Between Culture and Nature


In the 1990s, Potsdamer Platz in central Berlin was seen as Europe's largest construction site. Today only one vacant lot remains, situated at the southern end of the area. By summer of 2017, even this patch of wasteland will have disappeared. For some months now, construction cranes have swung this way and that between Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade and Köthener Straße, while the diggers excavated the pit for the foundations of a prestigious new property by the Landwehrkanal. "High Park", featuring two residential tower blocks, one with 13 levels, the other 14, flanking a four-story central block with a lush green oasis of garden on its roof. The lower levels of the residential block, beneath the tracks of the overground section of subway, will house retail spaces. Building contractors GSP Städtebau previously built the neighboring Scandic Hotel and the Charleston residential complex and are entirely confident about the location of their latest property.


And with good reason: Potsdamer Platz has been viewed as the place to see the city's cutting-edge architecture for twenty years now. Destroyed during the division of the city, this area is now part of the pulsating heart of the reunified capital. As well as numerous companies, the state library and the Philharmonic Hall, the casino and a musical theater also chose to locate here. The Tiergarten, Berlin's largest uninterrupted park area, extends towards the North West.

However, Potsdamer Platz is not the only in-demand residential location; a large number of new and exclusive apartment complexes are springing up across the entire area to the south of Tiergarten. There is no lack of demand for premium residential space here. After all, the area is close not only to Potsdamer Platz with its cultural highlights and shopping temptations; Kurfürstendamm, probably Berlin's most famous boulevard, with its high-end boutiques, as well as various theaters and cinemas, is also just a few minutes away. This area also boasts almost-untouched nature: the Landwehrkanal, the Zoological Garden and Tiergarten park are all close by.


It was this mix of culture and nature that drew in foreign diplomats in the past. A large number of countries also established their diplomatic representation in the area between Landwehrkanal and Tiergarten Park as long ago as at the time of the German Empire. However, with the decision to reinstate Berlin as the German capital, the diplomats also returned. New embassies were set up, like that of the Nordic states, which is shared by Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway & Iceland. In between are stately square-shaped residential villas with splendid façades. One such villa is located at Clara-Wieck-Straße 5. Surrounded by a small park, the building's architecture is typical of this district and representative of a very special lifestyle: the rather conservative façade design lends it a timeless elegance, while full-length windows flood every room with daylight, while roof terraces and balconies provide a guaranteed top spot in the sunshine.

Future residents of what is possibly the most interesting construction site in the city will also be able to make the most of the sunshine: the town houses built by architect Oswald Mathias Ungers for the international construction exhibition in 1987 once stood between Lützowufer and Wichmannstraße. The not uncontroversial Ungers buildings were demolished in 1998 due to significant building defects. Today, landowner Dibag Industriebau AG wants to build new residential and office premises on the area with a total area of 7225 square meters just south of the Landwehrkanal. Looking towards Lützowplatz, an office and retail complex is to be constructed to shield from the street the four seven-story residential buildings with their central courtyard. Construction work has not yet begun, but planning permission has been granted, meaning it's only a matter of time until the diggers arrive.


A positive preliminary building permit has also been issued for the property located between Genthiner and Derfflinger Straße, acquired by project developer Dirk Germandi in 2014. The proposals envisage 88 apartments and plenty of space for the creative industries and start-ups.

The "Kurfürstenzentrum" with more than 200 apartments and small shops, is to be created where Kurfürstenstraße and Genthiner Straße meet. The empty plot at the corner of Else-Lasker-Schüler-Straße and Kurfürstenstraße is also set to be transformed with the construction of 130 new apartments. All this is in spite of the fact that the area around Kurfürstenstraße is a notorious red light district; only last year, the City Planning and Construction Department closed off access to nearby Magdeburger Platz due to contamination from syringes and condoms. But the project developers are certain - there's no scope for this tawdry reputation in the new Tiergarten-Süd.


Photos and photo credits:

Title: Tiergarten © Istock

01 High Park at Potsdamer Platz © Zabel Property
02 Potsdamer Platz © Istock
03 Villa in Clara-Wieck-Straße © Zabel Property
04 Kurfürstenzentrum © Istock