Halle-Neustadt is one of the many satellite towns in the former Eastern Germany beleaguered by the dramatic flight of the population. The “Hotel Neustadt” festival inititated by the Thalia Theatre Halle/Saale, together with the “performance architect” Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius of Raumlabor, was both an intervention and a response to a desolate situation. The festival became a melting pot of young people from Halle, students and international artists, a parallel society in which the dichotomy of spectating and participating was overcome. The city became a stage and the architecture was deconstructed to play its part: the doors of one building were taken down to be recycled within the hotel as design accessories for hotel rooms and an espresso bar. An unoccupied eighteen-storey block acted as the centre of the Festival for two weeks. The temporary hotel, where every guest was given a “character card” at the check-in, offered punk, jungle and Britney Spears rooms on its eight inhabitable floors, as well as a geometry apartment, a hippy commune and the aggression room.

raumlabor_berlin, Markus Bader, Jan Liesegang & Co
door buildings project film, DVD 3 mins
interactive spatial installations, social constructions, transformation processes

Material || doors from demolished prefabricated buildings of the P2 series are the building material used in our "actions". Each door used represents 9.3 mm² of demolished living space and for two-thirds of a person who has left the new city districts.

Transformation || The door, a funtional object, is reinterpreted. The standardised products become specific objects, adapted by users to their personal needs. Their lightness makes them mobile.

Bicycle Obstacle Course || Together with cyclists from very different social groups, we re-rogrammed a public square, the Neustädter Platz temporarily into a obstacle course. Fifty doors were used to create a landscape of obstacles. The special nature of the square made it possible to bring together people from groups that otherwise have nothing to do with each other. Space is created as an artifice of social action.
Espressobar || Fifty doors sufficed to recreate the espresso bar in the high-rise block. We assembled a line of furniture that, meandering through spaces, creates social situations thanks to its spatial ambiguity. It was used a a table, a chair, a stage, a bed and a bench. The elements placed outside the building created a new link between its exterior and interior.

complizen planungsbüro Halle/Saale

sportification 03 project film, DVD 3 mins

sportification 03 is a synthesis of radical sport, music and graffiti-spraying with urban space.

The question was, how much fun, sport and personal initiative is permitted by town planning and how far town and architecture can be integrated in new kinds of sport. In this case, it was the architectural resource of the high-rise that was made use of for sport. Vacancy and demolition were staged in a contemporary cultural production.

For sportification 03, new forms of sport were developed kinds of sport that arise from the desire for freedom and individual creativity and which use the urban context. We call this punk sport – punk architecture.

The High-Rise Frisbee Race dealt with the specific urban situation of four vacant blocks; it was played along the same lines throughout the city. In the tag-master biathlon, the Pacman video game from the 'seventies was transferred to the real world and linked with contemporary youth culture and art, i.e. graffiti spraying – thus creating a real-time chase modelled on the virtual game.
In addition there were: trial biking, balcony triathlon, concrete climbing, paper dart flow, a rap battle, fingerboarding, a BMX show and the Prefab Man.

As a result, urban space (the high-rises and Halle's Neustadt district) experienced a positive image transfer of sport and youth and with it a revaluation through creativity.

In 2004, sportification is going on a tour of various prefab housing estates in eastern Germany.