UCL Urban Laboratory


Urban Lab Films present 'Natura Urbana: The Brachen of Berlin'

07 March 2018, 6:15 pm–8:30 pm

Urban Lab Films present Natura Urbana: The Brachen of Berlin

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to





UCL Urban Laboratory


Curzon Bloomsbury
The Brunswick Centre
United Kingdom

Urban Lab Films will present one of the first UK screenings of Natura Urbana: The Brachen of Berlin (UK/Germany, 72 mins) by Matthew Gandy.

The prize-winning documentary tells the post-war history of Berlin through its plants, as we encounter an extraordinary variety of spontaneous vegetation from all over the world that has sprouted along railway lines, on street corners, and in the distinctive Brachen of Berlin. The changing vegetation serves as a parallel history to war-time destruction, geopolitical division, and the newest phase of urban transformation.

In addition to stunning urban landscapes, and unknown or rarely seen archive footage, the film also features interviews with leading cultural and scientific figures from Berlin such as the botanist Herbert Sukopp and the actor and writer Hanns Zischler. The encounters with urban nature are set to a compelling acoustic atmosphere, along with diverse electronic music from the city including compositions by Thomas Fehlmann and Manfred Miersch.

Natura Urbana takes us on a unique journey through Berlin ranging from the botanical microcosm of cracked paving stones to elaborate attempts to map the entire city in terms of its distinctive ecological zones. The film presents Berlin as a living book through a series of chapters, starting with the strange landscapes of war-time destruction-that are likened to the aftermath of a volcanic eruption-to more recent attempts to protect sites of urban bio-diversity from the speculative dynamics of urban change.

Following the screening Matthew Gandy (Writer/Director) and Sandra Jasper (Executive Producer/Co-Writer) will be joined for a Q&A by Stephen Barber (Research Professor in Art History, Kingston University), chaired by Peg Rawes (Professor of Architecture and Philosophy, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL).

The screening is in partnership with ERC Rethinking Urban Nature and Bertha DocHouse.

London Urban Nature walk

In advance of the screening, Stadtkolloquium have organised a London Urban Nature walk, with Marcus Nyman (University of Cambridge). Marcus is part of the ERC project 'Rethinking Urban Nature' and will guide us through the intersections of nature, food and the urban commons of London. The walk begins outside Angel underground station at 16:00 and finishes at the Curzon Bloomsbury at 17:30. You must have registered separately for the walk to attend (using the relevant ticket option).


Tickets to the screening have sold out, but a returns queue will be in operation at the cinema (please wait in the bar on the ground floor).

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Access information:

  • The screening takes place in Curzon Bloomsbury's Renoir screen, with lifts providing access to all floors in the building.

Further links: