History, Architecture, and Public Space
This chapter focuses on independent, nonprofit cultural and art centers. Cultural centers such as the Haus Schwarzenberg—the primary focus of this chapter—as well as Schokoladen and the defunct Tacheles may look similar to Hausprojekte at first glance, with a juxtaposition of graffiti and posters over eroded walls, odd sculptures, architectural fragments, grime, and overgrown ivy. However, these spaces are composed with more forethought and coordination, and undergo significant (but selective) repairs, refurbishment, and even preservation measures. These cultural centers also articulate the meaning of their dilapidation clearly and self-consciously in pamphlets, websites, and interviews. They demonstrate that counterpreservation can be premeditated and self-reflective, and not just an ad hoc, opportunistic tactic.
Keywords: cultural centers, art centers, Haus Schwarzenberg, Schokoladen, Tacheles, public spaces, alternative cultural projects, alternative art and cultural practices, alternative culture, Mietskasernen
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