Global Observer

In Berlin, BMW Guggenheim Lab moves north

In Berlin, BMW Guggenheim Lab moves north

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BERLIN -- A BMW-Guggenheim research lab for urban living has been run out of the city's Kreuzberg district following supposed threats of violence. But many district locals say it's not necessarily clear what all the fuss is about.

BERLIN -- A research project by the Guggenheim and BMW is reportedly heading north to the city's Prenzlauer Berg district following negative local response over the original Kreuzberg location, according to Berlin daily Tagesspiegel.

The culture center Pfefferberg is rumored to have been asked whether it is willing to host the mobile lab, says Tagesspiegel, although no officials from the project have confirmed the proposal.

The lab was originally envisioned for an empty lot along the city's Spree river in the Kreuzberg district. But sponsor BMW quickly pulled out following reported threats of violence from left extremists in the area.

Reports that police were ready to design a security plan for the project also circulated. Meanwhile, street surveys by Berlin's local B.Z. newspaper revealed mixed perspectives on the issue.

"Everything is getting so intense here in Kreuzberg with gentrification on the rise," a stylish young woman told the paper. "But I think it's great that they were thrown out because that simply leaves more space in the city."

"I'm not sure why the organizers gave up so quickly," an upper-middle-aged man told the paper in a heavy Berlin accent.

"Because a couple people threw a fit? That's completely normal in this city, especially with gentrification and modernization and prices on the rise. I took a look though... and I would have been interested to check it out."

Gentrification and rising rents in some of the city's previously more affordable areas have emotions running high in many districts.

Tacheles, one of Berlin's oldest remaining alternative "art houses" has seen its resident artists sit in protest as the building's sale to a private investor has called for their ejection. Artists on site in the city's Mitte district told SmartPlanet they would remain as long as possible.

There have been no reports of changes to the BMW Guggenheim Lab's scheduled Berlin dates from May 24 through July 29.

Photo: Flickr/sebastiankoeck

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Shannon Smith

Correspondent (Berlin)

Shannon N. Smith has written for WNYC's The Takeaway and TheLocal.de. She holds a degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She is based in Berlin, Germany. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure