, it’s all over.


Am winding up this blog at the end of May, as have been in transit for a year and now moving back to London.

Am moving all the content to

New things will be posted at Betaville –

Thanks for reading, and to everyone who came along to all the things.


Der Hinterhof in Berlin – Brennpunkt des Berliner Städtebaus


Short notice, but I’ll be giving a short talk tomorrow with Prof. Harald Bodenschatz at the TU, as part of an event for the launch of the Berlin Urban Design book (see earlier post).

I’ll stick to the point, and they’ll be slides!  All details below:

Der Hinterhof in Berlin
Brennpunkt des Berliner Städtebaus

anlässlich des Erscheinens der zweiten, erweiterten Auflage von
* Städtebau in Berlin. Schreckbild und Vorbild für Europa
* Berlin Urban Design. A Brief History of a European City
Verlag DOM publishers

Zeit: 4. Juli 2013, 18 Uhr
Ort: orangelab, Ernst-Reuter-Platz 2

In der städtebaulichen Debatte fungierte der Hinterhof über Jahrzehnte als schlimmste Verkörperung unmenschlichen Wohnens, als finsterer steinerner Ort ohne jede Nutzungsqualität, als Hölle für aufwachsende Kinder, als Mahnmal der nicht erhaltenswerten, ja unbedingt zu beseitigenden Mietkasernenstadt. Heute ist der Hinterhof wieder rehabilitiert, als ruhiger, oft grüner Raum, dessen Struktur bei Neubauten sogar eine Wiederauferstehung feiert. Kein städtebauliches Element wurde in der jüngeren Städtebaugeschichte dermaßen verteufelt wie der Berliner Hinterhof, und kein städtebauliches Element hat ein solch atemberaubendes Comeback erlebt wie eben jener Hinterhof.

Begrüßung und Moderation
Prof. Dr. Cordelia Polinna, TU Berlin

Von der Hölle zur Idylle
Zur Karriere des Berliner Hinterhofes
Prof. Dr. Harald Bodenschatz, TU Berlin

Comment: An English Perspective on Berlin
Jim Hudson,, Co-Übersetzer der zweiten englischen Auflage

Das Berlinbuch: Start der Reihe „Grundlagen“
Natascha Meuser, Verlag DOM publishers

Eine Veranstaltung des FG Planungs- und Architektursoziologie der TU Berlin
in Kooperation mit dem Verlag DOM publishers

Tour of the Berlin 1987 IBA, Friday 31st May


So it’s about time I did another one of these – people often ask, and I never get round to it.

On Friday 31st May I’ll be running a tour of a selection of projects form the IBA (International BauAustellung) of the 1980s.

My blog has much detail on this, my favorite subject, so I won’t repeat it here – see this page for an intro

I’ve run the tour a few times before, and although I add and remove bits, it will be much the same as if you’ve been on it already!

Meeting details:

3pm at the corner of Kochstrasse and Wilhelmstrasse. We’ll begin with projects from the western, “Neubau” end of the IBA, followed by a short bus trip to the eastern, “Altbau” end. Will be around 3hrs, ending at a local Kreuzberg bar or cafe, near to Schoenleinstr and Kottbusser Toe U-bahn stations. A fair bit of walking involved!

Price: 15 euros.

Group size is limited, so please only say you’re coming if you’re REALLY coming by confirming direct to me at jimhudson40 (at) Saying ‘I’m coming’ on Facebook doesn’t count!

“SO 36 – Riots, Ruins & Regeneration” tour


I’ll be running a social history-come-architecture tour of the SO 36 district on Saturday 25th May, in association with Slow Travel Berlin.

Starts at 3pm, duration 2-3 hours (usually followed by beers and chat in a local bar) meeting on Spreewaldplatz near Cafe Marx, 15 € per person.
Please book through Slow Travel, or if not possible let me know by email and pay on the day: jimhudson40 (at)

A little about the tour:

Since its origins in the 19th century, the eastern half of Kreuzberg (still known by its long-defunct ‘SO 36′ postcode) has long been one of Berlin’s most vibrant districts. In the 1960s, the Berlin Wall left the area as a somewhat isolated part of West Berlin, but by the late 60s the district had become famous as a place where students, artists, anarchists and immigrants came in search of a life of low rents, freedom and non-conformity. Venues such as the SO 36 club, still very much alive, formed the centre of Berlin’s punk and new wave subcultures, frequented by the likes of Iggy Pop and David Bowie.

Surrounded by the Wall on three sides for half a century, some strange situations arose, with streets, communities and even a mainline station being divided between East and West.

SO 36 is still famous for its annual May day riots, although things have been calmer in recent years. But the large number of squatters, political groups and alternative communities who protested each year led to some radical experiments in living and housing, most interestingly the regeneration projects of the 1980s, which were in part an attempt by West Berlin to rescue the area from becoming a slum. The Berlin Wall fell before some of these projects were even complete, and ironically, these community-led projects paved the way for the full-scale gentrification now taking place.

The walking tour is a mix of urban history, architecture and anecdote giving an insight into the past, present and possible future of the this fascinating district.

Archi-meetup evening, Tuesday 14th May


A quick post, but more details to be filled in over the next week…

First of all, there’ll be an architecture meetup at Hudson’s on Tuesday May 14th from 7.30pm. All welcome, come along for a beer and some archi/urban – based chat. Also, we’re hoping to show a short film by one of our number, Matt Tempest.

He describes it thus:

“Building Societies” – a short film about architecture, the 1970s and the North.

It’s also about Margaret Thatcher, Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, poverty, race relations, and his dad.

