Bold buildings are sprouting in areas that have remained barren since World War II
May 4, 2015
By Dalia Fahmy
Bloomberg, Apr 30, 2015
On a dusty parking lot in central Berlin, where U.S. bombs leveled homes and offices in 1945, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas is planning a beehive-like digital media center for publisher Axel Springer. A 15-minute bike ride away, on the former site of an iron foundry, architect Daniel Libeskind is completing a titanium-wrapped apartment building crowned with a soaring penthouse. Across the Humboldthafen canal, a new neighborhood with a tree-lined boulevard flanked by shops, homes, and offices is rising where rail-switching yards stood before they were wiped out during World War II.
(Image: A rendering of Axel Springer’s digital center. Source: Courtesy Axel Springer/Oma)
Seventy years after the end of the war, Berlin is finally filling the last gaps left by Allied bombs, which destroyed more than two-thirds of the buildings in the city center. Architects say the construction boom offers Berlin a chance to make up for decades of bad planning and mediocre architecture. “This is a new time in Berlin,” says Libeskind, the Polish American architect who designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin and drew up the master plan for the new World Trade Center site in Manhattan. “It’s one of the great cities of the world, and we expect it to compete. We don’t expect it to be some backwater.” Read more…