Bau braucht Kunst:

Art Competition

In the ever–changing cityscape of Berlin, where diverse neighbourhoods coexist, a unique initiative seeks to activate urban spaces through art. The “Bau braucht Kunst” Competition, an open, Europe–wide "Kunst am Bau" (Art in Architecture) contest, was initiated to find an artwork that would resonate with the special character of the Friedrichshain–Kreuzberg district. This transformative location, with its dynamic blend of cultures and communities, serves as the canvas for this artistic endeavour, aimed at engaging the public in shaping the city of tomorrow.

The competition, initiated by Edge, in cooperation with the senate and other parties, sought to find an artwork that would resonate with the unique character of the plot at Warschauer Strasse. The goal was to have a public process and involve the community in the decision–making. The competition attracted artists from all over Europe, emphasising the inclusivity and openness of the initiative. The main aim was to create an authentic public space that reflects the dynamic neighbourhood culture while addressing the contrasts and tensions within Friedrichshain–Kreuzberg.

The competition seeks an expression that is brave, contentious, and inclusive, inspiring a forward–looking perspective.


Edge developed an overall artistic concept for various areas, including the firewall facing the East Side Mall and the outer wall of the pedestal. The planning phase began in the summer of 2019, culminating in an open, two–phase competition. In the first phase, 18 projects were selected based on conceptual approaches and design ideas presented to the jury. The second phase further developed and concretised the chosen artistic ideas, considering technical feasibility, creative implementation, materiality, and budget compliance.


With almost 600 public votes and a thorough deliberation by the jury, the winning art piece titled "Reversed Dunk" was selected. It was created by the artists KIM/ILLI. The installation consists of a vertical block with a curve cut out, serving as a ramp for a "basket" installed on the opposite side.

The artwork explores the theme of cultural appropriation through an experimental dialogue with the surrounding architecture and the local neighbourhood culture. In an interactive manner, the piece invites visitors, residents, investors, critics, and artists to engage in a metaphysical basketball game, symbolising the reconquest of urban space.


The competition's success owes much to the collaboration of various partners and the expertise of the jury, comprising artists, representatives from the Friedrichshain–Kreuzberg district, the senate, the investor, the developer and distinguished architectural professionals. Their collective vision and critical evaluation led to the selection of the outstanding "Reversed Dunk" as the transformative centrepiece of EDGE East Side Berlin.


The “Bau braucht Kunst” Competition exemplifies the power of art to engage communities, activate public spaces, and redefine urban living. Through the creative expressions of artists KIM/ILLI, the Reversed Dunk stands as a symbol of unity amid diversity and an invitation for the public to shape the city's future. By embracing contrasting elements and celebrating inclusivity, this initiative creates an authentic, dynamic, and forward–looking urban space that resonates with Berlin's ever–changing character.


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