8 minutes 10 seconds.

Then some tours: I’ll be running a kind of social history-come-architecture tour of Saturday 25th May, working title “Riots, Ruins & Regeneration” around the Kreuzberg SO36 district. Time tbc, but will be roughly mid-afternoon start, as nice to end up at a pub…). Am doing this in association with Slow Travel Berlin, and need to sort out the price with them, more details to follow shortly.

Then a second tour, by popular demand, of some of the buildings from the International BauAustellung (IBA) of the 1980s (see this very blog for an excess of information about this subject). Friday 31st May, 2pm, meet at corner of Rudi-Dutschke-Straße and Wilhelmstraße, 15€ per person. We’ll begin in the ‘Neubau’ western end of the IBA area, working our way east (probably including a short bus hop) ending in the eastern end of Kreuzberg (nearest U-Bahn will be Schönleinstraße). Please email if you’re interested in joining me: jimhudson40 (at)

Sven Eggers is running a tour/trip to Oranienburg to see Rimpl’s Einflughalle and other buildings, next Sunday, 5th May:

I’ll add more detail here, and of course at Facebook: Berlin Architecture Circle shortly.

Categories : Event

Freya Copland – Photography (Finissage on May 11th)


If you’re in the neighbourhood, Freya Copland has a photography exhibition at our cafe, do drop by for a coffee and have a look.

Update: runs until 11th May, when there’ll be a finissage from 7pm.

Hudson’s, Boppstraße 1, 10967 Berlin.

Categories : Event

Film Night, Wednesday 20th March – Dark City – CANCELLED


Sorry, cancelled (due to sickness)

Alex Proyas’ Dark City is clearly indebted to the usual suspects of Metropolis, Bladerunner, various interpretations of Gotham City and maybe even Brazil, as well as overlapping to some degree with the Matrix and Inception. It’s less well known than these, but it’s been recommended to me more than once, so I thought we’d give it a go.

To explain it may give away much of the plot, so I won’t.  Suffice it to say that it’s a kind of ‘cyber-noir’, set (seemingly) in a city of permanent night.  A good cast includes Rufus Sewell.

Rarely do fictional cities include their own subway maps:

And yes, someonw really has included it in their Phd thesis:

Come along at 7.30, as we’ll start at 8pm. Hudson’s cafe, Boppstr 1, 10967

Categories : Event   Film

Destruction at Lützowplatz – Final


A few years back (scarily, it was 2008, how time flies) I blogged about the partial demolition of an IBA block by O M Ungers.

Sadly, as noted by Isar Steve, the remainder has now come down.

While nothing is sacred, it’s depressing when something thoughtless like this happens, especially as it’s essentially replacing much needed social housing with private luxury development (if anything actually gets built at all).

Categories : 1980s   O M Ungers

Berlin Urban Design – A Short History of a European City (New Edition)


A spot of self-publicity in a way, as the 2nd, revamped edition of Berlin Urban Design, by Harald Bodenschatz, has been published recently, English translation by me*.

I notice that has the old, out-of-date edition, so check carefully before you buy. The new (2nd) edition has additional and extended chapters, bringing the narrative up to date with various current projects, including the building of the glorious new BER airport, due to open in 2012. 2013. 2014 the 21st century**.

I reviewed the original edition on this blog about three years ago, commenting that it was a good book with a poor English translation. As a consequence, I was given the chance to have a go myself, including some updated and additional chapters. Hope you like it.

The book is a short but oh-so-informative history of Berlin’s urban development, cantering quickly through its medieval roots to focus on the city’s colossal 19th century expansion, 20th century utopianism, and post-wall euphoria-to-debt story, with much more along the way. Maps and images are fantastic, text is not too shabby either.

Will bring some copies along to Wednesday’s book club.

* The intro was written in English by Karl Friedhelm Fischer. Original translation of 1st edition by Sasha Disko.

** See press for details. Mayoral careers can go down as well as up.

Categories : Books

Archi Book Club, Wed 27th Feb: Calvino’s Invisible Cities


Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities is a series of descriptions, really conversations, told by a fictitious Marco Polo to an invented Kublai Khan. As Marco travels round the world on the Emperor’s business, his job is not to bring back treasure or trade, but to barter in stories – the accumulated wealth of his imagination.

Here are all the cities ever dreamed of; thin cities, cities and desire, cities and the dead, cities and memory, continuous cites, cities and signs. All are named after women – Raissa, Irene, Phyillis, Chloe… ‘In Chloe, a great city, the people who move through the street are all strangers. At each encounter they imagine a thousand things about one another; meetings which could take place between them, conversations, surprises, caresses, bites. But no-one greets anyone; eyes lock for a second, then dart away, seeking other eyes, never stopping.’

Calvino was writing about Venice – all the Venice’s collapsed, folded or vanished behind the tourist façade. Anyone who loves Venice, knows that its true life is half-glimpsed or dreamed, that the city reconfigures itself, yielding suddenly as you turn into a deserted square, snapping shut, as you walk past San Marco.

Reading Calvino reading Venice is a reminder of how often the controlled, measured world of knowledge fails us. So much of life resists the facts. Imagining Venice is imagining yourself, as Khan discovers – an unsettling exercise, but necessary, perhaps.

(from a review by Jeanette Winterson)

All welcome, so do read the book and join us for drinks, nibbles and discussion at 7.30pm at

Hudson’s Cafe,

Boppstr. 1, 10967

(corner of Schönleinstr., nearest U-Bahn Schönleinstr).

Categories : Books   Event