Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz is the most striking example of the urban renewal that turned Berlin into the ‘New Berlin’ in the 1990s although it is not, strictly-speaking, a square. The area today consists of the three developments known as Daimler City or the DaimlerChrysler Areal (1998), the Sony Centre (2000) and the Beisheim Centre (2004), which literally transformed the dormant wasteland where the Berlin Wall stood between east and west Berlin until 1989.
The challenge of rebuilding the heart of post Cold War Berlin was no trifling matter – how to transform a desolate sandy wasteland into the new German capital’s city centre. At stake was nothing less than making a statement on the fundamental principles of urban design at the end of the 20th century. Many issues needed to be addressed. How to reconcile public against commercial interests, the integration of two transport systems, road and infrastructural planning affecting the new re-united centre, limiting traffic in the inner city area and incorporating ecological considerations, deciding on the style of architecture - Manhattan high-rise buildings or lower housing, traditional, futuristic or avant-garde?
The long debates about the future of Potdamer Platz needed to resolve the issue of bringing authentic metropolitan life into an area which had been dead for years – integrating residential accommodation with shopping, leisure and business needs to ensure that the area live around-the-clock.
What can be seen today can be seen today is believed to have resulted in a successful compromise - a mixture of the American plaza feel at the Sony Centre and a tree-lined European downtown around the Marlene Dietrich Platz producing a lively, buzzing atmosphere.
Potsdamer Platz is reached by public transport on the U and S-Bahn lines, just off the Tiergarten. The new downtown centre is a prime business location which successfully merged state-of-the art architecture and real estate potential for the resurging German Capital. And for a touch of glamour the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival, Berlin’s most glamorous calendar event, held in February every year, moved its headquarters here in 2000. The red carpet is rolled out every February for A-list stars outside the Berlinale Palast, where stars, cineastes and public mingle on the new Marlene Dietrich Platz.
Historically, there are three distinctive phases in the history of this legendary square. In the 1920s Potsdamer Platz, where the first set of traffic lights in Europe came into operation, was the metropolis’ heart and hub, the busiest European city in its heyday, buzzing with shopping, traffic and entertainment. A heap of ruins after World War II, it lay lifeless as a no man’s land – a strip of sandy soil known as the death-strip dividing west and east Berlin until 1989. After the fall of the Wall, in 1989, its resurrection was brought about by consortiums of international investors and the most prestigious international architects available: Renzo Piano, Helmut Jahn, Richard Rogers, Arata Isozachi and Rafael Moneo.
The rebuilding of Potsdamerplatz, began in the 1980s when plans were initiated by urban development Senator Volker Hassener. Investors Daimler-Benz bought a plot of land along the Landwehr Canal to the Wall perimeter at a time when it was still considered a lifeless, peripheral site. Suddenly when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the plot became top real estate in the centre of the new German capital. The 1991 Berlin Senate’s publicly sponsored “Potsdamer and Leipziger Platz Competition for Urban Design Ideas” initiating a passionate debate where architectural offices from all around the world competed for a piece of the pie in the city of the cranes skyline. It was won by Munich-based Heinz Himmler and Christoph Sattler.
Renzo Piano and Helmut Jahn proposed the winning master plans. Investors Daimler-Benz (today Daimler) and SONY backed the two visions. The Piano/Daimler-Benz project envisioned a more diverse European style area with narrower streets while Helmut Jahn’s Sony vision presented the more uniform ultra-modern glass-steel plaza which became the Sony Centre. The vast covered public space with its striking glass roof was the result of a remarkable engineering feat - an outstretched tent roof with material fastened to a steel ring attached to the adjacent buildings. The Panorama Punkt with an observation deck 93m high is reached by elevator for the best all-round view of the area in the brown-brick Kollhoff building.
The neo-baroque façade on the Bellevuestrasse is the luxurious Hotel Esplanade, preserved from before WWII. The original Kaisersaal (Imperial room) was literally lifted on raised air cushions and shifted to its present spot. Two walls remain in their original place. Renzo Piano’s stone-glass Debis Tower, the Group’s Headquarters, was the first building completed on the southernmost edge to become the new landmark a 280-foot-high tower with on 22 floors. The Debis building´s main characteristic is that each element is separately articulated and the result is a kind of assemblage including stair tower, elevator core and office space.
