On behalf of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, especially the students who now present the culmination of their M. Arch education through their thesis, we extend our gratitude to the guest critics who have generously joined us on Thursday, December 22, 2022:

Erin Besler, Garnette Cadogan, Sean Canty, Beatriz Colomina, Natalia Dopazo, Jenny French, Antonio Furgiuele, Caroline Jones, Ang Li, Diana Martinez, Lauren Pacheco, Julian Rose, John Todd, Ivonne Santoyo Orozco, Hans Tursack, Matthew Okazaki, Mark Wigley, and Alpha Yacob Arsano.

MIT Master’s
of Architecture

Fall 2022

Nudging Permance:
Berlin’s Regulations Meet Temporary Use

Angela Loescher-Montal

Thesis Committee 

Arindam Dutta
Kairos Shen

Roi Salgueiro Barrio

Across Berlin’s history, the street-as image, as space, as imaginary, as activity–has been, and continues to be, continuously appropriated and contested by stakeholders across the city-residents, owners, shopkeepers, tourists and others. Top-down politicians and public entities have long been grappling with how to position themselves (and their own desires) within this tension, using tools such as regulations and publicly funded projects as a form of developing an “appropriate” Straßenbild (street-image) to produce a desirable and cosmopolitan Stadtbild (city-image). As retail regulations constrain retail to interiors and developers favor larger longer-term retail contracts over smaller short-term “stunts”, I have begun to trace a shifting (and unresolved) paradigm. Permanence privileged over temporality. Certainty over uncertainty. Recent regulatory changes do not fall short of mentioning how current flying trade (e.g. fleamarkets, foodtrucks, etc.) “undermine” existing retail offerings. 

Rather than cleaning the street image into a “perfect solution,” B. Corp Temporary Investigators latest review has used this opportunity to question the role of permanence in the city, and RAW Gelände’s current development scheme in Friedrichshain. In the spirit of temporary uses (transient, sedentary, and inhabited), most of the tactics–building included–can be adapted and moved across the city. By formalizing their existence, the thesis traces the legal and economic framework that many resident-driven retail, exchange and re-use initiatives uses navigate to exist in the city. Ultimately, this thesis remains unfinished, but its aims remain two-fold: to investigate temporary uses in relation to their regulatory andformal tactics and to re-enforce existing temporary practices through a supporting imaginary. It hopes to shift the fantasy of tectonic retail in this existing development, and in doing so, asks the question: can we nudge the imaginary of permanence?