Public Relations

The following pages recall the process of interventions realised mainly by the PR group, but also others during the student project Hotel? Wilhelmsburg. It gives insight in things we did know and things we now think it would've have been good to know while doing PR by showing outputs and comments on the design, realization and use"The following pages recall the process of interventions realised mainly by the PR group, but also others during the student project Hotel? Wilhelmsburg. It gives insight in things we did know and things we now think it would've have been good to know while doing PR by showing outputs and comments on the design, realization and use.

Ways into the public

Why PR? First, a performative architectural practice like the Neighborhood's University needs widespread publicity. If there's no information, there's no discourse. Second, the news value of architecture is rather low, it's mostly failed architecture that's on covers of mass newspapers. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said that you can not invent a new kind of architecture every monday. 1 When you need perception, you have to generate it yourself and provide an educational model to perceive. 2 So what actually is the news value of the Neighborhood's University and Hotel Wilhelmsburg? And whom to address?

All project students come from a rather wide variety of educational fields. Some also have been realising projects outside academic walls. It's almost like we were our own tiny scene. We soon realised that almost everybody could contribute to PR in one or the other way. Some students have good contacts to the media, others are familiar with tools to create output, and again others just have a great interest and can lend a hand.

Content

In retrospect we can see that we mostly went public, in whatever form, along events. With a perspective from performance theory we can say that in the enactment of the hotel during dinner nights, fests, presentations and so on, we intentionally created a product of the feedback loop that addresses the phenomenon, in which the aesthetics, the social and the politics mix: the production of a community of actors and audience, based on bodily copresence. 3 The performance needs PR in order to call for participants and also creates PR in the preparation, during and in the aftermath of the experience. Through performance, architecture is vivid, creates atmosphere, has a function and one can even step into and be part of it. Therefore performance offers plenty of content for a wide variety of addresses—from daily newspapers to professional journals of different kinds and of course also as basis of discussion in everyday random encounters.

Realisation

As the performative operation Hotel Wilhelmsburg did and still does not have strategic business planning – just as most architecture offices 4 – most of the PR work was determined by the politics of time. There was never much thought on the design, as there simply was not enough time. Often we had the situation that the product got published which seamed most appropriate at the deadline. After stuff got published we often asked ourselves, if we will get away with it. This often had the effect that we recycled ideas initially designed for a moment where it then did not get published. We created kind of a catalog of PR work spread out on personal harddrives and websites. All the PR team had to remember was the place where information was stored. With a few links we managed to get to material whenever we thought it was of use. Failure at one point, often turned out to be creative at another point in the project. This practice turned out to be more creative than creating a centralised catalogue of work. A database seamed just too much maintainance/reproduction work in the beginning and was too hard to impose later in the project. In retrospect we had and still have difficulties in handing knowledge over to other people. Tacit knowledge flows good in a community, but comes with many difficulties for outsider to step into it.

The approach towards design often was pragmatic meaning that we worked with standards such as favoured media of architectural PR: Znternet presence of the UdN, the Facebook account of the UdN, newsletter of the hotel, the UdN and HCU, personal encounters and events; standard typography and colour books; standard techniques of production.

The accumulation of attention

If one looks at the quantity of PR work throughout the project, there's a clear accumulation towards the end of it. There's two statements we'd like to make to illustrate this accumulation – both acknowledge the economy of attention: 5

A) Freeride on popular issues. The hotel project started half a year before the official opening of the exhibition year of the international building exhibition (IBA). With the advent of the international building exhibition the attention towards "IBA-issues“ grew. As the Neighborhood's University is an IBA project and the hotel operations as a performative architectural practice set out to intervene in the public discourse about urban transformations, the interest coming from mainstream media towards the UdN accumulated alongside towards "IBA-issues".

B) Over the course of half a year we managed to create our own capital of attention through our own PR work.

Renommee

In the book "Made You Look" Stefan Sagmeister judges his own work on a scale of 1 to 5 by the question did my work of graphic design touch people's heart? 6 For instance he gives 5 points to a quick and pragmatically designed poster with a photo of his friend Reini and the sentence "Dear Girls, Please be Nice to Reini!“ he designed and hang up around his New York apartment the day before Reini came to visit him. When Sagmeister and his friend had a party at the apartment Reini was at first afraid of uber-cool New York chicks, but due to the fact that everybody knew him from the poster, he kind of became cool for a night and got a girl.

We'd like to translate this to our PR efforts, by recalling that the aim of any PR work is not to persuade receivers of our work to follow our critical take on urban transformation or sell a product, but rather bring them in to experience the UdN and with that to provide the means for criticism in negotiation. We almost exclusively published about the enactment of the hotel, and liked to see the success of our work in the growing number of attendants in our dinner nights and the vivid conversations we've had with guests.

In order to do so it was and still is important to position the performative practice of the hotel in a position we'd like to refer to as whitespace. Coming from graphic design, white space should not be considered merely ‘blank’ space – it is an important element of design which enables the objects in it to exist at all. There's no total meaning in white space, and it needs to be designed according to the situation. This is, of course, only to be seen metaphorically, and shall here not be confused with, but guided us working on PR towards, the notion of critical artistic practises stated by Belgian political philosopher Chantal Mouffe.
In retrospect the bigger part of press, the hotel operations got, was positive in two ways. A) journalists were taken in by the performance which often managed to produce a convivial atmosphere combined with the notion of higher education at practice on a one-on-one level, and B) also professional journals seamed to grasp that the experimental performative practice is, at first, not a practice that tends to overthrow the existing state of affairs in order to create something absolutely new, but rather holds and creates potentialities that allow pluralist perspectives to converge.

To summarize all PR efforts in one sentence: When communicating anything, participation of the people we talk to is clearly a good strategy. If we can involve them, they will remember what we have to say.

First try

We had four days to set up the first night at hotel wilhelmsburg as a performative way to explore the site. Right in the first meeting after the take was given out, students got together and discussed the organization of this experiment. Soon the idea of having a neighborhood group came up; most probably because plenty of students in the room already were aware of the mindset that comes with working at the neighborhood's university. The thought was to inform people about what we are doing in their neighborhood and also invite them. Kind of as we all do when we have a party at our flats. By posting a flyer in the hallway and inviting everybody you come across to the party you hope that no one calls the police if things get wild. We were not quite sure what we would do if people actually joined us, but not knowing is part of the fun; also, a common thought was that it would be a convivial evening so we might figure something out in the making.

The neighborhood group chose to produce an A5 handwritten and than copied flyer. All resources: a copy machine, an edding 3000, paper and scissors, were found at the UdN. The words on the flyer identify us as students doing a university project, give information on time but not on place and call for participation. However, we imagined that more important than the appearance of this swiftly made flyer, would be its function as a door opener. The neighborhood of the UdN is a mid-density urban housing area with plenty of small shops, delis and kiosks on ground-floor level. So giving out flyers there was the plan, besides placing them at the doors of the houses in the direct neighborhood to the UdN.

Due to the insecurity about wether or not to invite neighbors to our evening at the imagined hotel and of course also due to the lack of time and unclear responsiblities, no flyers were given out and only fellow students joined us that night. The flyer was produced but never called into action. However, it was the first encounter with plenty of thoughts that should remain relevant in all later PR tasks.

October 20. 2012. Never published.

No use for a name?

For the first Wednesday dinner we needed to invite people from Wilhelmsburg who would be collaborators for the future hotel. Jan Holtmann, an artist who supported us as part of the teaching staff, came up with the rule that everybody in the project should invite at least one guest. In search for people, especially when invited in person and not via e-mail etc., we figured out that something like a handout or flyer to give to them as a reminder was missing. The flyer one can see here was quickly designed by one of the students who experienced the mentioned above, and just took over the task by herself.

Again, like in our Max Hoffmann experience, the fact that we had no official name was an issue here. It was told that the name "Hotel Wilhelmsburg" was already used by a hotel. She used it here anyway, because it was the project’s name. In the small explanation text it is spoken of "interkulturelle Küche" (intercultural kitchen), which is right, but e.g. excludes a lot actually taking place and about to come. By announcing the dinner as taking place every Wednesday, stability is shown here. This leads to certain expectations of the receiver, which will have an impact on us. The logos of HCU and UdN show the project clearly as university. By doing so, we would probably exclude or include a target group that is not common with the university at all – like for example the people who live around the UdN. Where do we place ourselves and the project? By looking at this first flyer, we realized that at this point of the project and the very beginning of the Wednesday's dinners we have to be open in our communication, whithout excluding potential collaborators, and also without exclusiveliy including certain target groups. We had to find a group consent of what and how to communicate.

Used to invite for dinners on Decemer 12. and 19. Sent out by email and distributed around the neighborhood.

Max Hoffmann

This was the first time communicating and sponsor hunting and a first contact to the financing reality of the hotel. At the Christmas Dinner (november 16th 2012) we were hosting the construction firm Max Hoffman who then became a longtime collaborator. That dinner was the starting point of showing the process of the project to some of the city's most imortant construction developers. The presentation served for the event as well as for our presence and availablity to answer question. Prior to the event the project students first organized themselves towards this event. The part of the students for this dinner was to show in an explicit way what the UdN is up to. One way to do it, 1) using the UdN, the place of the project as a hosting space (which was already set by the UD departement) 2) ask the students that are actually and currently working on the Hotel project to answer the sponsors question. Since the event occured after the presentation of Take 1 (October 24th 2012) the students were asked to sort of sum up what happenned at the UdN during the last five years (from the IBA tower to Hotel Hamburg to the current project Hotel Wilhelmsburg).

And since this event was hold after the first task the only obvious strategy was to show at what stage the project was and to attract the sponsor curiosity. The trick? An hotel door hanger that would tell the sponsor the hotel is on its way and that they could help making the project faster if they want to (on the door hanger there was a text written explaining the project and the contact of Urban Design where they could have more information later on).

This is the first claim to realising a hotel that doesn‘t stand yet but will be there later. Even though this dinner seems like a small event it was for the project people a first 1:1 scale contact. From an 1:1 scale experemital live task (sleeping outside) to the more abstract Take 1 presentation again the project people switched to an 1:1 scale. Which for this project was back and forth movement that would rythmed the path.

From this event the project students saw that communicating in a clear way and give a physical product (in any shape) is important in order to attract people and involved them in the project. The door hanger was use later on as a sort of a business card and flyer.

Showing how it is, not more, not less

On one of the following flyers in January, one can see a certain development in communication. This one is pretty simple, containing just the date, address and a very short explanation of who is about to come and what will happen. We tried to avoid using logos or any wording that would lead to a certain branding of the evening or project – we relied on what really happened.
By using the four pictures, the viewer gets an idea of how the dinners are. One picture gives a hint about the fresh products that were used, another the gathering around food, the musicians and people talking – the main things to happen. All pictures are shown in a nice, warm light, people look happy, which was not designed but rather had to be taken as given. The experimental design of inviting musicians and cooks from Wilhelmsburg as accomplices to – besides creating a nice atmosphere – create a network of people here is visually used to attract other potential collaborators. Public relations makes use of them.

Used to invite for dinners on January 16. Distributed per email and at the dinner on January 9.

Experimental Design

Before the third dinner Jan Holtmann joined all people dealing with PR. He did not show any interest in design, but rather pushed students to- wards putting thins into practice. Inviting people was not enough, he wanted us to bring people in.

Newsletter

How to sign up: The hotel did not have a web presence. We put up a list for people to sign up for the newsletter at the reception of evening wednesday dinner. Despite very few people who asked a student via email to put him/her on the newsletter list, the list at the reception was the only possibilty to enroll. After every dinner night, we added new addresses to google docs list, so everybody in the project could make use of the contacts.

Frequency: We sent newsletters usually mondays before dinners on wednesdays. Often this was just enough time to present people with wether there is a dinner or not, and about the programm regarding entertainment and kitchen.

