The city of tomorrow
The Vision: A Quartier combining Innovation, Ecology and Quality of Life.
For a long time it was “no man’s land” – the area around the Berlin central station. Characterised by wartime destruction and the shadow of the Berlin Wall, a large part of the some 61-hectare inner city space between the Spreebogen and Nordhafen was used for decades as a container terminal and provisional storage grounds. Meanwhile the Europacity is being erected here, the most future-oriented urban development project in Berlin—and that is no longer just a dream.
Already today a variety of fascinating, modern buildings rise around the central station and urbane life returns to a scene, which represented cosmopolitan openness already at the beginning of the 20th century. Before the war two of the most elegant Berlin rail terminals—the Lehrter Railway Station, whose ruins were demolished in 1957 and the Hamburger Railway Station. Where the first of them stood is now the site of the Berlin Central Station, dedicated in 2006– an architectural masterpiece, designed by Meinhard von Gerkan. In contrast the Hamburger Bahnhof was redesigned to become an international exhibition site for cotemporary art. Together they mark the first phase of that urban development that will be completed in the Europacity.
“The Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin is particularly interested in the history of the place where it is located,” explained director, Dr Gabriele Knapstein. “When the museum was opened as a part of the National Gallery in the late classical building, it revived an area that had been no man’s land since the Second World War and the division of Germany. With two extensions, the Kleihueshalle and the Rieckhalle, we now have created ideal exhibition conditions for the National Gallery’s growing collection and the private collections placed in our care.”
Knapstein’s experience with the further development of the Europacity is thoroughly positive: “For us the urban development of our surroundings is a real gain. We have already entered into cooperation with our neighbours. Starting 19 July 2017 we are exhibiting young artistic potential for four weeks at the corporate headquarters of 50Hertz. We undertook this ambitious project together for the next three years in order to let the new neighbourhood be productive for everyone.“
“For us, the urban development of our environment is a real gain. We have already begun cooperation with our new neighbour. Starting 19 July 2017 we exhibit young artistic potential in the corporate headquarters of 50Hertz for four weeks. We undertook this ambitious project together for the next three years in order to let the new neighbourhood be productive for everyone.”
Dr Gabriele Knapstein,
Director Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin
Even the prominent television chef and restaurant operator, Sarah Wiener, profits from the new neighbourhood. “My restaurant at the Hamburger Bahnhof has long been an attraction for people who love art and good food. We look forward to even more life, new neighbours, more strolling along the promenade and more urbanity in our ‘backwoods’.”
From the vision to the city quarter
When the Lehrter and Hamburger railway terminals were erected in the middle of the 19th century, Berlin was experiencing a similar growth process to the one through which we are living today. The economy boomed and the urban infrastructure was expanded with large, visionary projects. That also included the Berlin-Spandau shipping canal with the Humboldthafen, an inner city “ornamental basin” designed by the famous landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenné.
Today, more than 150 years later, Lenné’s plan has been revived—and not only that: When the first concepts for development around the central station were developed, there was the vision of a new, modern part of the city—from the Spreebogen to Nordhafen, from the Canal to the railway line. This vision ultimately led to the preparation of the “Master Plan Berlin Heidestraße”, a unique cooperative planning process from property owners, project developers, urban planners and government agencies.
“As pioneer in the Europacity, our TOTAL brand has profited enormously from relocation to the new quartier, just because of the high visibility alone,” said Bruno Daude-Lagrave, managing director of TOTAL Deutschland GmbH. “At the same time we have modernised many internal processes with the move into a modern building. Now we are happy to see that even urbane life is generated with the growing neighbourhood here near the central station.“
Diverse gastronomy firms have already located here and the central station has developed into a place supplying daily needs with certain mall qualities.
Variety and mixture
Residential and office buildings with impressive architecture are being erected around the ornamental Humboldthafen basin, designed by Lenné, as well as a promenade with restaurants, cafés and boat docks. Even the adjacent canal, once dug for freight transport, will become a landscape gem in the course of the Europacity’s development—a place for strolling visitors to the art museums, office workers and for the inhabitants of the new residential quarter along the bank, all the way to the Wasserstadt Mitte on the Nordhafen.
West of Heidestraße, which as central boulevard connects the Europacity, the Central Station with Wedding district, the Quartier Heidestrasse is being erected in typical Berlin mix, with subsidised and market-rate apartments, commercial spaces and a centre for the supply of daily needs to the entire Europacity.
A city of the future
Parallel to that the business centre of the Europacity is growing at the southern end of the Heidestrasse with hotels and office buildings for renowned international enterprises in landmark architecture. An exciting start has been made with the Tour Total, the 50Hertz corporate headquarters, the new Berlin headquarters of PricewaterhouseCoopers at Humboldthafen and the residential building KunstCampus as well as the John F. Kennedy Haus, the Bertha Berlin office building, the Intercity Hotel and the Steigenberger Hotel. More buildings have been planned or erected—such as the Grand Central Berlin office building and MY.B, the KPMG building, the new headquarters of ABDA – Bundesverband der Apothekerverbände (Federal Union of Pharmacists’ Associations) and cube berlin, a modern architectural landmark between Berlin Central Station and the River Spree. These are all projects that at the same time point to the material core of the vision for the Europacity: attractive architecture and urban development, innovative use concepts and sustainable as well as future-oriented building engineering. There is no place in all of Berlin with more green buildings than in the Europacity.
Senate building director Regula Lüscher: “This subject is not only important to the owner and developer but, also to the citizenry. Berlin has a unique scientific landscape and innovation industry that makes it easy to find the right partner for future-oriented developments.”
The demand, that joins the concept of innovation, should find its accomplishment not only through individual projects. The entire Europacity is dedicated to e-mobility concepts and sustainable construction methods that can survive in the future. A genuine city of the future.