Brookfield Potsdamer Platz

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Team Leader Property Management Potsdamer Platz Berlin Rico Geisler Alte Potsdamer Straße 7 Berlin. Tel. Brookfield Properties Germany GmbH. „Das Quartier Potsdamer Platz ist eines der Berliner Wahrzeichen – wir freuen uns sehr, unseren Kunden Brookfield Properties auch bei diesem. Brookfield Properties, die als Asset Manager das Areal rund um den Potsdamer Platz verwalten und gemeinsam mit ECE das Management, die. Der kanadische Immobilieninvestor Brookfield gewährt einen überraschenden Einblick in seinen Milliarden-Deal am Potsdamer Platz: Anders. Die Immobilien am Potsdamer Platz haben einen neuen Besitzer. Die Brookfield Property Partners L.P., ein weltweit aktiver kommerzieller.

Brookfield Potsdamer Platz

„Das Quartier Potsdamer Platz ist eines der Berliner Wahrzeichen – wir freuen uns sehr, unseren Kunden Brookfield Properties auch bei diesem. Der Umbau der Einkaufspassage „Potsdamer Platz Arkaden“ hat begonnen. Innerhalb von zwei Jahren will der kanadische Eigentümer Brookfield, dessen. Potsdamer Platz Arkaden: Umbau hat begonnen,. Nahversorger Vice President Europe von Brookfield Properties, Asset Manager des.

Brookfield Potsdamer Platz Video

Potsdamer Platz - Project of the Week 6/19/17

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Back Confirm. It was around this gate that Potsdamer Platz was to develop. As a physical entity, Potsdamer Platz began as a few country roads and rough tracks fanning out from the Potsdam Gate.

According to one old guide book, it was never a proper platz, but a five-cornered traffic knot on that old trading route across Europe.

Initially known appropriately as the Achteck Octagon , on 15 September it was renamed Leipziger Platz after the site of Prussia's final decisive defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Leipzig , 16—19 October , which brought to an end the Wars of Liberation that had been going on since The Potsdam Gate itself was redesignated the Leipziger Tor Leipzig Gate around the same time, but reverted to its old name a few years later.

The history of Leipziger Platz has been inextricably linked with that of its neighbor almost since its creation.

Yet their respective stories have in many ways been very different. The future Potsdamer Platz was most definitely outside Berlin, and therefore not subject to the planning guidelines and constraints that would normally be expected in a city keen to show itself off as the capital of an empire.

It grew very rapidly in a piecemeal and haphazard way, and came to epitomise wildness and excess in a manner that contributed much to its legendary status.

Leipziger Platz however, was inside the city and had a name almost a century before its neighbor did , and always had an orderly, disciplined look about it.

After all, it had been planned and built all in one go by Johann Philipp Gerlach. One late 18th-century artistic depiction shows a range of buildings relentless in their uniformity.

Indeed, this, together with the grid pattern of the streets, is what one would expect in Prussia's chief garrison city.

One writer of the time said that a stroll round Friedrichstadt was like walking round military barracks. In this respect the Potsdam Gate was a dividing line between two different worlds.

It was not until later on that many of these buildings began to be replaced by important historical palaces and aristocratic mansions. By this time however, Leipziger Platz was no longer a parade ground, and there had been much speculation about a possible complete redesign for the whole area.

Back in had come the first of two proposed schemes that would have afforded the future Potsdamer Platz the appearance of a proper square.

Under both schemes the old rural intersection just outside the Potsdam Gate, and the Octagon Leipziger Platz just inside, were to be joined together to create a long rectangular space, with a gargantuan edifice standing in the middle of it.

Though containing some Egyptian and French neo- Classicist features, the design was basically a huge Greek temple in the Doric style, loosely modelled on the Parthenon in Athens, though raised up on an enormous geometric plinth and flanked by numerous obelisks the Egyptian element.

A grand new Potsdam Gate formed part of the design. It was never built, but eighteen years later in Gilly's pupil, Karl Friedrich Schinkel — , put forward plans for a National Memorial Cathedral to commemorate the recent victories in the Wars of Liberation.

To be known as the Residenzkirche , it was again, never built due to lack of funds, and in any case the national fervor of the period favored the long-awaited completion of Cologne Cathedral over a new building, but Schinkel went on to become one of the most prolific and celebrated architects of his time.

So the layout stayed put, although in Schinkel did get to rebuild the Potsdam Gate. The one on the north side served as the customs house and excise collection point, while its southern counterpart was a military guardhouse, set up to prevent desertions of Prussian soldiers , which had become a major problem.