Work effort: Collecting data for the newsletter often proved to be a driving force for the groups responsible to host a dinner night. The PR group became a pain in the ass for the entire hotel operations as they were the ones working on a schedule with often tight due dates. Due to the high turnover of mini-projects in PR there were quite some lessons to be learned. The following pages depict newsletters as we found them in email in-boxes.

Branding by Handwriting

For the dinner on one Wednesday a student took over the task to design flyers or giveaways and therefore created a style, that would entrench itself as a sort of branding for the upcoming events. On the evening before the dinner, she found herself having this task – without any given standards and no special material or money to print. She wrote by hand on small kappa-tiles,
a material she found in the students workspace at HCU. With her ornate style of writing, she gave words a visual aspect, that can be seen as a strong graphic element and that have a recall value. This small cards worked out great the first evening, the handwriting style is not that manifested, it can be changed, manipulated. This was important due to the fact that we still were not at a point to communicate a fixed CI. By handwriting, as a receiver you also get a more personal relation towards the small card, because you can see it is handmade and unique. Also it is not perfect, avoiding to create a border towards the neighbors by using styles that are too artsy and maybe not at once read- or perceivable. The haptic of the tiles and the look also referred to our mindset in reusing material and to create in a DIY way. The headline Hotel? became the headline for every flyer after. Questioning the project and the state we were in by placing a question mark, could easily be applied for the other functions of a hotel we had during the wednesdays dinners, like: Bar? Restaurant? Labor?

In addition to the handwritten cards, the sign of a key became a part of the new found style. The idea was to hand them out to the guests of the restaurant, when they symbolically checked in at the reception before officially entering. Therefore the sign of a key was created as a stamp, that could easily be applied on the cards again and again. At first we used cut potatoes, later on, when the idea manifested itself we crafted a longer lasting stamp out of an eraser or a patotoe. It established itself that we placed the small cards every time on different backgrounds that stand in a relation to UdN and show its materiality when photographing the invitations for the online presence. So the style and size of the cards stayed in general the same and just differentiated by the name of the cooks or musicians– and the background.

In person

While thinking about how to reach people to contribute and make the UdN, the project and the Wednesdays dinners known in the neighborhood, we developed multiple tools for communicating on a 1:1 scale. The aim always was to talk to people directly in the neighborhood, explain the project and give out small giveaways like homemade pralines or the small self-made invitation cards, to make a lasting impression on the neighbors. The higher frequented areas of the Reiherstiegviertel were mainly used as fields to talk to people. For instance the market on Stübenplatz, that takes place two times a week, or the Veringstraße, where most shops are located. The giving away of homemade pralines should also give a hint on our approach in the kitchen, where we were conscious about using fresh food, bought locally, prepared right at UdN. At the beginning it was cheap milk chocolate, but as the praline method proved well so we switched to a better product and also improved on the production technique.

There was never an open call on who wants to participate in promoting the hotel in the neighborhood. Though it was rather obvious who would do so: Vedran was living at the UdN throughout major parts of the project and therefore knew patterns and places where to meet people and didn't have to walk far to do so, Melih speeks turkish and Jenny lives on the Veddel. All three shared a great interest in intercultural practices already before the project and went by a handson mentaility Jenny often said "wir müssen das jetzt einfach rocken!".

Collaborations

After we had several dinners, and made more and more connections to the neighborhood, we got together with other actors on the island. We'd like to refer to this a creating a scene. The triggering incident was when the team from Soulkitchen Halle took care of the dinner on one Wednesday in the mid of February. The Soulkitchen Halle is an event place in Wilhelmsburg where cultural happenings take place since 2010, when it became famous after being the main location in a movie from Hamburg based director Fatih Akin. We went to talk to them in the first place and got to know that they were having problems with the owner of the hall and could not use it due to the need of renovation. So they came to UdN to host one evening – "Soulkitchenhalle EXIL”. This was the first time we gave the actual curating process away and were more in the role of guests than organizers, even though we were still doing the reception to inform people about the project and the setting of the night. We freerode on their attention and of course benefitted from the pool of regular guests they have, who provided a crowded UdN that evening. What was really important here was the way we communicated with them. It was a very amicable. We went there to get to know them first, and maybe ask them to do the bar. Because of the good chemistry between our students
and the staff of Soulkitchen, it just was a natural, trustful process of having them as hosts at UdN, after which they took over the whole evening.

