Back to the Future: The ICC as an Opportunity for the City

Tonight, the Lab Talk “Back to the Future” will engage Berlin Senator Stephan Schwarz and European protagonists in a discussion on rethinking the future of Berlin's International Congress Centre, ICC. GRAFT founding partner Thomas Willemeit is one of the front row peers alongside Thomas Oberender, Frank Oehring, Elena Schütz and Edith Wunsch.
A possible future for Berlin's International Congress Centre, ICC was first discussed at ANCB in May 2022 against the backdrop of the continuous decrease of public spaces for culture in Berlin and the need for ecological building conversions. This follow-up Lab Talk looks beyond Berlin to present exemplary projects from the Netherlands and France with the aim to encourage a rethinking of the ICC’s potential and illustrating the opportunities that such a unique place holds for the city and its urban development. Three high-profile examples will be presented, highlighting new processes, economic concepts and partnerships as well as the lasting positive effects of these best practices on their respective cities. The subsequent podium discussion will focus on the ICC as a prototype and real laboratory for opportunities.
In collaboration with Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises, Berlin Chamber of Architects and Bauwelt.

When? Monday, 23 January 2023, 6.30 pm
Where? ANCB The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory, Christinenstr. 18–19, 10119 Berlin
Registration: (for on-site attendence only)
Livestream: (no registration necessary)
The event will take place in English. Admittance is free.


Welcome and Introduction
Hans-Jürgen Commerell, Director, ANCB The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory, Berlin
Ayhan Ayrilmaz, Vice President, Berlin Chamber of Architects
Josepha Landes, Editor, Bauwelt, Berlin

Presentation of international best practice examples
Van Nelle Fabrik – Aldo Vos, Managing Partner, broekbakema Architects, Rotterdam
LocHal, Tilburg – Ingrid van der Heijden, Partner, CIVIC Architects, Amsterdam
Palais de Tokyo – Lacaton & Vassal, Paris (video presentation)

Podium Discussion
Stephan Schwarz, Senator for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises, Berlin
Dimitri Hegemann, Founder Tresor and Happy Locals, Berlin
moderated by Theresa Keilhacker, President, Berlin Chamber of Architects, involving Front Row Peers and a public audience

Front Row Peers
Thomas Oberender, Author and Curator, Berlin
Frank Oehring, Artist, Oehring + Lux, Berlin
Elena Schütz, Something Fantastic, Berlin, Initiative ICCC Berlin
Thomas Willemeit, GRAFT Architects, Berlin
Edith Wunsch, Senior Project Manager at Tempelhof Projekt GmbH; Architectural Association Visiting School: Urban Phoenix Berlin

Background: The International Congress Centre, ICC, is a spectacular urban sculpture located in former West Berlin that was commissioned by the state of Berlin and built between 1973–79 by Ralf Schüler and Ursulina Schüler-Witte. Comparable to the Centre Pompidou, which opened two years earlier, it celebrates the technoid beauty of the 'modern building machine'. Considered a pinnacle of high-tech architecture, the ICC was one of the world's largest and most successful convention centres, seating around 20,000 people in 80 halls. In 2014, Messe Berlin, the operator of the state property, closed the ICC as a convention centre. In 2019, the building was listed for its architectural significance and good state of preservation, but the question of a permanent new use in the future remains unresolved. Since 2019, the state of Berlin has been looking for an investor for the ICC.