 2nd Edition

Bauhaus Universität Weimar  | Aarhus School of Architecture  
ENSAP Bordeaux   |  Estonian Academy of Arts

In the second edition of the Urban Design Hackathon, we invite you to reanimate an infamous dinosaur, Berlin's "Mäusebunker". The iconic brutalist building was designed to house an animal testing laboratory, inaccessible to the public. Over the years, animal testing in the context of medical research has declined to such an extent that in 2020 the buildingbecame obsolete and it is now in danger of being demolished.  However, the acknowledgment of its architectural value by a group of architects, politicians, and citizens is giving the building a second chance at existence. 

The Mäusebunker is located in the south-west of Berlin at the shore of the Teltowkanal. Together with the adjacent “Institut für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie” and the “Klinikum Steglitz” it forms a unique ensemble of post-war Brutalism, the Benjamin Franklin Campus. The building was completed in 1981 and is 143 x 38 meters large. Unlike the “Institut für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie” the building is not protected as a historic monument. 

Guided by principles of grey energy assessment and urban transformation that oppose its demolition, we see an opportunity to transform it into a public space, promote diversity of use, and rethink the Benjamin Franklin Campus. The Urban Design Hackathon is a 24h online workshop for international students from four European universities. In mixed teams, you will be developing urban design ideas that define the former animal testing laboratory's future.  

The mice are out, so let the people in!

Facts

  • located in southwest of Berlin (Berlin-Lichterfelde) on the Teltowkanal
  • oriented east-west, with the west side facing the Hindenburgdamm and the east side facing the Teltowkanal
  • together with the adjacent “Institut für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie” and the “Klinikum Steglitz” it forms a unique ensemble of post-war brutalism, the Benjamin Franklin Campus of the Charité Berlin 
  • 143 x 38m large
  • example of geometric High-Tech-Brutalism
  • the facade with the out sticking blue ventilation pipes and the small triangular windows highlight the technical-industrial aspect of the building
  • it is an outstanding example of prefabricated concrete facades
  • it has a small inner structure, containing a large number of cell-like rooms
  • every second floor is designed as a technical floor to accommodate extensive ventilation and air-conditioning system 
  • the floor heights differ from each other, technical floors being 2.70m tall and the regular floors being 3,20m tall

History

  • Constructed between 1971 and 1981 by the Freie Universität Berlin
  • designed by Gerd Hänska 
  • it was built both as a place for animal experiments and the rearing of laboratory animals 
  • the development of new technologies and the rise of critical voices reduced the number and scale of animal experiments so that a building the size of the Mäusebunker was no longer necessary
  • therefore demolition plans have emerged
  • since 2003, the Chartité Medical University of Berlin has been using a small part of the building as a research institute for experimental medicine
  • relocation plans are already in the making and, a new building is to be constructed on the site 
  • thanks to the commitment of a group of architects, politicians, and citizens, the Mäsuebunker survived demolition several times 
  • unlike the adjacent building, the "Institute for Hygiene and Microbiology" is not yet a listed heritage building.

Site Location

Figure Ground Plan

International 24h Urban Design Hackathon 2021- 2nd Edition

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