Main attractions to be seen while walking around the Potsdamer Platz area include: Debis Tower (Renzo Piano) and the DaimlerChrysler Atrium with its public spaces, including changing art exhibitions and an auto showroom and the artificial water basin; The Sony Centre and Cinema Complex and Film Museum, the Arkaden Shopping Mall (Richard Rogers), a 3D IMAX cinema, Musical Theatre and Casino, and Weinhaus Huth wine merchants the oldest and only surviving original pre World War II building.
( Text: Berlin.de )
Potsdamer Platz 1
Architekt: Renzo Piano, Christoph Kohlbecker, Arata Isozaki, Steffen Lehmann, Hans Kollhoff, Lauber + Wöhr, José Rafael Moneo, Richard Rogers
Potsdamer Platz Bhf (Berlin) (S+U): S1, S2, S25
Potsdamer Platz Bhf (Berlin) (S+U): U2
Potsdamer Platz Bhf (Berlin) (S+U): M41, M48
Potsdamer Platz Bhf/Voßstr. (Berlin) (S): M41, M85
Varian-Fry-Str. (Berlin): 200, N2, M48, M85
SALON POPULAIRE is a meeting point in Berlin, inviting anyone interested in the arts and its reflection. It participates in Berlin’s cultural and political reality, addressing its local context as much as issues of universal concern with space for anachronistic, indulgent, academic, individual engagement.
SALON POPULAIRE is a social space, which takes up on the history of the salon and actualizes it according to its organizers’ and audience’s needs. It is a political space in the sense that it intends to interrupt assured knowledge and create a space of possibility and exposure.
SALON POPULAIRE positions itself at the intersection between exhibition space and academic research, aiming to explore potential forms of joint knowledge production and to seek a third (neither institutional nor academic) way of exchanging ideas. Art in all its genres is always the starting point, the intermediary for guests, organizers and audiences for entering, though with no secure outcome.
SALON POPULAIRE is a project by (Ellen Blumenstein, with Fiona Geuß, Ulrike Bernard and Bryndis Bjornsdottir); space concept by raumlaborberlin (Markus Bader).
A.o. Bundesparteitag der FDP in BerlinDistance: 0.6 miTourist Information Luckenwalder Straße 4 Berlin, 10963
S + U-Bhf. Potsdamer PlatzDistance: 0.0 miTourist Information Alte Potsdamer Str. 1 Berlin, 10785
Bethlehemskirche - Save the LightDistance: 0.6 miTourist Information Bethlehemkirchplatz Berlin, 10117
„Lux Bethlehem“ ist ein eingetragener Verein, der sich für den Erhalt der Lichtinstallation „Bethlehemskirche“ einsetzt.
Der Verein will ein Zeichen bürgerschaftlichen Engagements für den Erhalt der Lichtinstallation auf dem Bethlehemkirchplatz in Berlin-Mitte setzen. Die im Zweiten Weltkrieg zerstörte und 1963 abgetragene Bethlehemskirche war die erste Migrantenkirche in Berlin und Predigtkirche des Missionsgründers Johannes Evangelista Goßner. In dem Verein engagieren sich Vertreter der reformierten Bethlehemskirchgemeinde, der Gossner Mission, zwölf lokale Geschichtsvereine sowie engagierte Bürger.
Public campaign for the preservation of the light installation “Urban Memories”, at the Bethlehemkirch square in Berlin-Mitte. It should be kept as a continuous reminder of a centuries old friendship and support amongst the people in Centraleurope and a sign of tolerance in the center of a European capital that should never be forgotten.
Kampaň pro zachování světelné instalace na Betlémském náměstí v Berlíně-Mitte, která zůstává v trvalé paměti na staré přátelství a jako znamení tolerance.
"Lux Betlém" je registrované sdružení, která se zavázalo k zachování světelného zařízení starého kostela "Betlémská Kaple" jako jedno ze znamení smíření v Berlíně, tedy symbol dobrých sousedských vztahů mezi Čechy a Berlíňany
Vorsitzender: Stefan Graf Finck von Finckenstein
Zweiter Vorsitzender: Dr. Ulrich Schöntube.
