„In this house, nothing is alike“. Be it the four different types of heating, the variously renovated apartments, the floor plans… In short: this house is a lucky bag – our lucky bag! We bought this house in Berlin-Schöneberg and together we are set to give it a new life. We want to preserve the diversity of the house as well as the heterogeneity of our group, our impulses, our ideas – these are both a treasure and a challenge for us. From the polyphony, a sound emerges, sometimes dissonant, sometimes harmonious, but always new. This is the Kumi * 13. Our house project in the Kurmärkische Straße 13.
The Kumi*13 is a listed tenement from 1875. Over five floors, its usable area is over 1870 m² for living and for business. On the property are also a small outhouse and a garage with underground parking (one of the first Berlin auto repair shops and gas stations, built about 1929). All buildings are – as already mentioned – in need of renovation to different degrees.
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The Association Kumi*13 e.V.
WE, the house association Kumi*13, are at present 21 adults and 15 children – a group of old tenants and future inhabitants (and at least 10 more Kumis will join). We strive for an open, solidarity-based and intergenerational togetherness in the house. We want to counteract the isolation of nuclear families and to develop permeable structures for diverse and changing lifestyles. We do not plan a separatist, private „good life“ in this bourgeois building, but aim to create an accessible place – mutual care and responsibility should not be limited to the immediate parentage, but extend into the community, on the scale of the house and of the neighborhood.
Kumi*13 e.V. + MHS = GLIK GmbH – the construct behind it all: in line with our understanding of living together in solidarity, we decided against the purchase as private property. Instead, we want to maintain the house permanently as a self-managed tenement building. With this intention, we are in the process of joining the Mietshäuser Syndikat (MHS). The MHS participates in projects in order to extract them from the real-estate market. It is an association of self-organized house projects, between which a solidarity transfer of both knowledge and finances take place (for more info see https://www.syndikat.org). We already benefit from this generous sharing of knowledge, commitment and contacts since the very beginning of our start-up phase. We as a group got together in a house association, the Kumi * 13 e.V., and founded the GLIK GmbH („living together in the neighborhood“), which owns the house. In addition to Kumi * 13 e.V., MHS becomes the second shareholder in GLIK GmbH. This ensures that no private party can sell the house nor individual apartments at a later date – we take the house forever out of the market and also create affordable inner-city housing in a livable environment for generations to come.
If you want to learn more about the solidarity model of the Mietshäuser Syndikat in an entertaining way, you can watch the following film:
„This is our house!“ Infofilm about the Mietshäuser Syndikat (Grießenauer, Kunle, Lauinger, D 2016, 65 min., 16: 9) for english subtitles click cc on the bottom of the film window
Our concept for a house in the neighbourhood
Our usage concept is not a static construction, it is „in becoming“ and always will be. This is the current state: we are all in some way artists and cultural workers. We are theater and filmmakers, journalists, dancers, clowns, architects, set designers, psychoanalysts, visual artists … We know that „art“ often rhymes with luxury and does not sound particularly political, but we are committed to doing things differently.
Our neighborhood is caught between street prostitution and luxury shopping, international galleries and gentrification. All of us are driven by the desire to use our abilities and experiences in and with social groups, in active engagement with the many socio-politically burning questions that are not only obvious in our immediate environment. This could take the form of „Anastrophe TV“, an internet broadcaster for topics of the civil society. Or an artistic project exploring sensory and sex-positive experience, parallel to dealing with the adjacent prostitution street and its coercion context, offering a space for women and refugees (analogous to a “Solizimmer”) and cooperating with counseling services that already exist in the area. It can also be a socio-cultural pilot project for the conversion of human shit into fertile soil: in a house full of compost toilets, the fermentation into increasingly urgently needed humus can take place in the cellar. Or simply concrete neighborhood help by making our rooms available to the nearby neighborhood center for their consultations while their house is being rebuilt. Perhaps, together with schools and kindergartens, it will be possible to build an intercultural learning garden on the roof of the workshop. Collectively managed small businesses could find a place in the currently vacant premises on the ground floor of the residential building, such as a neighborhood coop with a neighborhood café.
The useability of the workshop and underground parking is currently still unclear. Our wish is to create a publicly accessible multifunctional space that can serve as a temporary film studio, as a dance and movement room, as a workshop and studio, and as a venue for both symposia and neighborly cinema evenings. Even if not all of these ideas can be realized, on the basis of these and many other ideas the Kumi * 13 will be a place where social practice is lived with the means and the perspective of art – a place where room for individual and social action can be rethought and expanded.
How to support us? See our Direct Loans page