Neighborhood´s University "Hotel Wilhelmsburg"

Filed on 08 / 04 / 2013
€ 240
€ 2.000
€ 3.000
8 Backers
  • Contributing € 10

    Name in the Book

    Being listed with name in the "thank you page" of the book.

    > 04 Backers
  • Contributing € 20

    dinner coupon

    Receiving a coupon valid for one dinner in the restaurant.

    > 03 Backers
  • Contributing € 40

    dinner coupon and name in the book

    Listed with name in the book and a dinner coupon for the hotel restaurant.

    > 00 Backers
  • Contributing € 80

    Night and tour

    One night in the hotel with a personal guided tour through the UdN.

    > 00 Backers
  • Contributing € 160

    night and tour through the neighborhood and UdN

    One night in the hotel with a personal guided tour through the UdN and the neighborhood of Wilhelmsburg.

    > 00 Backers
  • Contributing € 320

    Weekend in the hotel with local wellness program

    We offer a weekend in the hotel with a wellness program in the local turkish hamam.

    > 00 Backers
  • Contributing € 35.000

    Publisher Contract

    For a funding of 35000 Euro you will become the publisher of the book.

    > 00 Backers

About this project

A DIY low-budget high-quality community-run luxury-hotel and "university as a marketplace" in the neighborhood?

Needs Task Minimum Optimum
Editorial Report and Peer-Review
Basic editorial and peer-review of the texts and articles in the book.
€ 800
Book Design
Basic layout and design of the book.
€ 800
Professional Photographer
Well, we all are photographers and this is ok for the open-source documentation, but a professional eye is necessary to achieve a certain quality for a book.
€ 300
Printing an edition of 100
Printing and book making is a process with a wide range of costs. Low-budget print service provider offer 100 books with 200 pages around 1000 Euro.
€ 1.000
Needs Infrastructure Minimum Optimum
MediaWiki service provider
To provide a open source documentation, we need to run a MediaWiki. This causes some expenses. approx. 50 Euro per year. 2 years min.
€ 100
Total € 2.000 € 3.000

General information

A DIY low-budget high-quality community-run luxury-hotel and "university as a marketplace" in the neighborhood?


In Wilhelmsburg, a neighborhood in Hamburg, Germany, an old and abandoned building from the 1950s with an "official expiration date" by the end of 2013, was transformed into a "Neighborhood’s University". Over the last four years, a process of "programmatic shrinkage" and "revaluation" was developed, and the building was transformed with a minimal amount of money, a high amount of volunteer work and up-cycling of used material from other construction sites, into a usable working space and became host to international workshops, seminars, research activities and dwelling.

The project of the Urban Design department of the HCU-Hamburg has done research in terms of practical aspects, like education, low-budget architecture, local embedded economy, re- and up-cycling of material and social engagement in the neighborhood. ->

The final phase of the project will see the „Neighborhood’s University“ transform it’s building once again: all uses, which have been established during the last four years, will be condensed and extended. The UdN will merge it’s academic approaches with that of "hotel operations". The central aim of the hotel project is to enable and co-design a communicative knot in the neighborhood and the "local embedded" economic field of Wilhelmsburg. The idea of a hotel therefore merely acts as a vehicle to enhance the research and design process.

Description of the project. Main features, strengths and differentials.

The two main research and design questions of the project are: What does "Quality" mean under the aspect of low-budget conditions?

And: How can "dwelling as a practice" be understood regarding changing conditions of demography, economy, migration and environment?

The first four-year-period of the project had a focus on embedded research within the neighborhood, its translocal economic practices and in therms of architectural transformation based on the existing.

Actually there are about 25 students and researchers with interdisciplinary backgrounds working on three different topics of the hotel project of the UdN.

On the architectural transformation, the socio-economic program of the hotel operations (its operation system) and on the local and international communication and related participatory aspects of a "surplus design".

In the upcoming series of international workshops we will transform the buildings physical structure.

Over the course of four workshops, each lasting one week, we will continue the research and design process in 1:1 scale. The built realization will be carried out in the typical UdN tradition – being driven by the immanent logics of materials and following principles of self-construction and radical low-budget building techniques.

Each week the individual workshops will be attended and supervised by an international guest. These include Rotterdam based artist and curator Jeanne van Heeswijk, architect and artist Martin Kaltwasser (Koebberling/Kaltwasser, Berlin) and architects Benjamin Förster-Baldenius (raumlaborberlin, Berlin) and Peter Fattinger (Design-Build Studio Vienna UT/Fattinger Orso Architektur, Vienna).

But sustainability starts before it comes to shape and form.
The socio-economic operating system is a crucial point. Actually we are in a test run with our kitchen-salon every wednesday. Inviting local micro economic actors and people from the neighborhood to be guest and host, cook, musician or agent for the project. During this process we are experimenting with different modes of economic practices to find, transform and invent new concepts, strategies and processes, which could lead to new social contracts, interculturality and a socially sustainable and environmentally friendly production.


Why this is important

Why a five star luxury hotel?

Even without going into the details of the changes that all european cities have to contend with, it is clear, that we – the inhabitants – have actively to redesign our global and local interdependencies. That means to seek new modes of economy, interculturality, participation, learning and dwelling. This means starting from our neighborhoods with an eye-level perspective, Identifying, designing and broadening possibilities for a conscious and active co-design of the circumstances we are living in.

We, the students and researchers who are working on this project have just the role of curators in the process, the hotel itself will be run by different local economic actors of the neighborhood.

Out of the existing circumstances and practices of every day life in Wilhelmsburg, the question of dwelling and living is a central topic. With its 158 different nations, and a high fluctuation of "working tourists" from all over Europe, parts of the island can be seen as a "horizontal quasi hotel".

These aspects are taken up with the research questions of the project. "Dwelling as a practice?"

What is the minimum of privacy that one needs?
Which functions of dwelling can be commonly shared?
How to reach a maximum quality or luxury with a minimum amount of resources spent?
Which role models have to be invented to be host and guest at the same time?
How can economic processes be transformed to gain solidarity and shared prosperity?
How can processes of "mutual learning and teaching" be integrated?

In all of these aspects, the central question is quality. How can we programmatically support a "cycle of virtuosity" going up and not down in a "vicious cycle", and how can we as urban designer organize our planned withdrawal, since this becomes a question of sustainability and resource efficiency as well.

See below a video that gives a brief overview on our way of studying the urban.

Goals of the crowdfunding campaign

We want to invite you to support this project with your skill, will, knowledge and participation. We do not ask for money in the first plan to realize the project at all. Hence our question to crowd-fund it, is more a question on cultural and social capital than on monetary contribution. The money we ask for is only for a printed and well edited book version of the free and open scource online documentation. We will provide the documentation under a Creative Commons License in a MediaWiki online.

So we want you to be part of the project, wether you are a carpenter, builder, hotel specialist, cook, PR expert, economist or lawyer, blogger, videographer, community wifi-radio specialist, musician, DJ, wellness expert or what ever you think you could bring into it, in order to build, organize, document or communicate the project on a local and global scale.

What we can offer beside some rewards for monetary contribution, is our incompleteness in terms of skills and the team, the participation in international workshops and the project at all.

During the workshops parts of the UdN will already be used as a hotel: participants will have the opportunity to live in the building while working on its transformation. Living together and especially cooking together are essential components of the UdN project, which regularly turn our Kitchen Salon into a central point of communication and exchange.


Team and experience

An interdisciplinary team of about 30 students and professional researcher are actually working on it.
Further information:


Social commitment