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ICC to become cultural centre: Procedure starts in 2024


The ICC (International Congress Centre) exhibition grounds.

The new black-red Senate is sticking to the plans to turn the vacant former International Congress Centre (ICC) at the Berlin Radio Tower into a cultural and meeting place.

The Centre Pompidou in Paris is to serve as a model. The international concept competition planned for this is now being prepared, Franziska Giffey (SPD), Senator for Economic Affairs, told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur. However, it will probably start somewhat later: "Our goal is to start the competition in 2024 so that we have the competition entries available at the beginning of 2026." Originally, a start this year was being discussed.

Interim use possible during the concept competition

Giffey is campaigning to make one or two interim uses possible for the building, which has been a listed building since 2019 and was once one of the largest convention centres in the world, during the concept competition. "We had the big exhibition "The Sunmachine is Coming Down" there, then in September last year the international conference "Q Berlin" on future issues in metropolises," said the Senator for Economic Affairs.

Preparations in full swing

This has shown how huge the interest in the location is. "It's good to open the ICC doors for Berliners and international guests every now and then until the conversion for the new use starts." "We have budgeted the funds for the concept procedure and will go to the vote in parliament after the summer break," Giffey said. "Preparations for the next steps are currently underway with Berliner Immobilienmanagement GmbH, which is to carry out the procedure on behalf of the state."

Applications to be assessed in 2026

In 2026, there would then have to be an evaluation of the submitted entries. "It will be about the best ideas for use as well as about resilient, financially viable proposals for operation and the necessary refurbishment," said Giffey. In the same year, an award decision will be made for the most convincing development proposal.

Future of the ICC to be determined at the end of the legislative term

"It is important that at the end of this legislative period it is clear how the ICC is to proceed in a binding manner," said the SPD politician. "In other words, which concept will be implemented with whom, how it will be financed and when the redevelopment can start." There had already been an understanding on how to proceed in the Red-Green-Red government. And the new senate is also pursuing this path.

"ICC as an open place with international appeal"

"What we have in mind is a kind of Centre Pompidou Berlin, but not simply a copy: the ICC as an open place with international appeal, where art, innovation, creativity and new technologies come together," said Giffey. She added that it was clear that the state of Berlin could not manage such a large-scale project on its own. "If you want to take this forward, you need strong partners, and we deliberately want to bring in the best ideas from all over the world," said the Senator for Economic Affairs. "There are players all over the world who are interested in such places of the future, and the ICC is one of them," Giffey said. "Berlin doesn't need to hide either, we are one of the most exciting metropolises worldwide."

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 20 May 2023
Last updated: 20 May 2023

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