Cultural location policy in hamburg: kampnagel is to be made more beautiful

The federal government and the city want to invest up to 120 million euros in the Hamburg theater site. Now there are initial ideas on how and for what.

The Kampnagel cultural factory in Hamburg is to be renovated and expanded. When? Who knows Photo: dpa

Advent atmosphere in Hamburg-Winterhude. No, there will be no pre-Christmas stalls on the Kampnagel site in the future. But they had something new and great to announce on Thursday, the representatives of the house as well as the city: Amelie Deuflhard and Sabine Stenzel, artistic director and commercial director, in addition to Senator of Culture Carsten Brosda (SPD) and Martin Gorge, managing director of the municipal real estate company Sprinkenhof.

As if he had guessed that words of thanks would await him, Johannes Kahrs had also come. The SPD member of the Bundestag had played a major role in securing federal funding for various Hamburg cultural institutions. It became known in mid-November that Kampnagel would receive up to 120 million euros, half from the federal government and half from the city.

Now this money must not simply be put into ongoing operations. Instead of "money for art" – as Deuflhard half-jokingly wished – it is for the renovation, but also the expansion of the former crane factory. It was never built as a theater, Stenzel said, and to this day something of its provisional character has been preserved. The special character of the place, however, that should remain, all four said yesterday.

Kampnagel has been a place for culture since 1982, and in this time not only the substance has become older – which one does not even notice, for example as an evening visitor. "We have been planning to renovate Kampnagel for a long time," Brosda said.

A tower with rehearsal stages

According to Gorge, the extent of the need for renovation came to light when the city took a close look at a total of 23 cultural properties it owns about two years ago. In almost 40 years, the requirements for such a building with an audience have also changed. The administration building, for example, now has a second escape route. This is a measure of which visitors or residents will notice little.

The situation is likely to be different with the announced expansion. There are no definitive designs yet, nor is there a timetable worthy of the name – Brosda has just stated that it should not take longer than a "single-digit number of years" for construction to begin.

But the Paris-based firm Lacaton & Vassal has already come up with a few ideas. One of them: a five-story tower for rehearsal rooms and stages. Another: Accommodation for visiting artists.

Five floors, that’s higher than anything currently standing on the site – so it can’t be ruled out that neighbors might take offense at this part of the project. But opening up to the city, to the district, is explicitly part of the whole – Kampnagel does not want to be an impermeable barrier, says Deuflhard.

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