Report - - Kunsthaus Tacheles, Berlin - Germany, June 2012 | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Kunsthaus Tacheles, Berlin - Germany, June 2012


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The Kunsthaus Tacheles (translated to English as: 'Art House Tacheles') is an art-centre in Berlin, Germany.
Located in the Mitte district on the street 'Oranienburger Straße' this 9000 square metre site has a very interesting history within Berlin. Presently, the building houses artists that work together in a collective community, but this very community is being threatened with eviction.


(Entrance to the Kunsthaus Tacheles)

The name 'Tacheles' translates as "straight talking" which was adopted by the artists who took over the building after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.
Originally called "Friedrichsstadtpassagen", it was built as a large shopping mall in the Berlin Jewish quarter (or "Scheunenviertel"). Construction began in 1907 and took 15 months to complete, costing approximately 7,000,000 German marks. The building complex stretched from 'Oranienburger Straße' to 'Friedrichstraße', and the passage had entrances from both sides which connected the two main thoroughfares. The Friedrichstraßenpassage was the second largest of its kind in the city of Berlin and the only remaining piece of large passage architecture in Europe.

1928 onwards the building was used as a show room by Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (General Electric Company). Because of this, one of the first ever German television transmissions took place here during the 1930s.
Also in the early 1930s, the building was increasingly used by Nazi party members and even became a Nazi prison to house French war prisoners. A few years after it became the central office of the SS.During the Battle of Berlin the second cellar became flooded and to this day remains underwater. The result of WW2 meant the building was partially demolished.

Over the course of the 40's & 50's, the building came under ownership of numerous companies that rebuilt the building and used it for various trades. It contained a cinema, artists' school, office spaces, a technical school for foreign trade & economics, as well as a company dealing with radio and transmission technology. The cellar was used by the National People's Army.

Two months before the planned detonation of the building, on 13th February 1990 the group known as 'Künstlerinitative Tacheles' began to occupy the building, in an attempt to prevent the demolition. This meant that discussions could open with Berlin-Mitte building management to try and register the building as an historic place. A last-minute injunction was issued to stop the demolition.
It then became an art centre with exhibition spaces, workshops, & performance space. However, the lease expired at the end of 2008 and the future of the art centre is uncertain.

The building owner (HSH Nordbank) issued an eviction to the occupants on the 4th April 2011, but was not carried out due to an anonymous donation of 1,000,000 Euros. Between that time and now, various incidents have happened to the building which is making the art-community of the Kunsthaus Tacheles difficult. This means that this article could be an obituary to not only a historical construction, but also to a whole creative community! Only time will tell if this is true.....