New-In-Berlin #8: The RAW Area

August 14, 2014

One of the most interesting places in trendy Berlin is an old industrial area called "RAW", near Warschauer Straße in Friedrichshain, right in the center of Berlin's party nucleus. RAW stands for Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk, which used to be a pre WW II train repair and maintenance facility. The huge 760,000 square feet area hosts a large number of techno clubs, bars, trend sport areas, and many other music and art venues.

The area had been abandoned after the wall came down but was populated in the late 90s by the creative folks of the RAW Tempel. Later, many other cultural institutions followed and created an immense variety of art and entertainment. Among them are Urban Spree, Suicide Circus, Badehaus Szimpla, Astra Kulturhaus and Cassiopeia.

There is a nice article in Tip Berlin about the RAW, giving some background and history, and talking about the future as well.

I have only been there on a single Monday morning, and I guess the area looks totally different during a typical night. During the day, the ruins and rotten structures are pretty dominant, which I thought to emphasize by shooting in black and white. It's hard to imagine how much creativity lives behind these walls. It must be very inspirational to work in a place like this and these "raw" structures are an important part of Berlin's creative power.