On 1 July 1993, 31 international artists moved into the four-story factory building at Mengerzeile 1-3 in Berlin-Treptow, built in 1908. The former Hoepfner piano factory, located directly on the district border to Neukölln, had previously been used by VEB Deutsche Schallplatte (the only official GDR music label) as a sales outlet and warehouse from 1970 to 1991. In order to better represent themselves publically, the artists' group founded the association "Mengerzeile e .V." in October 1993. They received financial support from the Treptow district office for construction and repair work, as well as initial support from the then property management company GSE. The main tenant of the 2200
square meters was originally the Atelier-GmbH of Kulturwerk at the BBK Berlin. The Mengerzeile Association took over the main lease in 1997 and self-managed the studio house until its refurbishment, which ensued after the sale of the house to Argos Real Estate in 2014.


The carpenter August Jaschinsky (1849-1936), founder of the company A. Jaschinsky GmbH Berlin (1880), later Hoepfner Pianos, had the factory built in 1908 on Mengerzeile in Berlin-Treptow, next to the district of Neukölln. An adjoining residential building facing Bouchéstraße, where employees of the factory and as well as the Jaschinsky family lived, was built three years later. In 1911, the sons Oskar and Hugo Jaschinsky took over the management of the company, which employed approximately one hundred people during the "Golden Twenties".


In the course of the economic depression of the 1930s, Hoepfner’s management was forced to make savings and rented out individual floors to other craft businesses. Only the rooms on the mezzanine and second floor continued to be used for manufacturing pianos,
as well as some of the sheds for storage. Oskar Jaschinsky's wife opened a repair workshop and managed to secure some of the jobs with her "Pianohandel Johanna Jaschinsky", but despite her best efforts the business still shrank back to twenty employees.

During the Second World War, Oskar Jaschinsky had wardrobes built for the Red Cross. When the war ended his workshops undertook repairing damaged furniture as well as manufacturing new products for members of the Russian occupation. Pianos were built for
export to Sweden. After the division of Germany into Allied zones and the creation of the East-West border, the direct connection from Treptow, which belonged to Berlin East, to important raw material suppliers in the West was cut off. In order to save orders for the factory, Rosemarie Jaschinsky, one of the Jaschinskys' two daughters, set up a repair workshop in Berlin-Neukölln on Weigandufer in the Western Sector. At the end of 1949, the GDR government prohibited cooperation between East and West businesses, and hence Rosemarie Jaschinsky was only able to supply her father's company with small materials that were not available in the eastern part of the city.


In 1956, after the death of Oskar Jaschinsky, the company Hoepfner-Pianos was liquidated by his widow Johanna Jaschinsky. From 1970 to 1991, the VEB Deutsche Schallplatte (renamed Deutsche Schallplatten GmbH in 1990) moved into the factory building at Mengerzeile 1-3 with both sales outlet and warehouses, replacing the administration of HO-Kreisbetrieb Treptow, which had occupied the building until then.


In July 1992, a group of German and international artists from a wide range of creative disciplines came together to move into a factory building on Schmollerplatz in Treptow, rented from the studio office of the Berlin Association of Visual Artists (BBK). They all had one thing in common: they had been affected by studio cancellations or extreme rent increases or produced their art in cramped conditions at home and were urgently looking for an affordable workspace. Within a short time, a centre of lively creativity had developed there, and the majority of the artists wanted to maintain the group because of this experience of mutual inspiration and dynamism.

The building on Schmollerplatz - the contract for which was only valid for one year - was demolished in September 1993 to make way for housing construction. The artists' group began looking for a new property long before they moved out and found it in the immediate vicinity of Mengerzeile 1-3. This old piano factory had been used for a long time during the GDR reign as a warehouse and sales outlet for VEB Deutsche Schallplatte. After Schallplatten GmbH (formerly VEB Deutsche Schallplatte) moved out in 1991, the building had been empty for a year, except for part of the fourth floor, which an artist had rented. The building was in acceptable structural condition, although in great need of repair, and offered enough space for the group of artists, and could even accommodate further studio seekers. Through the Atelier-GmbH of the Kulturwerk, BBK Berlin, the 2200 square metre four-story building, with its adjoining coach house and garages, was rented from the housing association "Stadt und Land" and occupied on 1 July 1993.


