We are a cooperative association founded in 2015 as an initiative to counter the crisis in studio space availability and the displacement processes happening in Berlin. Artists get a secure place to work that is permanently free from speculative investment and so remains usable for future generations of artists. We are open to creative professionals from all fields – visual arts, theatre, design, architecture – anything that can be studied at art school or that is related to art.

/ Cooperatives

The cooperative structure has been common in German housing construction for over a hundred years. We use the same legal structure for studio buildings. A cooperative is a company jointly owned by many individuals and managed through democratic processes. Cooperatives are strictly regulated by their statutes and the Cooperatives Act and are among the safest, most tightly controlled legal entities in Germany. 

When the cooperative purchases a studio building, it does so with equity capital provided by the members in the form of cooperative shares (plus a bank loan) and, in turn, rents the studios to members at cost price: no investor earns money from us, we pay the studio building off for ourselves.

That’s why cooperative rents are stable and rental contracts are not terminated by the cooperative. It may not be as cheap as you would hope now, but it will pay off in the long term.

Cooperative shares acquired through participation in the “joint company” can be returned to the cooperative when you move out of the studio. There is no interest, nor do the shares gain in value. They are repaid at the same nominal price, which is exactly what prevents speculation.

/ Current Status

Just eighteen months after founding we were able to acquire our first building, AHGB Haus 1 at Stieffring 7, Charlottenburg-North, at the beginning of 2017. Thirty studios and a gallery were created by converting a former office building into approx. 1500 m2 of floor space. A favourable purchase price meant that member fees amounted to € 380 per m2 cooperative share and a rent of € 8 per m2 including heating costs. The building has been fully occupied since January 2018, meaning more than thirty of our member-tenants have a safe, affordable studio.

/ Economically Stable

About a third of the purchase and conversion costs were covered by the contributions and personal loans from cooperative members, the remaining two thirds by a loan from a Berlin bank. Both the schedule and the financial plan for the conversion were spot on and the cooperative is currently on firm footing with stable liquidity.

/ Future / Planning

Thirteen founding members are still waiting on a studio space in our second development. The rapid occupancy rate of AHGB Haus 1 and the regular enquiries about available space in the building underlines the fact that our model is in great demand from potential tenants in the Berlin market. So, we plan to keep growing, taking on new members, and developing new studio buildings.

Please get in touch!

Matthias Nebel, Board member: haus2@ahgb.info