Architecture Matters 2018

with: Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, HafenCity Hamburg GmbH – Reinier de Graaf, OMA – Chris Dercon, Volksbühne Berlin – Ulrich Höller, GEG German Estate Group AG – Andrej Holm, HU Berlin – Carsten Loll, Linklaters – Elisabeth Merk, LH Munich – Julian Nida-Rümelin, LMU – Saskia van Stein, Bureau Europa – Christiane Thalgott LH Munich (ret.) – Erion Veliaj, Tirana
+ Super-Jury

8.3. Munich book launch “Four Walls and a Roof”
9.3. business brunch architects & developers – conference – dinner

Money talks!

In 2018, we turn our attention to the economic foundations of architecture and the city. What does building in the city mean, given the expanding globalisation of the real estate industry? Worldwide property sales are rising: driven by the search for safe investment opportunities and low interest rate policies, nearly every buyer group imaginable is entering this market.

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Money Talks

For Germany – one of the most important investment targets for foreign buyers due to its political and economic stability – this means huge price increases in urban centres for land and therefore for housing. For architects, another consequence is that client profiles are changing too. Where, how and for whom are we building? What is the role of the “quality” of a building, and what specific qualities does this entail? How important is location for investors? How much can an investor “afford” to consider a building’s future users? What role do architects play in this context? What can and should both sides contribute to the common good? Where and how must state institutions intervene in a regulatory manner, apart from the reorganisation of land law?

The architect in the “shark tank”(1)? With an eye on the future, it makes little sense to perpetuate the clichéd relationship between real estate and architecture – where purely profit-oriented investors join out-of-touch, egotistical architects concerned only with aesthetics to produce soulless “investor architecture”. Even with rising interest rates, when other forms of investment become more attractive than real estate, the market is changing due to globalisation and digitalisation. Architects must fundamentally rethink their profession if they want to remain relevant. Investors must also think about their potential end-users, such as large pension funds seeking safe, long-term investments, which must consider the quality and amount of their investments to protect the value of their assets. All stakeholders should – and must – take interest in sustainable cities, where people can live in content and participate in their design, where the less affluent are not excluded and which – with a view to the Asian megacities – remain globally competitive.

One of the goals of Architecture Matters is to bring together and communicate the various perspectives surrounding these issues using a “hands-on” approach. With different formats, from a large public stage to small discussions. Including guests from the fields of architecture, real estate, sociology, philosophy, a former finance minister and two city planning commissioners. With trips to Tirana, whose young mayor is pursuing ambitious goals for the redesign of the city, and to the Volksbühne in Berlin.

(1) The quote refers to the title of Bauwelt issue 3/2017, which deals with the real estate sector.


Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg

CEO HafenCity Hamburg GmbH

Since 2003, Prof. Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg has been Chief Executive Officer of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, a public company owned by the City State of Hamburg, charged with the development of the HafenCity and other areas. As the largest inner-city development project in Europe, the HafenCity will, when completed, expand Hamburg‘s urban core by 40 percent. Bruns-Berentelg previously held senior positions at British, American and German property companies and was involved in major projects such as the Berlin Central Station and the Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. Since 2014 he has also been a professor for Integrated Urban Development at HafenCity University in Hamburg.

Chris Dercon

Artistic Director of the Volksbühne Berlin

It was the theatre debate of the year: in August 2017, Belgian native Chris Dercon was appointed artistic director of the Volksbühne Berlin after 25 years of Frank Castorf. Before that, Dercon was director of PS1 in New York, Haus der Kunst in Munich and, from 2011 to 2016, the Tate Modern in London. During that time, he also oversaw the opening of the Tate’s new extension by Herzog & de Meuron. A museum man as director of one of the most important theatres in Germany, and for his critics, the embodiment of a globalised cultural jet-set. “We are a new kind of hybrid,” Dercon said about his appointment to the Volksbühne. Perhaps it is through experimental forms of production that blur the boundaries between genres that will reveal what the theatre of the future must be if it wants to remain relevant.