The artists refurbished the old heating system, cleared and renovated rooms, built walls and carried out any other necessary repairs. Within a very short time studios emerged, which depending on the needs and financial situation of the members, were between 15 and 180 square metres in size. (Over the years the very large studios had to be further subdivided for financial reasons.) In order to represent themselves in an official capacity, the artist group established the association "Mengerzeile e.V." in October 1993 - receiving financial assistance from the Treptow district office during construction and repair work, as well as initial support from the then property management GSE.


In 1994, the Mengerzeile Association introduced itself publicly with a small brochure. The then Senator for Cultural Affairs, Ulrich Roloff Momin wrote the foreword in which he stated, "In a time in which Berlin studio spaces are seriously threatened, a group of German and international artists has managed to set up a new studio house in Berlin, through their own initiative and endeavour. Since its opening in July 1993, the Atelierhaus Mengerzeile has been a lively location of artistic debate, where the goal of the Mengerzeile association - to promote national and international artist exchange - is successfully practiced. At this point, I would like to extend my personal thanks to the artists for their
commitment and express my wish that, despite difficult times, this very worthy and exemplary project will be secured in the long term."


"The m3, that was the beginning of everything!" recalls the painter Miriam Vlaming of her first exhibition in Berlin. When she arrived in early 2001 from Leipzig, where she had studied painting at the HGB with Arno Rink. She read the TIP article about the newly established gallery in the Mengerzeile Atelierhaus. "He looks like Beuys," she thought when she saw the photo of gallery owner and artist Thomas Henriksson. And so, she decided to seek him out. Henriksson, who had an atelier in the Treptow artist house for several years, was in the process of realizing his dream of having his own gallery. He was renovating the old carriage house in the backyard. He wanted to create a place that artists felt was a part of themselves, nothing cold and distant, with no barriers for visitors. One of the first exhibitions he planned was with the Swedish artist Ulrika Segerberg, who also had an atelier in Mengerzeile. He liked Miriam Vlaming's work so much that he spontaneously turned it into a joint exhibition. Vlaming fondly remembers the "dark, musty basement" of the Atelierhaus where plans were sealed over plenty of beer.

In addition to annual exhibitions by the artists of the house in the Kunsthalle m3 ("Haussalon") and those working in the guest studios during that period, the hall became a forum for young art and a mirror of regional and international trends. Here, experimentation and exploration were encouraged, independent of the pressures of the art market. Furthermore, there was often an exchange with other studio houses. The association supported the exhibition activities by covering the operating costs. As far as resources allowed, the association also handled invitation cards, public relations, and the organization of openings.

The works displayed at the 2011 anniversary exhibition provided a glimpse of the lively program of the gallery, which hosted around ten exhibitions annually. The zero-budget project became a place for art beyond the mainstream. Many artists, now well-established like Miriam Vlaming, had their first Berlin or solo exhibition here, which they fondly look back upon. Six years later, in May 2017, the old carriage house, the former horse stable of the piano factory, was demolished to make way for a new building. This was the price for allowing the artists to stay, and they bid farewell to the beautiful, spacious hall with a two-day exhibition ("Raze-Raise"). In 2019, a "resurrection" in a different format took place...


For the 20th anniversary of the Atelierhaus Mengerzeile, a 184-page documentation by Constanze Suhr was created, detailing the history of the house and the artists' association, along with an exploration of the Treptow-Köpenick district and Berlin's atelier scene. The book is now available only as an antique edition, with only a few copies left from the association.