Berlin, 29-12-2012

Berlin /Gropiusstadt

In 1958 the German architect Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, was commissioned to design a new quarter in the south-east of the West-Berlin. He planned manageable living spaces in building with a average of four and maximum of 17 floors, all of which would be intesected by a green corridor. In addition to good infrastructure, the complex contained shopping centers, cinemas, post offices and community centers ensuring the residents could still live an urban life.

Then the Berlin Wall was built in 1962, and the planned settlement ran near the Wall. The plans were adjusted accordingly: he area of space reduced in size, and the complex built higher. Some 14,500 apartments were planned, yet 19,000 were eventually built, with building reaching up to 30 storey-high housing more than 50,00 residents. By the time construction was completed in 1975, Gropiusstadt - or the Gropius City - as it came to be known, became a residential juggernaut. The place were Christiane F. grew up.

Today I visited but a small part of Gropiusstadt. Getting out of the tube, the first thing I saw was a huge wall of living spaces. Walking along this wall, I felt small and rather estranged.

A touching detail in the sea of buildings