The new gate was officially dedicated on 23 August The design also included a new look for Leipziger Platz. Attempts to create a market there to draw off some of the frenetic commercial activity in the centre of the city had not been successful.

And so Schinkel proposed to turn it into a fine garden, although this part of the design was not implemented. Meanwhile, country peasantry were generally not welcome in the city, and so the gates also served to restrict access.

However, the country folk were permitted to set up trading posts of their own just outside the gates, and the Potsdam Gate especially. It was hoped that this would encourage development of all the country lanes into proper roads; in turn it was hoped that these would emulate Parisian boulevards—broad, straight and magnificent, but the main intention was to enable troops to be moved quickly.

Thus Potsdamer Platz was off and running. It was not called that until 8 July , but the area outside the Potsdam Gate began to develop in the early 19th century as a district of quiet villas, for as Berlin became even more congested, many of its richer citizens moved outside the customs wall and built spacious new homes around the trading post, along the newly developing boulevards, and around the southern edge of the Tiergarten.

Initially the development was fairly piecemeal, but in this area just to the west of Potsdamer Platz, sandwiched between the Tiergarten and the north bank of the future Landwehrkanal, received Royal approval for a more orderly and purposeful metamorphosis into a residential colony of the affluent, and gradually filled with houses and villas of a particularly palatial nature.

These became the homes of civil servants, officers, bankers, artists and politicians among others, and earned the area the nickname "Millionaires' Quarter" although its official designation was Friedrichvorstadt Friedrich's Suburb , or alternatively the Tiergartenviertel Tiergarten Quarter.

Many of the properties in the neighborhood were the work of architect Georg Friedrich Heinrich Hitzig —81 , a pupil of Schinkel who also built the original "English Embassy" in Leipziger Platz, where the vast Wertheim department store would later stand, although Friedrichvorstadt's focal point and most notable building was the work of another architect—and another pupil of Schinkel.

The Matthiaskirche St. Matthew's Church , built in , was an Italian Romanesque -style building in alternating bands of red and yellow brick, and designed by Friedrich August Stüler — This church, one of fewer than half a dozen surviving pre-World War II buildings in the entire area, forms the centrepiece of today's Kulturforum Cultural Forum.

Meanwhile, many of the Huguenots fleeing religious persecution in France, and their descendants, had also been living around the trading post and cultivating local fields.

Noticing that traffic queues often built up at the Potsdam Gate due to delays in making the customs checks, these people had begun to offer coffee, bread, cakes and confectionery from their homes or from roadside stalls to travelers passing through, thus beginning the tradition of providing food and drink around the future Potsdamer Platz.

In later years larger and more purpose-built establishments had begun to take their place, which in turn were superseded by even bigger and grander ones.

The former district of quiet villas was by now anything but quiet: Potsdamer Platz had taken on an existence all its own whose sheer pace of life rivalled anything within the city.

The removal of the customs wall allowed its former route to be turned into yet another road running through Potsdamer Platz, thus increasing still further the amount of traffic passing through.

Since the city authorities would not allow the new line to breach the customs wall, still standing at the time, it had to stop just short, at Potsdamer Platz, but it was this that kick-started the real transformation of the area, into the bustling focal point that Potsdamer Platz would eventually become.

Just three years later a second railway terminus opened in the vicinity. Located meters to the southeast, with a front facade facing Askanischer Platz , the Anhalter Bahnhof was the Berlin terminus of a line opened on 1 July , as far as Jüterbog and later extended to Dessau , Kothen and beyond.

Both termini began life as fairly modest affairs, but in order to cope with increasing demands both went on to much bigger and better things in later years, a new Potsdamer Bahnhof, destined to be Berlin's busiest station, opening on 30 August and a new Anhalter Bahnhof, destined to be the city's biggest and finest, following on 15 June In addition, a railway line once ran through Potsdamer Platz itself.

This was a connecting line opened in October and running around the city just inside the customs wall, crossing numerous streets and squares at street level, and whose purpose was to allow goods to be transported between the various Berlin stations, thus creating a hated traffic obstruction that lasted for twenty years.

Half a dozen or more times a day, Potsdamer Platz ground to a halt while a train of 60 to wagons trundled through at walking pace preceded by a railway official ringing a bell.

The construction of the Ringbahn around the city's perimeter, linked to all the major stations, allowed the connecting line to be scrapped in , although the Ringbahn itself was not complete and open for all traffic until 15 November In later years Potsdamer Platz was served by both of Berlin's two local rail systems.

The U-Bahn arrived first, from the south; begun on 10 September , it opened on 18 February , with a new and better sited station being provided on 29 September , and the line itself being extended north and east on 1 October By the second half of the 19th century, Berlin had been growing at a tremendous rate for some time, but its growth accelerated even faster after the city became the capital of the new German Empire on 18 January Potsdamer Platz and neighbouring Leipziger Platz really started coming into their own from this time on.