Reinier de Graaf

Partner at OMA, Rotterdam

Reinier de Graaf is a partner at OMA, one of the most influential architectural firms in the world. He is responsible for urban planning in Europe, the Middle East and Russia, and for projects such as Timmerhuis in Rotterdam (2015), which unites the city administration, offices and apartments; Holland Green in London (2016), where luxury apartments are financing a design museum; and the De Rotterdam high-rise complex (2013). Since 2002 he has also been the director of AMO, the think tank of OMA. His latest book “Four Walls and a Roof: The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession,” first published at the end of September 2017, has already been printed in its third edition.

Ulrich Höller

CEO, GEG German Estate Group AG, Frankfurt am Main

Ulrich Höller is Chairman of the Executive Board of GEG German Estate Group AG and one of the best-known German real estate managers. His most ambitious project to date has been the MainTor quarter. With the former Degussa site covering just under two hectares, he has developed one of the most prominent sites in Frankfurt. For his current project Riverpark Tower, a former administration building will be converted into a 95-metre-high residential building. Höller is a member of the Central Real Estate Committee and Friends of the MMK Museum for Modern Art Frankfurt and holds members of various supervisory and advisory boards for Commerzbank AG and DIC Asset AG, amongst others.

Andrej Holm

Humboldt University, Berlin

Dr. Andrej Holm is a social scientist, activist and research associate at the Humboldt University of Berlin. In December 2016, he was temporarily appointed State Secretary for Housing by Berlin’s red-red-green coalition government and represented a clear change of direction, prioritising the social functions of housing over private interests. His interests lie in urban and housing policy and related societal conflicts, with his research projects addressing such issues as urban renewal, gentrification, squats and forced evacuation. His important monographs and editorships include “The Berlin Reader. A Compendium on Urban Change and Activism” (Transcript, 2013), “Reclaim Berlin. Soziale Kämpfe in der neoliberalen Stadt” (trans.: Social Struggles in the Neoliberal City) (Assoziation A, 2014) and “Mietenwahnsinn. Warum Wohnen immer teurer wird und wer davon profitiert” (trans: Crazy Rents. Why Living is Becoming Increasingly Expensive and Who Profits from It) (Droemer Knaur, 2014).

Carsten Loll

Partner, Linklaters, Munich

Dr. Carsten Loll is a partner at Linklaters and one of Germany’s leading real estate lawyers, specialising in real estate transactions and real estate private equity. He has been involved in transactions with a total volume of several billion euros, including the acquisition of the Kaisergalerie in Hamburg by AFIAA, the sale of the Elisenhof in Munich to Tishman Speyer, and the acquisition of a pan-European logistics portfolio by Blackstone. Loll was previously head of the International and German Real Estate Practice of DLA Piper. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Urban Land Institute and its Local Chair in Munich.

Elisabeth Merk

Urban Development Councilor, Munich

What is the grand plan for Munich? Prof. Dr.-Ing. Elisabeth Merk is an architect and the Urban Planning Commissioner of the Bavarian state capital since 2007 as the successor of Christiane Thalgott. After working as an independent architect and earning her doctorate in Florence, she was responsible for urban design, monument conservation and special projects in Munich and Regensburg from 1995 to 2000. She then led the office of urban development and planning in Halle/Saale until 2006. Elisabeth Merk has been a professor at the University of Applied Sciences Stuttgart since 2005 and President of the German Academy for Urban and Regional Planning since 2015.

Julian Nida-Rümelin

Philosopher, LMU Munich

Prof. Dr. Dr. H.C. Julian Nida-Rümelin is one of the most renowned philosophers in Germany alongside Jürgen Habermas and Peter Sloterdijk. The former State Minister for Culture teaches philosophy and political theory at the University of Munich, has written numerous books and offers precise, unbiased commentary on ethics, politics and other contemporary issues. He sparked a debate on the prioritisation of higher education over vocational training, triggered intensive discussions on the role of ethics in economic practice with his book “Optimierungsfalle”, and frequently addresses the link between ethics and urban architecture.

Saskia van Stein

Director of Bureau Europa, Maastricht

Saskia van Stein is the director of Bureau Europa, a platform for architecture and design based in Maastricht. Originally founded as a satellite of the Netherlands Architectural Institute and now operating independently, Bureau Europa addresses urgent issues of our times against the backdrop of the design disciplines. In addition to her curatorial work, van Stein is an author, moderator and consultant whose work is firmly anchored in the worlds of architecture and design. She is a member of the advisory committee of the Dutch Government’s Council for Culture, and has served on the juries for the Princess Margriet Award for Culture, the Dutch Design Awards and the Prix de Rome 2014.

Christiane Thalgott

Architect, Urban Planning Commissioner ret., Munich

From 1992 to 2007, Prof. Dr.-Ing. E. h. Christiane Thalgott served for three terms as Munich’s Urban Planning Commissioner. Important urban development decisions were made during her tenure, such as the reconstruction of the main train station, the extension of the Mittlerer Ring (Centre Ring Road) with its new tunnels and the construction of the Jewish Centre. Even after leaving her post as head of Department of Urban Planning and Building Regulations, she continues to be active in her field, e.g. as a strong advocate of land rights reform. She has been a member of the Academy of Arts Berlin since 2013.

Erion Veliaj

Mayor of Tirana, Albania

Erion Veliaj, born in 1979, has been mayor of Tirana since 2015. Prior to that, he served as Minister of Youth and Social Welfare for two years, and has been politically active since his youth. In 2003 he founded the civic movement MJAFT! – Albanian for “Enough!”. Its aim was to overcome political apathy by encouraging civic engagement. Under the dictator Enver Hoxha, Albania was isolated from the world for decades, not unlike North Korea today. During that time, Albania had the highest bunker density in the world. As an advocate for transparency and dialogue, Veliaj is advancing a process begun by his predecessor, the artist and current Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama. One of Veliaj’s main projects is Tirana030, an urban development plan for the Albanian capital and the surrounding area, which aims to curb the wild expansion of the city. The plan includes a greenbelt of two million trees around the city.

9.3.2018 Conference

Lenbachplatz 8
80333 Munich

Dr. Silke Claus, bayern design
Nadin Heinich
Reinier de Graaf
architecture & realism
Ulrich Höller, Andrej Holm
city, state and money
Julian Nida-Rümelin
city and the common good
Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, Elisabeth Merk, Erion Veliaj
the grand plan
Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg, Reinier de Graaf, Ulrich Höller, Andrej Holm, Elisabeth Merk
Chris Dercon, Julian Nida-Rümelin
fast forward – cultural institutions and the bigger picture
drinks and music

8.3.2018 Munich Book Launch

„Four Walls and a Roof. The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession“
Reinier de Graaf, OMA, Rotterdam

special Guest: Prof. Dr. Kurt Faltlhauser, former Bavarian Minister of Finance

Alte Akademie
Neuhauser Straße 8-10
80333 Munich

In his new book, Reinier de Graaf describes the close interplay of architecture, real estate, financial markets and politics in a clever and humorous way with a healthy dose of sarcasm and a keen sense for the absurdity of self-appointed “starchitects”.

Where does the building process leave room for added value that cannot be measured in terms of cash or concrete? Contributing a political perspective is Prof. Dr. Kurt Faltlhauser, who has overseen the construction of numerous cultural buildings in Munich and Bavaria over the past nine years as the Bavarian Finance Minister. The event venue itself will be a topic: reconstruction plans for the Alte Akademie by Austrian real estate entrepreneur René Benko (SIGNA Holding) have been approved recently after a long discussion.

moderation: Nadin Heinich
welcome: Dr. Klaus-Peter Potthast, Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs

9.3.2018 Move Your Business Forward!

Business brunch for investors, developers and young architects
Friday, 9.3.2018, 10–12 noon

Social Room
Lenbachplatz 2
80333 Munich

Unconventional ideas for today’s changing market.
New commissions.

moderators: Nadin Heinich, Christiane Thalgott, Carsten Loll
in cooperation with the Urban Land Institute

Personal invitation only; limited seating.
Are you an architect and want to participate in the event? Then send us a brief request including a profile of your office, references, etc. to:

Fast Forward Magazine