Some facts at the beginning

In 1841 the Pfefferberg has been founded as a brewery by a man called Pfeffer. In the following decades it has been a residence for an association limited by shares, a bakery, a huge printing office, a canteen kitchen, several headquarters as well as an outpost of a clinic and they assume it has also been an air-raid shelter during the Second World War. The architecture with the brick front and basement vault with a height of 9 meter has got this typical industry character of the 19th century.

In 1990 began a new history of the Pfefferberg, which is formed by the idea of a sociocultural use. An initiative of residents and committed people wanted to use the place for cultural and social aims after it has been vague and nonspecific what to do with the whole place anyway after the reunion of Germany. They founded the association “Pfefferwerk-Verein zur Förderung von Stadtkultur e.V.” (Association for advancing urban development). Since 1999 the area is no longer property of the city Berlin or the government, it is now the corpus of the foundation Pfefferwerk.

The Concept

The basis idea of the concept is to combine art, culture, gastronomy and architecture. The Pfefferberg offers a big range of cultural events as culture is still and will always be an important and attractive element of the concept. They offer concerts such as electronic, international or popular music as well as jazz. You can find clubs with different focuses or festivals in music or dance. The Pfefferberg wants to represent itself as a place also for art. They are especially referring to museums, galleries or studios. They strongly support young and experimental art and international cultural exchange. The aim of this creative cluster is to combine all possible creative variations, to link profit with non-profit organizations, to connect start-ups with well established companies and to bond art and culture with other services such as agencies, information points, offers for leisure time and relaxation, social institution, manufactures or workshops and art trade and international or regional restaurants.

The Pfefferberg is situated between the districts Prenzlauer Berg and Berlin Mitte, which is characterized by a really good infrastructure and community members, who are interested in culture above the ordinary. And it is also a section, which is popular for new and creative ideas and developments.

First Impression – one noon in February

The former industry building, which is now landmarked, especially fascinates with its extraordinary atmosphere. The architectonical profile is a combination of old and new elements. Through the combination of elements of the old building and new ones it has got a very memorizing identity. The unit of glass, brick and steel is very impressing.

Although the architecture really got me, I found it rather quiet and lifeless when I first visited the area. Right at the entrance there was a huge building lot; the restaurants were all empty as it was Wednesday noon; the hostel didn’t have a lot of visitors as it was off-season; one gallery was closed for rebuilding; another one was closed because of re-decoration; and finally the AEDES café was also closed because of a case of illness. Consequentially there weren’t many visitors and not even many people who work there. You can see how hard it is to create a lively and dynamic atmosphere in an area like that. It partly seemed like an empty big industry building – beautiful but dead.

Second impression – one evening in March

The aim of my second visit at the Pfefferberg was to see the Surfpoeten, which is one of the oldest reading stages in Berlin. The event was located in a small room in the basement with a wonderful cellar vault. The place is quite small, so not many people fit in there and even if, it is an event for special interest anyway. Maybe because it wasn’t crowed, but my first impression didn’t really changed. It was Wednesday again ant the restaurants were uncongested either. However the comfortable atmosphere in the basement, the cozy and architectonical awesome room created a special vibe during the reading.

Thomas Büsch

Filmmaker, Founding Member and Secretary General of diyalog, promotion of cultural exchange with Turkey. Since 2012 he is also project manager of InEnArt.

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