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Archive: IBA Berlin 2020

On the road to IBA Berlin 2020


Idea of a third International Building Exhibition

On 31 October 2008 Berlin shut down the Tempelhof airport and thus reclaimed a unique area of land. The world's focus is on how Berlin approaches this opportunity. Already in early 2008, Regula Lüscher, Senate Building Director of Berlin, therefore proposed that the development of Tempelhofer Freiheit should be qualified by a third International Building Exhibition. In an interview, she defended her view by saying that Tempelhofer Freiheit could become a crystallisation point of experimental and future-oriented urban development practices.

Preliminary studies regarding a third IBA in Berlin

Extensive preliminary studies had been conducted by 2009, which also examined general conditions and specified expectations with respect to the Tempelhof development. Several workshops were held in that context with external experts from different disciplines as well as actors of other International Building Exhibitions. Keywords like "resource-efficient", "collaborative-integrative" and "sustainable-corporate" outline the requirements set for an IBA concept for Berlin.

Tempelhofer Feld, Foto: Klingsporn; Luftbild Tempelhofer Feld

The spatial background of the IBA Berlin 2020 must reach beyond Tempelhof!

The ensuing discussions quickly showed: a third International Building Exhibition to confront the pressing problems of European metropolitan areas in the 21st century must go far beyond the crystallisation point of Tempelhofer Freiheit and include locations in the entire urban space. The Senate Department for Urban Development thus set itself the task in 2010 of working out a concept specific to Berlin that could spur on international debate and local urban development practice over the next ten years and produce excellence of process and implementation.

Prae-IBA phase

For this purpose, a seven-member "Prae-IBA Team" was appointed in summer 2010, tasked with the development of a proposal for the IBA Berlin 2020 concept by mid-2011. In the first few months of 2011, the central ideas were put up for discussion in the IBA Studio, a public workspace in the former customs warehouse of the Tempelhof airport building. All interested stakeholders were invited to join in the discussion, share their ideas and make suggestions. At the beginning of August, then, the Prae-IBA Team presented its proposed concept.

The IBA concept

On the basis of the previous discussions and the agreements of the new government coalition, the ideas of the Prae-IBA phase were worked out, enhanced and sharpened by the Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment until mid-2012. At three major symposia, key central topics of IBA were identified at the turn of the year, inspiring the Berlin discussion with a variety of international examples. At the same time, under the heading of "Outer city as inner city”, work commenced on drafting an IBA memorandum. This process was accompanied by workshops with experts, technical bodies, initiatives and housing market actors as well as a number of public workshop talks at the Alte Zollgarage (former Tempelhof airport).


The idea of a third IBA has been met with great interest in Berlin. No doubt, very many people feel a great need to participate in the discussion on the future of the city, as well as actively to shape it. A decision by the Senate on the IBA is expected by early 2013, with the Senate proposal being deliberated in the House of Representatives. If a decision is taken in favour of the IBA, the founding of a company "IBA GmbH" can then be prepared, and the IBA can move into the take-off phase. Through the productive interaction of scientists and practitioners, investors and real estate owners, creative types and spatial pioneers, the local competence of citizens in the neighbourhoods and many other actors, Berlin will take advantage of the exceptional situation of an IBA for the third time in order to set a new course for the future.

(1) Photo: Klingsporn; (2) Photo: SenStadtWohn / Dirk Laubner
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