Now firmly in the centre of a metropolis whose population eventually reached 4. Some of these places became internationally known.

Next door, the Herrenhaus, or Prussian House of Lords the Upper House of the Prussian State Parliament , occupied a former porcelain factory for a while, before moving to an impressive new building erected on the site of the former Mendelssohn family home in — by Friedrich Schulze Colditz — Potsdamer Platz was also the location of Germany's first electric street lights , installed in by the electrical giant Siemens , founded and based in the city.

The heyday of Potsdamer Platz was in the s and s. By this time it had developed into the busiest traffic center in all of Europe, [1] and the heart of Berlin's nightlife.

It was a key location that helped to symbolize Berlin; it was known worldwide, and a legend grew up around it. It represented the geographical center of the city, the meeting place of five of its busiest streets in a star-shaped intersection deemed the transport hub of the entire continent.

These were:. As well as the stations and other facilities and attractions already mentioned, in the immediate area was one of the world's biggest and most luxurious department stores: Wertheim.

It also contained a summer garden, winter garden and roof garden, an enormous restaurant and several smaller eating areas, its own laundry, a theater and concert booking office, its own bank, whose strongrooms were underground at the eastern end of the building and generated their own history decades later , and a large fleet of private delivery vehicles.

In the run-up to Christmas Wertheim was transformed into a fairytale kingdom, and was well known to children from all over Germany and far beyond.

However, in —8 the architect and entrepreneur Carl Stahl-Urach — transformed the whole building into a gastronomic fantasy land, financed and further elaborated upon by new owners the Kempinski organisation.

It reopened on 31 August as the Haus Vaterland, offering "The World in One House," and could now hold up to 8, guests at a time. The rest of the building had been turned into a large number of theme restaurants, all served from a central kitchen containing the largest gas-fueled cooking plant in Europe.

Up to eight orchestras and dance bands regularly performed in different parts of the building, plus a host of singers, dancers and other entertainers.

It should be pointed out here though that not all of these attractions existed simultaneously, owing to changes in those countries that Germany was or was not allied to, in the volatile years leading up to and during World War II , a good example being the closure of the Wild West Bar following America's entry into the war as an enemy of Germany.

Among the major hotels at or near Potsdamer Platz were two designed by the same architect, Otto Rehnig — , and opened in the same year, Two other hotels which shared the same architect, in this case Ludwig Heim — , were the room Hotel Bellevue sometimes known as the "Grand Hotel Bellevue" , built , and the room Palast Hotel , built on the site of an earlier hotel.

The Bellevue was well known for its Winter Garden. The new U-Bahn station was being built at the same time as the hotel and actually ran through the hotel's basement, cutting it in half, thus making the construction of both into something of a technical challenge, but unlike the Wertheim department store and contrary to several sources , the hotel did not enjoy a separate entrance directly from the station.

His son, the wine wholesale dealer William "Willy" Huth — , took over the business in and, a few years later, commissioned the replacement of the building by a new one on the same site.

It was thus given a strong steel skeleton, which would stand the building in very good stead some three decades after its completion.

Famous for its fine claret, numerous members of European society were made welcome there as guests.

A total of 15 chefs were employed there, and Alois Hitler Jr. It had occupied various locations including from till , a site in front of the Berlin City Palace , before moving to Potsdamer Platz in the latter year.

Among the many beer palaces around Potsdamer Platz were two in particular which contained an extensive range of rooms and halls covering a large area.

After closing in , it underwent a revamp before reopening in under the new name Bayernhof. Originally intended to be a concert venue until concerns were raised about increased traffic problems in the already congested streets, it was ruled that it should serve a gastronomic purpose only.

Altogether it could accommodate 4, guests at a time, 1, of these in its main hall alone. In the Vox-group had taken over the building and the following year commissioned its remodelling by Swiss architect Rudolf Otto Salvisberg — , and then erected two transmitting antennae.

Despite several upgrades between December and July , the nearby Hotel Esplanade's formidable bulk prevented the transmitter from functioning effectively and so in December it was superseded by a better sited new one, but Vox-Haus lived on as the home of Germany's first radio station, Radiostunde Berlin , founded in , renamed Funkstunde in March , but it moved to a new home in and closed in In addition, the former Millionaires' Quarter just to the west of Potsdamer Platz had become a much favoured location for other countries to site their embassies.

By the early s there were so many diplomats living and working in the area that it came to be redesignated the "Diplomatic Quarter".