Weitere Mitglieder des Vorstands: Dr. Ingeborg Becker, Helga Ottow, Dr. Klaus Roeber
Stefan Graf Finck von Finckenstein
c/o Gossner Mission
Tel.: (0 30) 2 43 44 57 50
Das Social Media Team:
Ulrich Schöntube (us), Jutta Klimmt (jk), Gerd Herzog (gh), Werner Stickler (ws).
نهتم بكل ما يخص الألمان على المستوى الرياضي والسياسي والثقافي والإقتصادي .
Neue Synagoge (New Synagogue)Distance: 1.3 miTourist Information Oranienburger Straße 28-30 Berlin, 10117
The New Synagogue, along with the Jewish Museum and the Holocaust memorial is one of Berlin’s most significant Jewish landmarks. Built in 1866, to seat 3200 people as the largest Jewish place of worship in Germany, the Neue Synagogue was literally a symbol of the thriving Jewish community. With 160,000 Jewish citizens in 1933, Berlin was the centre of liberal Judaism.
Today the building houses the Centrum Judaicum foundation which opened in 1995, an institution for the preservation of Jewish memory and tradition, a community congregation centre for study and teaching. The museum and information centre houses exhibits including Torahs and scrolls which were excavated as late as 1989 during the restoration phase. Only one prayer room remains in use today, with mixed seating in the reformed Judaism tradition. A guided tour is available here to see the open space which lies behind the restored facade of the building where the former huge, main Synagogue room once was. A glass and steel structure secures the remaining fragments of masonry of the former synagogue and the original ground plan dimensions can be seen by a traced perimeter which give an idea of the size of the destroyed sections.
The Synagogue was the project of Eduard Knoblauch who has gone down in history as the first successful private architect after the Schinkel era which was dominated by the grand projects of state-commissioned buildings. He did not live to see the finished building and the work was completed by August Stüler. It was consecrated in 1866. The magnificent Moorish dome, visible from a long distance, its ornate gold-plated ribbed lattice and the oriental motifs on the façade were inspired by the Alahambra in Granada, Spain.
Until the infamous Kristallnacht pogrom of November 1938 when the Synagogue was attacked by Nazi thugs and heavily damaged, Jewish citizens had enjoyed full equality and civic rights, enshrined in the 1850 Prussian constitution. The official founding of a Jewish community in Berlin dates back to 1671 under the Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm (1640-1688) and it thrived until the Weimar Republic. By and large in the 19thcentury belief in Jewish assimilation remained strong and Jewish citizens enjoyed civic rights. As the centre of the so-called Jewish enlightenment or Haskalah which advocated equality and secularism Berlin was home to personalities such as Max Reinha, Arnold Schoneberg Kurt Weill, Albert Einstein and Max Liebermann who enjoyed social prestige and acclaim. Liturgically, social assimilation was reflected in the relaxing of religious rites and a more liberal approach to religious practices which included the installation of an organ, a choir and services in German in the Neue Synagogue. Services were held here until 1940 when the building was confiscated by the Nazis and almost completely destroyed by Allied bombings in 1943.
The subsequent GDR governments only kept the main façade as a memorial – as this was the only structurally intact part of the building - but the main Hall had to be demolished in 1958. The front of the building was rebuilt in 1988-91 with Federal Government financial support and the Dome was reconstructed in 1991 and is open to visitors.
A good selection of guided tours is available including pre-booked requests for groups. This includes tours of the permanent and temporary exhibitions as well as special guided tours of Jewish life in the area surrounding the New Synagogue which are available from March to October only.
( text: Berlin.de )
Oranienburger Straße 28-30
Phone: 030 88 02 83 00
Opening Hours: April - September:
Sun, Mon 10-20; Tue-Thu 10-18; Fri 10-17
March and October:
Sun, Mon 10-20; Tue-Thu 10-18; Fri 10-14 Uhr
Sun, Mon 10-18; Tue-Thu 10-18; Fri 10-14
Admission Fee: 3,- Euro, reduced 2,- Euro
Guided Tours: Sun 14 und 16, Wed 16 (only March - October)
Architect: Eduard Knoblauch, August Stüler
Public Places Near Potsdamer Platz Berlin
S + U-Bhf. Potsdamer Platz Distance: 0.0 miTourist Information Alte Potsdamer Str. 1 Berlin, Germany 10785
Berlin – the place to be Distance: 0.5 miTourist Information Pariser Platz Berlin, Germany 10117