The Soulkitchen night was a changing point for the Wednesday dinners, because it paved the way for further collaborations. The local restaurant Deichdiele took over a night a few weeks later. We already had contact with one cook who was a guest during the 4th dinner. When we went there, and another cook was fond of our idea and wanted to join – finally the whole crew from Deichdiele came to take over the restaurant. They really put a lot of effort in decorating and preparing the night, they planned ahead a lot. Coming to UdN one day before the actual dinner, they changed the look of the bar completely by covering the former naked scaffolding structure with wooden tiles and by writing their logo on it. So the bar's look changed, but what they did is that they kept adapting the style of the UdN's architecture and interior, by using the found wood, applying it in a temporary way to the bar. They also made handwritten chalkboards by themselves out of wooden tiles, which we did before, but is also a common thing in gastronomy. We left the bar like it was after the night and decided to also keep their logo to show the collaboration and stick to our principle of keeping all processes open and visible. For the upcoming dinner the student Julia painted our hotel-lettering – in her handwriting that became a kind of brand – over the one of Deichdiele.
The collaboration subsisted further on – Deichdiele have their flyers at UdN and our flyers for the Wednesdays were displayed at their premises. This demonstrates the establishing process the dinners went through, we became more and more a part of the gastronomy scene in the UdN's neighborhood.

Hamburger Abendblatt

On February 27, 2013 an interview with one reporter from Hamburger Abendblatt, the best selling local newspaper in Hamburg, was held at the UdN. One of our students knew her from when they met at SXSW in Austin the year before. She contacted her via e-mail, describing the project, asking if we would be interested in writing a short article about the processes taking place at UdN. An appointment was made and Birgit Reuther and one Photographer came to UdN during the preparation time of a Wednesdays dinner in the first week of the International Building Workshops. Interview partners were Bernd Kniess, Ben Becker and the students Julia (who made the contact), Dominique and Julian. In the lasting of around 45 minutes the UdN's team described the process of the project, the general mindset of the UdN as a didactical instrument and its role in the neighborhood. Even though they took care of communicating the project’s approach understandable and comprehensive, the final report is a succession of trivialities. The article is describing the setting and approach scarcely, as well as the history of the UdN, but does not really deal with the hotel project itself – the reason the journalist had originally been invited. The article was even sold to the newspaper "Die Welt", who published it with the headline “Versuch eine Stadt zu entwickeln” (Trying to develop a city). Although the article just offers a small survey of the hotel project in the form of insights into details of the Wednesday's dinners, we perceived it as very complaisant. The question is why did she write it in this manner? In the article she describes the atmosphere of the day when the interview took place as very comfortable. Although she did not depict what our intention was, she did described the atmosphere well. The atmosphere probably was the triggering effect on why the article is written in this pleasant way. She experienced it. Seeing students working around her in different tasks and perceiving the beginning of the actual dinner when the food she smelled before it was ready and the guests came by – all these impressions probably affected her. And this subjectively perceived atmosphere took influence on how she wrote the whole article. We were rather happy that the photographer had no say in the writing process. When he joined the interview setting 15 minutes after it started, with the words “What's this hippie fuck supposed to be? Ha, ...oh, of course, it's all a process here... I understand.” It was interesting to see how easily the perception of our practice can be interpreted in a different way.

