Dilapidated buildings threaten our future: We demand swift action

Please note: The Chancellor of TU Berlin handed over the Open Letter with 2000 signatures to Berlin Politics on July 4, 2023. This closes the signature list.

Support our university – open letter from TU Berlin to Berlin’s politicians

Dear Members of TU Berlin,

In view of the closure of the Mathematics Building and the burst pipe in the Chemistry Building, we have written an open letter to the state of Berlin. Please support us by signing this letter. You can find details below.

We ask all members of TU Berlin who support these demands to sign this "Open Letter." We as the Executive Board will send it to Berlin’s politicians. 

We will publish the names of signatories on the University website as well as below the letter. Please send your full name and function to pressestelle(at)tu-berlin.de.

Support our university with your signature!

The Executive Board of TU Berlin
Professor Dr. Geraldine Rauch, President 
Professor Dr. Stephan Völker, Vice President for Research and Appointments
Christian Schröder, Vice President for Education, Teacher Training, and Continuing Education
Lars Oeverdieck, Vice President for Administration 

22 June 2023

Open letter

Dear Governing Mayor, Senators, Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Technische Universität Berlin is in a desperate state. Following an initial partial closure as a result of flooding in April of this year caused by somebody wantonly blocking sewage pipes and turning on the taps, we have now had to completely close down our Mathematics Building in mid-June 2023. It has emerged that the building’s fire alarm system and emergency lighting are also affected. Other facilities impacted include seven lecture halls, dozens of seminar rooms, a total of 2700 seats for students, a large computer pool, the 3D lab and countless workstations for staff. Just a few days later on 19 June 2023, a water pipe burst in the Chemistry Building. Nineteen rooms had to be closed, including many laboratories. Although such accidents can happen anywhere and at any time, the impact is usually greater in old or unrenovated buildings.

The two large transformer stations at TU Berlin are also getting on in years and are in urgent need of renovation. If we don’t act now, we are threatened with a power cut on our North Campus and/or South Campus in the direction of Bahnhof Zoo. The HF and TK Buildings on Campus Charlottenburg are also dilapidated and in dire need of renovation or reconstruction. However, both buildings were rejected last year for inclusion in the investment planning of the state of Berlin. The current Physics Building on Hardenbergstraße is in deplorable condition and we will probably not be able to operate it until a new building has been constructed. The complex of buildings at Seestraße on our Wedding campus has been completely closed for two years now.
As a result of financial constrictions since the beginning of the 1990s, the state of Berlin has invested far too little in maintaining the city’s public infrastructure and also in renovating its universities. Berlin's universities and colleges commissioned a university location development plan in coordination with the Berlin Senate. The first comprehensive version was presented to Berlin's politicians in 2018. The Senate responded quickly with a resolution for a 6-point plan. A more concrete plan for each individual university followed in the course of last year. The problem was addressed in both the current and previous coalition agreements. Unfortunately, nothing has resulted from this so far; no further action has been taken by the Senate, the required construction corridor has not been established and neither have procedures been expedited.

Reducing the renovation backlog – 2.4 billion euros for TU Berlin alone – requires a variety of measures and different sources of financing. On the one hand, more buildings must be included in the investment planning of the state of Berlin and more applications for federal funding have to be submitted – in coordination with the universities – and on the other, alternative models must be tested.

Technische Universität Berlin has committed to using a good part of its financial reserves to reduce the renovation backlog and to undertake its own planning and execution of construction measures. It is up to the Senate to create the necessary framework conditions for this as quickly as possible.

Technische Universität Berlin therefore specifically demands

  • a commitment to the renovation of the Mathematics and Technical Chemistry buildings registered for investment planning, 
  • the reversal of the postponement of the start of the new Experimental Physics Building from 2027 back to 2025/2026,
  • adequate financing of the Seestraße renovation project, 
  • the transfer of the building owner's authority for Building B to TU Berlin (already applied for), 
  • the demolition permit for the two disruptive old and closed, non-historic building sections on the Seestraße campus (already applied for), and 
  • willingness on the part of the government to allow alternative construction and financing models.

Supporters of the Open Letter only available in German.