By , 37 out of 52 embassies and legations in Berlin, and 28 out of 29 consulates, were situated here. The first traffic light tower in Germany was erected at Potsdamer Platz on 20 October and went into service on December in an attempt to control the sheer volume of traffic passing through.

This traffic had grown to extraordinary levels. Even in , more than , people, 20, cars, horse-drawn vehicles and handcarts, plus many thousands of bicycles, passed through the platz daily.

By the s the number of cars had soared to 60, The trams added greatly to this. The first four lines had appeared in , rising to 13 by , all horse-drawn, but after electrification between and the number of lines had soared to 35 by and ultimately reached 40, carrying between them trams every hour, day and night.

Services were run by a large number of companies. After most of the tram companies joined. Finally in all communal traffic companies Underground, Tram and Buses were unified into the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe Berlin Transport Services company.

At the Potsdamer Platz up to 11 policemen at a time had tried to control all this traffic but with varying success. The delays in tram traffic increased and the job was very dangerous for the policemen.

Berlin traffic experts visits colleagues Paris, London and New York. They had to organize the traffic, define traffic rules and select a solution to control the traffic.

Freedlander in which can be regarded as a model for the Berlin tower. The Potsdamer Platz five-sided 8. A solitary policeman sat in a small cabin at the top of the tower and switched the lights around manually, until they were automated in Yet some officers still remained on the ground in case people did not pay any attention to the lights.

The tower remained until October , when it was removed to allow for excavations for the new S-Bahn underground line.

On 26 September , a replica of the tower was erected, just for show, close to its original location by Siemens, to celebrate the company's th anniversary.

The replica was moved again on 29 September , to the place where it stands today. The traffic problems that had blighted Potsdamer Platz for decades continued to be a big headache, despite the new lights, and these led to a strong desire to solve them once and for all.

By now Berlin was a major centre of innovation in many different fields including architecture. In addition, the city's colossal pace of change compared by some to that of Chicago [5] , had caused its chief planner, Martin Wagner — , to foresee the entire centre being made over totally as often as every 25 years.

On the cards was an almost total redevelopment of the area. One design submitted by Wagner himself comprised an array of gleaming new buildings arranged around a vast multi-level system of fly-overs and underpasses, with a huge glass-roofed circular car-park in the middle.

Unfortunately the worldwide Great Depression of the time, triggered by the Wall Street Crash of , meant that most of the plans remained on the drawing board.

Columbushaus was the result of a plan by the French retail company Les Galeries Lafayette , whose flagship store was the legendary Galeries Lafayette in Paris, to open a counterpart in Berlin, on the Grand Hotel Belle Vue's former site, but financial worries made them pull out.

Undaunted, the architect, Erich Mendelsohn — , erected vast advertising boards around the perimeter of the site, and the revenue generated by these enabled him to proceed with the development anyway.

Columbushaus was a ten-storey ultra-modern office building, years ahead of its time, containing Germany's first artificial ventilation system, and whose elegance and clean lines won it much praise.

However, despite a Woolworths store on its ground floor, a major travel company housed on the floor above, and a restaurant offering fine views over the city from the top floor, the economic situation of the time meant that it would not be followed by more buildings in that vein: no further redevelopment in the immediate vicinity of Potsdamer Platz occurred prior to World War II, and so Columbushaus would always seem out of place in that location.

Nevertheless, its exact position showed that the platz was starting to be opened out: the former hotel had mostly stood on a large flagged area laid out in front of it, indicating that the new building curved away from the existing street line; this would have enabled future street widening to take place.

Columbushaus was completed and opened in January , the same month that the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler — came to power.

Hitler had big plans for Berlin, to transform it into the Welthauptstadt World Capital Germania , to be realised by his architect friend Albert Speer — Under these plans the immediate vicinity of Potsdamer Platz would have got off fairly lightly, although the Potsdamer Bahnhof and the Anhalter Bahnhof a short distance away would have lost their function.

The new North-South Axis , the linchpin of the scheme, would have severed their approach tracks, leaving both termini stranded on the wrong side of it.

All trains arriving in Berlin would have run into either of two vast new stations located on the Ringbahn to the north and south of the centre respectively, to be known as Nordbahnhof North Station and Südbahnhof South Station , located at Wedding and Südkreuz.

In Speer's plan the former Anhalter Bahnhof was earmarked to become a public swimming pool; the intended fate of the Potsdamer Bahnhof has not been documented.

The eastern half of the former Millionaires' Quarter, including Stüler's Matthiaskirche, would have been totally eradicated.