What we learned here is that bringing people in to the actual performance, gives them of course a way better impression and leads to not always understanding, but at least the possibility of capturing the atmospheric moment, which would not have been possible if that interview would have taken place in the official university building or somewhere else. Understanding a project like the UdN, or in our case the hotel project anyway is difficult, because it is a process and circumstances and ideas change every day. Therefore having people on the premises, letting them see and perceive the actions taking place, makes them aware and interested, which can lead to understanding – but not always does, as one can see in the article.
On a last note, we'd like to say that this article was the only one throughtout the hotel project that made it into the Urban Design showcase at the university building at Averhoffstraße.

Szene Hamburg

Nele Gülck, editor in-chief of lifestyle magazine Szene Hamburg is the neighbor of Dominique, who at that time was hired by the urban design department to take care about the facebook presence of the hotel project. During a dinner together with other flat mates in late January the two started talking about the International Building Exhibition and the UdN. Glück, who studied photography at HfbK Hamburg, could make sense of the critical approach of the UdN towards urban transformation in Dominique's words.

Glück could personaly not make it to one of the dinner nights, but sent Paula Markert, professional photographer, flat mate of Dominique and daughter of Margret Markert, curator at Geschichtswerktstatt Wilhelmsburg to get an impression. Gülck wrote from Markerts memories. We prepared her with one of Vedran's photographs, who at this time became something like the house photographer. The article was published in the culinary section, and addresses the history of the UdN, the intercultural practice of the dinners (and invites to join dinners) and the experimental approach towards urban development.

Gülck later came back to the UdN when she was looking for a space to get Uli Hellweg, managing director at IBA and Tina Schmidt, press spokesperson of Arbeitskreis Umstrukturierung Wilhelmsburg (AKU). Ben Becker made clear that the UdN has no interest in being utilized joining sides here. It was quite interesting to see Becker taking action in order to hold up the UdN's position as a space without pre-fixed classifications of actors and the possibility to converge without forcing his opinion as a representative of the UdN on Hellweg or Schmidt.

Hinz und Kunzt

“Das Hamburger Straßenmagazin”, was working on an article to show the old and new Wilhelmsburg under the heading “Stadtgespräch”. The Neighborhood's University was a great example to emphasis the transformative aspects of urban development. The article introduces the reader to the UdN with a paragraph about its history and the hotel project as the culmination of the performance during the IBA exhibition year. The journalist and photographer spent a day during the interna- tional building workshops in february at the UdN. Ben Becker showed them around the construction site and later journalists were free to join any activities going on this day. The article mentions the dinner situation and also puts the hotel in the context of other temporary (and culinary) projects such as Café Blaues Gold, Deichdiele, Rialto cinema and alike. A statement from Ben Becker points towards the research effort of dwelling in practice and Jenny mentions collaboratos such as Soulkitchen, Deichdiele and others in the Interview. It is again a very warm-hearted story about the dinner nights.

Blogs

With a growing number of facebook friends and the crowd funding campaign on goteo.org we could get attention from blogs on urbanism and/ or design. Although our crowdfunding campaign was a disaster money- and reputationwise, we later noticed that it served as a pool of information for blogs. The article about the UdN on popupcity.net lives almost exclusively from the information on the crowd funding campaign. The hotel project was set in the context of new urbanism trends identified by the popupcity editors. The UdN runs under peer-to-peer and crowdunding. The video produced for the crowdfunding campaign was also used on udn.hcu-hamburg.de and the blog for pragmatic idealism good.is. The video produced during the workshop with Ton Matton had such a negative conotation to a prism that those responsible had to decide to take it from the udn website.

It is throught blogs, were we experienced the reach our output had, and again, as in many interviews we did for print, how fast information gets astray and taken out of context. There was often no contact between editors and us before they blogged about the UdN.

Gastro Flyer

On February 21st we got a letter from the Büro für Lokale Wirtschaft asking the Hotel about a possible contribution to a Gastro Flyer, which would have been a map showing all gastronomy venues on the island Wilhelmsburg. The offer was 200 euros for the hotel. As the teaching had previously experienced the work of LoWi the decided that the approach of this flyer was utiliz- ing local economies in mere economic way and therefore did not meet the hotels appraoch of critical intervention. The hotel did not participate in the Gastronomy Flyer.

