The Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art—or Urban Nation Museum for short—is the first museum for urban art in Germany and is housed in a former residential building in the Schöneberg district of Berlin.
GRAFT’s concept for the conversion of the building at the intersection of Bülowstrasse and Zietenstrasse envisaged turning the building itself into a work of art. This was achieved by constructing the facade from modular sections that serve as canvases for artists from around the world. These modular facade elements are frequently redesigned, replaced and subsequently added to the museum’s collection as works of art.
Entering the building reveals a radical and unexpected space: rooms branch off along different axes, over two or even three floors, creating a sense of height and depth. The anamorphic techniques of urban art permeate the realm of architecture, allowing them to enter new symbioses with each other.
The idea of the street finds continuation in the museum’s interior: the exhibition spaces are connected by an internal walkway—a High Line of sorts—making it possible to experience the different works of art up close and from afar.
The Museum also contains a library and twelve apartments for artists taking part in the Urban Nation artist residency program.
Urban Nation is an initiative of the Stiftung Berliner Leben, a foundation founded by the Gewobag housing association in 2013. Under the direction of Yasha Young, the museum has gained a reputation as a platform for urban art that attracts artists and visitors from around the world.