Projekte / Event
Building das Baumhaus
A project to build a tree house for use as a public space in Berlin Das Baumhaus is a collaborative project between local and international artists, designers, creatives and active people from numerous backgrounds. Together we're acting on the little voice in our head that says, "What is it I can do to make the world a better place?" Our answer is to create a space that inspires people to come together, communicate in meaningful ways and become part of a growing culture of active engagement.
11,004 €
11,000 € Funding goal
Project successful
Start audio


Funding period 19/09/2012 18:51 o'clock - 14/12/2012 23:59 o'clock
Funding goal reached 11,000 €
Category Event

What is this project all about?

Our idea is to help build a better world locally by creating an experimental space to shift the borders of how people think of and use public spaces. One could think of das Baumhaus as an active laboratory to support the development of an urban culture which is both environmentally and socially sustainable. We thought: wouldn't it be great if there were more places to go where the main idea, culture and expectation is based on meeting new people to have good conversations with, finding common ground and engaging in collaborative efforts to make the world a better place. That's when we started developing a strategy to build a place in a special symbolic way that would make it functional, inspiring, groovy and fun...

So now it's about building a tree house around a big structural column in the middle of a dramatic 140m2 (1500ft2) space with high ceilings and transforming it into an inspiring and fantasy-like public space. Why a tree house? It's a cozy place built together by the people of the neighborhood where they can meet, play, imagine and create; a concept familiar to people from many cultures. In our case, it's local artists and neighbors working together along with international collaborators to build the space, everyone contributing what they love to do. It's all about coming together to develop collaborative installations of ideas, art and design.

Building das Baumhaus will create an evolving functional artwork open to the public for years to come, a living sustainable symbol of "people creating the world they want to live in". The space will be built in an organic design style influenced by each collaborator's individual art, ideas and sensibilities - the specific design details of the space will differ from the 3D model. A decent visualization might be to imagine what a space would look like if it were a combination of elements from Gaudi, Frank Lloyd Wright, Lord of the Rings and Avatar all in one, inspired by aesthetics found in nature.

A link to an 'in process' 3D animated fly-through of the space located in the Wedding district of Berlin at Gerichtstrasse 23:

Once das Baumhaus is built, it will be part meeting point, part public think tank, part playground and host events like workshops, art openings, concerts, language exchanges, cooking nights and collaborative projects of all sorts. We'll finance running the space with an onsite cafe that sells drinks, healthy vegetarian and vegan food, also by selling design services for sustainable solutions, artworks and other sustainable products including those developed by our collaborative partners.

What is the project goal and who is the project for?

We have a series of linked objectives and target markets because the roots of our concept lies in bringing various different groups of people together to focus on shared goals and ideas.

The first and most immediate goal is to provide a sustainable space, where people who want to make the world a better place can meet and find ways to support each other, work together and inspire others to join in the effort. Our second broad objective is to make sure that the space offers a regular balance of high quality programming that helps make 'saving the world' beautiful, fun, effective and satisfying. We are already well into the process of developing several series of events and special projects to fulfill these goals. We also are looking forward to hosting, supporting and implementing projects from new collaborators.

We think, our idea is quite like a community garden, except instead of plants, in das Baumhaus we can grow networks of active people and sustainable ideas to fulfill shared goals.

Our neighborhood is a well balanced proportion of Germans, immigrants from the middle east and Turkey as well as a growing community of international artists, designers and other creative types, all with a relatively even socio-economic mix. Yet, there are no public spaces in the area that bring all of these various constituencies together.

In a very real sense, this project has potential benefit for wide variety of people because we can export, via ideas and systems, what we learn locally to a broader global audience. Just doing the ground work for this project has already succeeded in creating a more open and integrated mixing of cultures and class in the neighborhood. We have even developed collaborative relationships with other cultural institutions in the neighborhood, whom under traditional circumstances would have been our competitors.

Why would you support this project?

It's time for real change and that will require a lot of motivation, dedication and face to face interaction. This project can help inspire and energize a social movement with the enthusiastic passion of the 60's along with the technological and communication advantages of the new millenium to actively engage people in building the world we want to live in.