Embedded Practice

The photo below shows students leaving from the first night at the hotel back on October 20, 2012. They can be identified as backpackers. It was only during the workshop with Sabrina Lindemann when we realized that this practice of walking to and from our experiment can actually bee seen as a performantive practice.

Specialized Press

Every international workshop had an international guest hosting the workshop: Ton Matton, Sabrina Lindemann, Benjamin Förster-Baldenius, Martin Kaltwasser and Peter Fattinger. All those are quite renown in the architectural press. A call for participation for the thrid and fourth internationl building workshop was published on the Arch+ webiste. This was possible due to the professional network of our teaching staff. This provided, especially for the project students, validation of our own practice. Here content was published as prepared.

Facebook

The UdN is a person on facebook that has a site. During the hotel project we could operate the site. It was around the 4th dinner night in early January 2013 when we picked the site up with just above 100 likes. We published all printed matter we produced to advertise the dinner nights also on our facebook page. As soon as we had settled on the kappa-tiles & hand writing design we create images following a pattern. This pattern in design came analog with a pattern of publishing. Keeping the Facebook site up-to-date made some kind of strategical planning necessary.

The site attracted likes almost exclusively along events. Again, the content, is almost entirely coming from the enactment of the hotel with a little notion of higher education. We published a picture a day when at the UdN. With just a slight increase of likes between of November and January, the site gained likes with the international building workshops. The easiest momentum at hand is of course that there were almost 70 people working, living, partying at the UdN during the four weeks of the international building workshops. The majority started following the UdN just at the beginning at the workshops. One student took professionaly care of the UdN site from January to the end of march. All images came from students in the project.

IBA Ballon

January 18. Bernd Kniess got a letter from Joke Event Agentur in the name of the International Building Exhibition, asking for a contribution for the opening weekend of IBA March 23rd and 24th 2013. The letter was handed over to the hotel students who handled it from there. IBA has quite a divided image in Wilhelmsburg and also beyond. The Neighborhood's University has never made a great effort to hold the IBA flag up high, but was always aware of its dependence.

The letter asks for any activities during the opening weekend so that guests can visit the UdN. All acitivities were displayed in the official IBA programm. The hotel contributed with an open house with coffee and cake. Students guided visitors around the hotel structure and then often went inside the UdN to have a chat over a coffee and student-made cakes. Although there were not too many visitors, I would estimate a maximum of 50 over the day, it was quite a nice sunday at the UdN.

However, there was the issue of the IBA Ballon. In the letter Joke Event agency asks if the UdN would like to participate in the Riesenballone-Aktion. Helium-filled ballons with a diameter of 160cm would be set up at all 60+ IBA projects and than in a symbolic act let loose simultaneous during the opening weekend. An action copied from plenty of other events in the past, and therefore perceived rather awkward. The UD department decided that the hotel would not be part of this.
Rene Reckschwardt, communication partner between UdN and IBA and often guest during the dinners intervened after he heard from the event agency about us not playing along. He stated in an email that the UdN is an IBA project and therefore cannot go alone here. Students got in contact with the event agency again, and got the hotel enrolled for the performance. The participation was confirmed, all details for its realization were shared, but on March 24th no ballon was to be seen at the UdN.

  1. Trüby, S. (2008). Displayverhalten. Zur Evolotion des Papierarchitekten. In Arch+ 186/187. pp. 134-137.
  2. Koolhaas, R. (2008). Ridiculously Modest. In 032c. Issue #15. pp. 72-79. Retrieved from http://032c.com/2008/ridiculously-modest
  3. Fischer-Lichter, E. (2004). Ästhetik des Performativen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. P. 823.
  4. Kirschbaum, M. (2008). Der Architekt als Kommunikator. In Arch+ 186/187. pp. 138-141.
  5. see: Franck, G. (1998). Ökonomie der Aufmerksamkeit. Wien: Carl Hanser Verlag.
  6. Sagmeister, S. (2009). Made you look. Mainz: Schmidt. Original published in 2001.