On this page you can discover all the reviews, media reviews and films that we have published on URBAN DEVELOPMENT BERLIN.
SERIES, PART 2: BERLIN’S AIR CASTLES
DEMOLITION AND NEW CONSTRUCTION OF THE MEMORIAL CHURCH
Egon Eiermann’s design for the new Memorial Church caused a storm of indignation in West Berlin in March 1957: He planned the demolition of the still-standing ruin and a functional new building on the same site. This drove the population onto the streets, fighting for the preservation of the historic main tower – in the end with success.
THE CITY OF THE FUTURE – HOW DO WE WANT TO LIVE?
What challenges will urban planners, architects and the growing urban society face? What will our cities look like in the future? What does ‘smart urban planning’ and sustainable building mean? The participants at the International Architecture Biennale, which opened last Saturday, are dealing with these questions.
The international guests in Venice are exploring the big, current question of urban planning: How do we want to live in the future? An entire episode of the ZDF series “aspekte” is devoted to this question.
SERIES, PART 1: BERLIN’S AIR CASTLES
THE “OLYMPIAHALLE 2000” IN MITTE
As part of Berlin’s failed Olympic bid in 1993, there were plans to build a large multi-purpose arena on the site of the Stadium of World Youth on Chausseestrasse in Mitte. First part of our new series “Castles in the Air – Berlin’s Unfinished Buildings.”
“BERLIN CONSTRUCTION SITE: WHERE ARE THE NEW FLATS?”
Six municipal housing associations were supposed to create a total of 30,000 new flats by the election in September 2021. By the end of 2021, however, there will only be 21,000. Why this is so and at which points housing construction keeps getting stuck or even fails, was comprehensively illuminated by the broadcaster RBB in a documentary of about 45 minutes.
The format highlights building projects that have been waiting for decades to be realised, but also alternative visions for new forms of housing such as self-managed house projects and apartment buildings that have been realised in a very confined space and with high creative potential.
“Mysterious Places – The Anhalter Bahnhof”
We have already reported several times on the possible projects at and around the Anhalter Bahnhof. Back in February 2020, we presented the contrasting project plans “Reconstruction of Anhalter Bahnhof” and “Construction of a new Exilmuseum”. Since then, a lot has happened, because the realisation of the Exilmuseum in the immediate vicinity of the station ruins now seems far more realistic than the reconstruction of the historic station building, which was blown up and demolished in the 1960s. This also became clear in the interview with Meike-Marie Thiele from the Exilmuseum Foundation.
Regardless of what will happen in Kreuzberg at Askanischer Platz in the future, the exciting RBB documentary “Mysterious Places – The Anhalter Bahnhof” looks at the eventful history of the once impressive terminus station in north-west Kreuzberg.
“The Humboldt Forum – a Projekt of the Century”
The reconstruction of the Berlin City Palace in the form of the Humboldt Forum was accompanied by numerous media and publications. One of the most comprehensive and exciting works is the DVD box set “The Humboldt Forum – A Projekt of the Century”.
Studio Hamburg Enterprises GmbH has released the DVD in time for the opening of the Humboldt Forum in December 2020. The box is not a simple construction documentary, but deals intensively with the idea and the beginnings of the reconstruction of the palace as well as with the concept of the content of a cultural institution called “Humbold Forum” in the centre of the capital.
“Metropolis Talks”: An Exchange with Dr. Markus Tubbesing”
As part of the exhibition “Unfinished Metropolis. 100 Years of Urban Development for (Greater) Berlin”, the so-called “Metropolis Talks” have been taking place at irregular intervals since 1 October 2020. The occasion for this series of talks last year was the anniversary of “100 years of Greater Berlin”. A little over 100 years ago, on 1 October 1920, Berlin became the world’s third largest metropolis in one fell swoop, behind New York City and London. The Prussian parliament passed a new law that united eight cities, 59 rural municipalities and 27 estate districts to form “Big-Berlin”.
Dr. Markus Tubbesing, who answered questions in this interview, is a university professor for design and monument preservation at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences and was or is also active as an architect, architectural historian and monument conservator.
Berlin and us! (2020)
From 2016 onwards, the documentary “Berlin and us!” was aimed primarily at children and young people and focused on the theme of integration and cross-cultural community experiences.
Four young people who had to leave their own country and four young people from Berlin wanted to find out in this joint project, accompanied by the camera teams of ARD and ZDF, how well they can live together. They were accompanied by camera for several months. In the summer of 2020, some of the young people met again to take a joint trip to northern Brandenburg for a one-off continuation of the documentary.
Urban Development Holiday Media Library
Part 5: “Berlin Kastanienallee – Poor then, Sexy today” (2020)
950 metres of big city between high gloss and tradition: Kastanienallee in the Prenzlauer Berg district is the epitome of Berlin’s eternal change. This 89-minute RBB documentary lets residents, business people, “Neu-Prenzlbergers” and old residents have their say and follows the transformation of the popular street over the past decades.
An exciting, factual and pleasantly presented portrait of Berlin’s neighbourhood culture – and the changes it is constantly undergoing.
