Updating Germany

German Contribution to the 11th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale, 2008

Photos: Art Installation 64 kw by Siegrun Appelt at the Entrance of the German Pavilion © Christian Hiller

The expulsion from paradise is irrevocable. And yet paradise, whether hortus conclusus or land of plenty, remains an enduring component of our conception of the ideal. The apple of knowledge and the philosophy of the Enlightenment have left an indelible cultural mark on our society. But given our knowledge that a return to a supposedly- ideal primitive state is impossible, we would do well to direct our gaze forward instead. The great social and environmental problems stand clearly before our eyes. We recognize that there is no one right path forward and that it is impossible to predict all the future consequences of today’s actions. And thus we must endure a condition of unpredictability, choose amongst a large variety of possibilities and pursue various options at the same time. In our complex, individualised world, this multi-optionality has become a challenge in that we are supposedly capable of determining everything, and yet for all intents and purposes, still seem to be at the mercy of global developments.

Updating Germany – Project for a Better Future is the German contribution to the 11th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale 2008. General commissioners Friedrich von Borries and Matthias Böttger of raumtaktik are presenting 20 projects from architects, designers, engineers and artists – steps both large and small toward a betterfuture. 

The exhibition design of the German contribution seizes upon global challenges: the focal point of the exhibition is a mobile that symbolises the perpetual search for equilibrium and the complexity of the systems in which we find ourselves today. Change one parameter, and the whole system is set into motion – a reminder that simultaneously sounds a note of caution and gives cause for hope. Twenty projects are shown in the mobile, ranging from research to design, from science to art; twenty intelligent, surprising and sometimes quite simple ideas. But just like the world, the mobile exists in a state of imbalance. Alone, the updates presented cannot even-out the global tilt. Are the ideas presented too light or too heavy? What additional updates do we need to bring things into balance?

Architects Friedrich von Borries and Matthias Böttger work with an expanded architectural concept that encompasses the entire living environment including its economical and political interdependencies – particularly suited to the Architecture Biennial’s motto “Out There: Architecture Beyond Building”. They consider their contribution a call to critical thought: Updating Germany asks questions – for architects, urban developers, designers and visitors to the exhibit: “How do we want to live?”, “What can we do?” Possible answers will come at the exhibition, but also in in the catalogue “Updating Germany. 100 projects for a better future” via a multitude of projects representing various courses of action.

Duration of the exhibition: September 14 - November 23, 2008

General commissioners and Curators: Friedrich von Borries, Matthias Böttger
Graphic design: onlab, Berlin
Exhibition design: raumtaktik, Berlin und onlab, Berlin
Project management: Füsun Türetken
Concept und Production: Wiesje Bijl, Etta Dannemann, Christian Hiller
Team: Moritz Ahlert, Ines Bergdolt, Felix Demme, Florian Heilmeyer, Benjamin Kasten, Tobias Kurtz, Alexandre Mussche, Marzia Panai, Giulia Tubelli, Alon Trostanetsky, Keke Ye
Communication:sbca sally below cultural affairs, Berlin

The exhibit is supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs.


Exhibited projects at the German Pavilion

001 Energy Bunker - Urban renewable energy initiative, Hamburg, Germany, until 2013
010 Pink Project - A Regeneration strategy in New Orleans, USA, 2007
014 Prosolve 370E - A Photocatalytic tile system for Polluted urban spaces, 2006
018 Bricks for the Gando School - School buildings in Burkina Faso
025 The great Pyramid - Collective burial site in Dessau-Rosslau, in planning
027 The Green Desert Mine - Autonomous city system in the Eastern Sahara
031 Jühnde Bioenergy Village - An Energy self‒sufficient vilage in Jühnde, Germany, since 2005
032 2100 Elsdorf am See - A Terraforming Project in Elsdorf, Germany, 2010-2100
038 City Islands - A Radical redevelopment concept in Dessau, Germany, 2002-2010
045 MEtreePOLIS - City of the future in Atlanta, USA, 2007 (Concept)
051 Solar Power Membranes - Solar foil, 2008
060 Tissue Engineering - New material research, 2006
062 SkySails - Kite propulsion system, since 2005
063 SPREE2011 - Floating sewerage overflow reservoirs in Berlin, Germany, 2009 (pilot facility)
072 Salbke Bookmark - Open-air library in Magdeburg-Salbke, 2009
077 United Bottle - Prototype, 2007
083 Digital Electricity- Digital electricity regulation via power cables, 2009-2010
087 Solarbier - Sustainable beer from Thalmannsfeld, Germany, 2007
091 Loremo / 074 Carriva Car Pool - Loremo Sportscar, 2010 / Carriva Ride-sharing Software, 2008
099 The Bucher Family House - Home Improvement in Lorsch, Germany, 2002-2006

Technical Paradise - An installation with 50 apple trees at the German Pavilion, Venice, Italy, 2008
ReDesign - Furniture made from recycled chipboards
Updating TV - Comment Collector at the German Pavilion, Venice, Italy, 2008


Accompanying Publication

Catalogue "Updating Germany. 100 Projects For A Better Future."
Commentary Volume  "Better Future? Searching for the Spaces of Tomorrow"


Further Exhibitions

Updating Germany at the German Architecture Museum (DAM) in Frankfurt/Main, 2008
Paradise Lounge DMY, Contribution to the DMY Youngsters, International Design Festival Berlin, 2009
Updating Germany at the Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof, Hamburg, 2009
Updating Germany in China, Shanghai Design Center, Shanghai 2009



Photo: Entrance German Pavilon © Mario Ermoli

Photo: Main exhibition space Updating Germany © David Grandorge

Photo: Main exhibition space Updating Germany © David Grandorge

Photos: Main exhibition space Updating Germany. Photo left © Mario Ermoli; photo right © Benjamin Kasten

Photo: Opening © Alexander Branczyk

Photo: Opening © Benjamin Kasten

Photo: Opening © Alexander Branczyk

Photo: Main exhibition space Updating Germany © Mario Ermoli

Photo: Different elements of the mobile at the main exhibition space Updating Germany © Benjamin Kasten

Photo: Different elements of the mobile at the main exhibition space Updating Germany © Mario Ermoli

Photo: Different elements of the mobile at the main exhibition space Updating Germany. Photo left © Ragna Körby; photo right © Mario Ermoli 

Photo: Display boards by onlab © David Grandorge

Foto: Hauptausstellungsraum Updating Germany © Ragna Körby

Photos: Different elements of the mobile at the main exhibition space Updating Germany © Mario Ermoli

Photo left: Redesign; photo right: Technical Paradies. Photos © Benjamin Kasten

Photo: Technical Paradise © Benjamin Kasten

Photo: Technical Paradise © Ragna Körby

Photo: Singer Bernadette La Hengst © Benjamin Kasten