A first interim report:
What is the current state of the petition?
We are overwhelmed by the huge feedback and number of signatories! As of today, we could collect over 7,000 signatures to preserve the Mäusebunker and the Hygieneinstitut. We would like to thank all of you for your support!
What happened in the meantime?
The Mäusebunker is still threatened by demolition, but a lot of things have happened in the last few months. Thanks to your help and the large number of signatures, the issue gained a surprising amount of media attention. Our cause made it into every local newspaper, multiple nationwide weekly newspapers, radio programs and on national TV (RBB Abendschau and Tagesthemen)!
So far, this unexpected amount of interest has led to two things:
- The heritage authorities have since done an about-face. At the beginning of our efforts, their assessments saw little chance for protection. The public and the media attention caused quite a stir and led to a reassessment of the situation. Today, they are on record saying that they are actively working on preserving the buildings and that they are in close discussions with the Charité. Rumor has it that senator of culture Lederer and mayor Müller support the conservation of the Mäusebunker and Hygieneinstitut, as well. However: the decisive step to list the buildings has still not yet been taken. Thus, the threat is still standing.
- The Charité has made two concessions so far. Firstly, plans to demolish the Hygieneinstitut are off the table. Instead, the plan is to refurbish and repurpose the building. We welcome this decision wholeheartedly and hope that the existing building will be renovated in a sensitive and careful way. Secondly, the Charité indicated that they want to run an invitation for proposals for the usage of the grounds. Even if this only has been talk with no actions for now, it seems as if the planned demolition in the fall of 2020 is practically off the table. This means there is more time for the protection. Despite this, the Charité repeatedly told media outlets that they still firmly believe that there is no future for the Mäusebunker.
What happens next?
The gallery space of the German Architects Association (Bund Deutscher Architekten, BDA) will host an exhibition on the architecture of the Mäusebunker and the Hygieneinstitut from September 5 to 29, featuring original plans from the architects’ archives and other documents from the construction period, most of which are being shown to the public for the first time. Current photographs by Kay Fingerle show the largely inaccessible interiors of the buildings. The study room associates contexts and cultural implications as well as transformations from cyberpunk, stealth and soft edge design to bunker archaeology, landscape and „aesthetics of the uncanny“ with the building documents of the time of origin. The second part of the exhibition are the exteriors of the buildings themselves at Krahmerstraße. The exhibition is accompanied by a screening of the film Mäusebunker by Lothar Hempel on September 13 at the cinema Filmkunst 66. The events will conclude with a panel discussion on 29th of September at the Hygiene Institute.
We will continue to fight for the conservation and heritage protection of the Mäusebunker and the Hygieneinstitut. We will continue to collect signatures until a decision is being made. Together with all of you we have already achieved so much more than we had ever thought possible. The planned demolition has been put into question. The Charité has started to make concessions. The heritage authorities have become active. The protection is within reach. We would like to once again thank all of you for this. We will keep you updated.