European Kunsthalle

Spaces of Production

Cologne, DE
Type: Infrastructure Research

Commissioned by Nikolaus Schafhausen and Vanessa Joan Müller (European Kunsthalle)

European Kunsthalle

  • Spatial design by Nikolaus Hirsch, Markus Miessen, Philipp Misselwitz, Matthias Görlich

The project Spaces of Production that has been integrated into the foundation phase of the European Kunsthalle explores the spatial conditions and potential of Cologne as well as in other urban situations in Europe. The research has revealed that many contemporary cultural institutions in Europe have deliberately sidestepped the traditional categories of cultural institutions or carefully advanced these, subverted them, given them new meaning or combined them in new ways. In this process, architecture and urbanism inevitably assume a critical yet increasingly contradictory role. On the one hand, art institutions have become strategic instruments of urban planning and marketing expected to reactivate entire regions and cities (Bilbao effect). An opposite position is taken by temporary strategies in the tradition of Situationism that appropriate existing territories and empty spaces in the city, and yet in doing so run the risk of being ensnared by what one might call a festivalization. This dilemma between stability and instability is the starting point for a debate on the contemporary spatial transformation of European art institutions, as well as possible spatial models for a European Kunsthalle in Cologne.