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Showing a new face – the transformation of downtown Berlin

When it comes to the redevelopment of Tempelhofer Feld, the evolution of Museum Island and the emergence of Europacity around the main train station – Berliners just love their ambitious masterplans for the future. They certainly have good reasons to! Over the next few years the city is set to develop onwards and upwards. Berlin’s Senator for Construction and Urban Development, Andreas Geisel, has just unveiled a new masterplan for the central City West district. Berlin’s artists should be happy, especially as the plans make plenty of room for new studios, workshops and galleries.

Apartments instead of a Ferris wheel

Berlin is developing at a truly incredible pace. Anyone who hasn’t seen the area around Bahnhof Zoo for years will hardly recognize the place. With the new Upper West and Zoofenster developments, the skyline of City West has two prominent and eye-catching additions. But the future holds even more impressive plans in store, at least according to Construction Senator Geisel’s vision. In the future, anyone who takes a stroll along Hardenbergstraße, heading towards Ernst-Reuter-Platz from Bahnhof Zoo, will soon be greeted by the innovative high-rises that are set to replace the old, 1950s office buildings around Fasanenstraße. A new 80-meter skyscraper is planned for Ernst-Reuter-Platz, designed to replace the long-vacated Telekom-Haus. The new building will match the height of the listed Telefunken-Haus directly opposite, sections of which are used by the Technische Universität (TU). A return walk along Hertzallee, past the TU’s main campus, will also provide a view of a new landmark development. The currently undeveloped site, once planned as the home of a new Ferris wheel, has now been redesigned as a mixed-use quarter with more than 400 apartments, a conference hotel and office buildings. Arriving back at Bahnhof Zoo, the next potential highlight awaits. The bus station at Hardenbergplatz, a piece of prime, inner-city real estate, is currently the subject of animated debate. Should the site be repurposed for a further skyscraper, or does it make more sense to build over the bus station? The venerable train station at Zoologischer Garten is also due to be modernized, restoring the station’s status as a hub for intercity trains – another sign of the ongoing revitalization of City West.

More art and culture in central Berlin

Florian Schmidt, the Senate’s representative for artists’ studios, is also hatching ambitious plans. His masterplan envisions 2,000 new studios and workshops in central Berlin by 2020. Kreuzberg’s Südstern has been earmarked as a new center for artists’ studios, as has the Haus der Statistik to the north of Alexanderplatz. The most impressive hot-spot for creativity and inspiration, however, will be in the district of Tempelhof, right on the banks of the Teltowkanal. The historic Sarotti chocolate factory will house 25,000 square meters of space devoted to creative and innovative companies, art exhibitions and stages for music and performance art. Bright prospects for the eight to ten thousand artists living and working in Berlin, who have transformed the city into an international hub for art and culture.