This project:

• is a project to engage and empower people to believe that they can make a difference... and provide them with a physical space they can use to do so.

• will make high quality art and design intimately accessible and useable by the public.

• will create a functional walk in portfolio to showcase our collaborator's work and a laboratory for their and maybe even your ideas.

• addresses issues of sustainability relative to a broad range of social, economic, cultural, environmental and aesthetic perspectives.

• can reduce the negative effects of gentrification by providing a common and active platform for community building.

• promotes creating solutions based on systems thinking, exploration of root causes, thoughtful design and analysis.... it's an open source process of understanding how and why things work by considering issues from multiple perspectives.

• can help people understand what needs they have and how to fulfill them in collaborative, balanced, satisfying and sustainable ways.

• can serve as a functioning example of how doing good things to make the world a better place can be groovy, fun and fulfilling.

• has tremendous potential to serve as a model to effect positive change.

We feel grateful and lucky to live in such a humane city like Berlin where it's still possible to exercise your sense of initiative; we think that we have a responsibility to make good use of this advantage and do what we can to make good things happen. Maybe you feel that way too...

How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded? 

After 20 months of intensive preparations we are ready to go; all we need now is the funding to start! Our funding campaign ends on November 11, 2012 and with €33,333 we hope to collect we can start building the space before the end of this year, get Isaac Abrams here and set up to work for a month plus have enough to get started constructing the many art installations of our collaborators.

Our overall budget to build the space will be well over €100,000. Getting a raw space set up for legal public use is expensive, even with lots of volunteer work and using recycled materials. It's not just building walls, electrical installations, floors and plumbing, there are also building applications, architect fees, engineering surveys, a fire safety report, ventilation and so on...

Since this is an all or nothing funding platform, we've set our funding goal at the minimum amount we need to get started. Everything that gets donated to us above our €33,333 goal will allow us to start out with less major debt from banks and lending institutions that we will have to pay back.

Who are the people behind the project?

The founders of das Baumhaus are Scott Bolden and Karen Wohlert. When we moved into the neighborhood two years ago, in the same building the treehouse will be built in, we met good people from all walks of life, yet there were no public spaces where all the different people could go and feel comfortable interacting with each other. Then Scott saw the ground floor space with high ceilings and a column in the middle of it, then an idea started growing... You can read more about us here:

We are very honored to have a very special guest collaborator on this project, Isaac Abrams, the godfather of psychedelic art, who will come to Berlin for 3 weeks to create his largest sand carved glass installation ever in das Baumhaus.

Lots of Collaborators, including Andrew James, Jan Bäss, Bernd Hartman, Lorianna Atmen Paradise, Peter Rintsch, Thomas Henriksson, Matt Paul Cleary, Djuneid Dulloo, Jesper Jensen, Stonedrifters Sound Brigade, Bernd Kucksdorf, Loudwig van Ludens, Bernd Manzke, Felix Mäcke, Benjamin Metz, Peter Mädel, Marcos Covelo, Michael Franck, Wyn Tiedmers, Alexandra Sorina Antoci, ...

Check out our blog for a full list of our growing number of collaborators and links to their websites at:

If you would like to become a collaborative partner doing what you love to do then go to the help section of our blog to see how to contribute time, resources, ideas for events, designs for installations or even just help spreading the good word:

Project updates


Saturday 16.08. will be an Emergent day in Berlin! Download full info here and share. Looking forward to meeting lots of Emergent Berliners in the "Open Greeting Zones" / "offene Grüßzonen"....

Emergent Berlin Booklet download link (full info on presenters and workshops)

Emergent Berlin Program Schedule and Map download link


Startnext has reduced our overall project goal from 33,333€ to 11,000€ to reflect the estimated 22,300€ value of the Isaac Abrams 4m x 2m glass installation he did while he was here.


Gewinner der Advisory Board Selection #3.
Nominiert von Ela Kagel, Initiatorin und freie Kuratorin des Veranstaltungszentrums "Supermarkt Berlin".

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