Urban Development Holiday Media Library
Part 4: “20 years ago: Building site Berlin” (2017)
Since 1993, a gigantic army of investors, architects and construction workers has been trying to revive the myth of Potsdamer Platz. Nine million tonnes of rubble were removed to make the area between Potsdamer Platz and the Reichstag once again what it once was: the centre of power of the German capital.
This Spiegel documentary from 2017 provides a fascinating and intense look back at what was Europe’s largest construction site in the 1990s.
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Part 3: “Next stop Hauptbahnhof” (2020)
Under Berlin’s most famous boulevard “Unter den Linden”, drilling, digging and concreting went on for years. Almost two kilometres of track and three new stations are now connected to the Berlin underground network. The Spree river also had to be crossed underground. But the noise, noise and dirt, the slalom driving in Mitte – it was all worth it.
Those who get off the long-distance train at the main station can now travel through to the outskirts of the city to Hönow in Brandenburg. In future, many visitors to Berlin will be able to reach the Humboldt Forum quickly with the new underground line.
The authors of the film “Next stop Hauptbahnhof – die U5 am Ziel” Thomas Balzer and Georg Berger, accompanied project managers and architects over several years during the construction of the complex tunnel, showing the problems in the difficult Berlin subsoil as well as the annoyance for local residents and the consequences for car traffic.
Urban Development Christmas media Library
Part 2: “Berlin builds a castle” (2020)
The ARTE documentary “Berlin builds a castle” (2020) follows the history of the castle’s development. It wants to understand what this reconstruction refers to and why the debate about its pros and cons was and is so emotional.
Until the historic palace was blown up in 1950, the building was the seat of power of the Hohenzollerns for over 500 years. Prussia’s kings and finally the emperors of the German Empire ruled from here. In GDR times, the Palace of the Republic was built on its site, which was then also reduced to rubble a few years after reunification.
Urban Development Christmas Media library
part 1: “Berlin Babylon” (2000)
We open our cinematic round with the documentary “Berlin Babylon” from 2000. The film by director Hubertus Siegert shows Berlin a few years after the fall of the Wall as a city in radical change, still full of scars and wounds from the past and littered with construction sites and torn-up urban landscapes.
Siegert shows brilliantly how politicians, architects and urban planners wanted to rebuild, reinvent and heal the once two halves of the city from the wounds of division within a very short time – and how the different currents, cultures and concepts clashed rudely.
International press commentary on the opening of the Humboldt Forum
On 17 December, parts of the Humboldt Forum were opened in Berlin’s historic centre. The reconstruction of the Berlin City Palace, which was destroyed in 1950, in the version designed by the architect Franco Stella, has provoked an ambivalent press response not only in Berlin, but also nationwide and internationally.
We have compiled a selection of the media voices.
Berlin 1945-2000: A photographic subject
Not far from Köpenick’s Wilhelminenhofstraße, the Reinbeckhallen would currently be inviting visitors to a sensational art exhibition: “Berlin 1945-2000: A Phtographic Subject“. The Foundation Reinbeckhallen Collection for Contemporary Art, which is the complete name of the foundation, has been using the historic halls since 2017 to present contemporary art and to promote education, art and culture.
The plan was that the show would remain open to visitors until the end of January 2021. Due to Corona, however, the exhibition had to close, which is extremely regrettable given the quality of the exhibits on display. It is all the more gratifying that the catalogue accompanying the exhibition is well worth seeing.
The book on the U5 project: A new tunnel through Berlin
The completion of BER on 31 October is not the only major infrastructure project that will be completed in Berlin in 2020: The extension of underground line 5 to the main station has been successfully completed after nine years of construction. In contrast to the airport project, however, the underground project in Berlin’s historic centre remained much better on time and on budget. And this despite the fact that it was the technically much more demanding construction project.
This becomes clear very quickly when you read and, above all, look at the book on the project (“Ein neuer Tunnel durch Berlin”, 160 pages) published by Jaron Verlag. The challenges that the project planners faced in implementing this mammoth project in the heart of the capital are presented extremely clearly and vividly in numerous illustrations.
Five decades of architecture and urbanism: the Arch+ magazine
In this article we look at the magazine “ARCH+“, a quarterly journal for architecture and urbanism. Each quarterly issue takes an in-depth and intensive look at a particular topic, addressing current, social discussions with regard to architectural and urbanistic issues.
“ARCH+” is a magazine that operates independently of the major publishing houses and is based in Kreuzberg’s Besselpark. For over 50 years now (founded in 1967), the non-profit company has been publishing the conceptual architecture magazine, shaping the German-language and international discourse on architecture and urban research.
Mitte at eye level – Berlin’s old town yesterday and today
Today, there is hardly anything in Berlin’s city centre to remind us of its 800-year history. Traditional squares such as Molkenmarkt, Köllnischer Fischmarkt or Neuer Markt have disappeared, as have once-bustling main streets such as Königstraße, Spandauer Straße or Roßstraße, to name just a few.
In their recently published book “Mitte auf Augenhöhe – Straßen und Plätze des Berliner Stadtkerns gestern und heute” (Centre at eye level – Streets and squares of Berlin’s city centre yesterday and today), Benedikt Goebel and Lutz Mauersberger have compared photographs of Berlin’s former old town with its current state, always from the perspective of pedestrians. Thus, looking at the book, one almost has the impression of going on a walk through old Berlin.