The Space of ZK/U

The two-story section of the depot was completely refurbished by summer of 2012 to accommodate individual artists, practitioners and urban researchers - or collaborative groups - in 13 self-contained units with living, working and leisure areas for 2–8 month artistic or research residencies (32–53 sqm per unit).

Locating the ZK/U

ZK/U is located in one of Berlin’s former railway depots, a landmark building with an overall footprint of 2000 sqm. Located in Moabit, a central district of Berlin, the center enjoys easy access to transport links.

ZK/U – Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik
Siemensstrasse 27-49 - 10551 Berlin

Facilties for Residents

A large communal kitchen and the roofed platform (later a library for use primarily by ZK/U fellows) will comprise the social core of this section.
Most studio units are accessed via a central stairwell, flanking a large communal kitchen that opens onto a grand terrace.

Download detailed PDF to see upper and lower floor

The platform (before we fixed the roof)

Outdoor Platform

From the railway depot’s covered platform, one looks out onto the railway tracks of Berlin’s Circle Line and Westhafen’s main landmark, the Behala Building. The platform is an extra feature to the studio apartments’ production and living areas.

Project Space

Project presentations, exhibitions, public forums and conferences in the adjacent open-plan, single-storey of the depot or in its large vaulted basement,  will be organized by both local groups and initiatives and residency program participants. Catering facilities will enhance the program’s social impact, for example by hosting neighborhood “cook-ins” based on Moabit’s various culinary cultures.

The Basement: Space for Concerts, Experimental Music Formats and Videoscreenings


The ZK/U is surrounded by a newly planted city garden. The 15.000 sqm garden contains communal vegetable plots and orchards, fruit trees, playgrounds for young and old: the results of participatory planning process for the park conducted by the district of Mitte.

ZK/U in Berlin

What better place to explore urban issues than a city that has not ceased to be built for the past 150 years? Berlin has witnessed shifting borders at the geographic, political, social and cultural levels. Transitional regimes, the destruction of war, the division and reunification of the city, new legislative frameworks, the shift from heavy industry to the modern, postindustrial era have all shaped Berlin and have kept it in perpetual flux. The city thereby acquired a specific urban character that has generally been marked by a lack of finance and high levels of improvisation. This has often led to unusual planning processes and a diverse range of informal activity that has resulted in worldwide interest in Berlin as a laboratory for urban issues.
The institutional framework for knowledge production is well established here too: Berlin has 4 universities, 7 colleges, 3 art schools, numerous private institutes and research organizations. The arts and sciences have always been and remain today an important driving force in Berlin. This is reflected by the rich cultural life of the city: Innumerable museums, art galleries, theatres and other cultural institutions next to a diverse range of grass-root activities and a vibrant alternative scene attest to the importance of the arts.

Surrounded on all sides by water, Berlin-Moabit was an enclave populated in the 19th century by Huguenots who had fled from France and gave this area its name. With the advent of industrialization at the beginning of the twentieth century, the district became an important manufacturing area. Goods were transported to and from Berlin via this railway depot and Berlin‘s largest inland port, Westhafen.

ZK/U Summer 2012 northern view