Award / Auszeichnung | 06/2023
New European Bauhaus Education Champions 2023
Winner | Reconnecting with nature
Floating University is a natureculture learning site located in a polluted rainwater retention basin in urban Berlin. The rainwater basin receives the rainwater runoff from the former Tempelhof Airport and adjacent Columbia Damm Road, since the 1930s. After nearly 100 years, the airport has become a public park and its rainwater basin is inhabited by water plants, birds, frogs, bats and foxes who acutely feel the basin’s changing water levels. Floating University is an experimental educational campus. The Floating e.V. - 50+ artists, designers, architects, scientists, engineers - came together with neighbors, kids and visitors to construct an auditorium, multipurpose classrooms, workshop spaces, a kitchen, a greenhouse, and a bar. Since 2018, Floating University hosts cultural, educational and discursive programs at different levels, from academic to child education. In the first year alone, over 10,000 people came to visit and 25 universities from around Europe activated the campus for different learning experiments, workshops, lectures, discussions, dinners and film screenings, all under the broad theme of reimagining life in contemporary urban space and peoples’ relationship with the city and nature.
On a larger level, Floating University is a model project for public-civic partnerships in urban transformation, focussing on reshaping processes of city making. The unique perspective of floating comes from its site: technical infrastructure meets nature preservation meets human needs and desires meets urban investment dynamics. Floating University is a way to inhabit the question of urban transformation.