New U-Bahn and S-Bahn lines were planned to run directly beneath almost the whole length of the axis, and the city's entire underground network reoriented to gravitate towards this new hub at least one tunnel section, around metres in length, was actually constructed and still exists today, buried some 20 metres beneath the Tiergarten, despite having never seen a train.

This was in addition to the S-Bahn North-South Link beneath Potsdamer Platz itself, which went forward to completion, opening in stages in Here Albert Speer erected Hitler's enormous new Reichskanzlei building, and yet even this was little more than a dry run for an even larger structure some distance further away.

Meanwhile, the Nazi influence was no less evident at Potsdamer Platz than anywhere else in Berlin.

As well as swastika flags and propaganda everywhere, Nazi-affiliated concerns occupied a great many buildings in the area, especially Columbushaus, where they took over most of the upper floors.

Sunday Newspaper , the N. Probably Potsdamer Platz's most prominent landmark in the mids, the sign first appears in photographs dated but was gone again by On an even darker note, those Nazi concerns included the Gestapo , who set up a secret prison in an upper part of the building, complete with interrogation and torture rooms.

Meanwhile, in another part of the building, the Information Office of the Olympic Games Organising Committee was housed. Here much of the planning of the Berlin Summer Olympic Games took place.

As was the case in most of central Berlin, [6] almost all of the buildings around Potsdamer Platz were turned to rubble by air raids and heavy artillery bombardment during the last years of World War II.

The three most destructive raids out of that the city suffered , [7] occurred on 23 November , and 3 and 26 February Once the bombing and shelling had largely ceased, the ground invasion began as Soviet forces stormed the centre of Berlin street by street, building by building, aiming to capture the Reich Chancellery and other key symbols of the Nazi government.

When the city was divided into sectors by the occupying Allies at the end of the war, the square found itself on the boundary between the American, British and Soviet sectors.

Despite all the devastation, commercial life reappeared in the ruins around Potsdamer Platz within just a few weeks of war's end. The lower floors of a few buildings were patched up enough to allow business of a sort to resume.

The U-Bahn and S-Bahn were partially operational again from 2 June , fully from 16 November although repairs were not completed until May and trams by Part of the Haus Vaterland reopened in in a much simplified form.

The new East German state-owned retail business H. Handelsorganisation , meaning Trading Organisation , had seized almost all of Wertheim's former assets in the newly created German Democratic Republic but, unable to start up the giant Leipziger Platz store again it was too badly damaged , it opened a new Kaufhaus department store on the ground floor of Columbushaus.

Out on the streets, even the flower-sellers, for whom the area had once been renowned, were doing brisk business again.

The area around Potsdamer Platz had also become a focus for black market trading. Since the American, British and Soviet Occupation Zones converged there, people theoretically only had to walk a few paces across sector boundaries to avoid the respective police officials.

Meanwhile, friction between the Western Allies and Soviets was steadily rising. The Soviets even took to marking out their border by stationing armed soldiers along it at intervals of a few metres, day and night, in all weathers.

Since there was not, as yet, a fixed marker, the borders were prone to abuse, which eventually resulted in August , in white lines in luminous paint appearing across roads and even through ruined buildings to try to deter the Soviets from making unauthorised incursions into the American and British zones.

These measures were only partially successful: after further skirmishes in which shots were fired, barbed wire entanglements were stretched across some roads, a foretaste of things to come.

Remembering the effective use of propaganda in the leadup to the second World War , the opposing camps later began berating one another with enormous signs displaying loud political slogans, facing each other across the border zone.

That on the western side was erected first, in direct response to the ban on sales of Western newspapers in East Berlin, and comprised an illuminated display board 30 m wide and 1.

Important messages were spelt out on the display board using up to 2, bulbs. The sign was switched on for the first time on 10 October , watched by a large crowd.

A month later, on 18 November, the Communist authorities in the east ordered its destruction using a catapult made from a compressed air hose loaded with pebbles and small pieces of metal.

However, the order was not executed and the sign lasted until , an eventual victim of its own high maintenance costs.

Not to be outdone, East Berlin had meanwhile erected a sign of its own. This was up and running by 25 November , less than seven weeks after its western counterpart, albeit for a much shorter time period.

It was demolished on 29 January What was not apparent from the western side however, was that East Berlin's construction boasted its own illuminated display board facing east, whose messages comprised the version of the news that the Communist authorities in the east wanted their citizens to believe.

More significantly, living and working conditions in East Germany were rapidly worsening under Communist rule. There are 55 known victims, [10] but other estimates state at least It was also claimed that 17 or 18 Soviet soldiers were executed for refusing to shoot demonstrating workers, [12] but this remains unconfirmed by post research.

Columbushaus, with its H. This time, they were not rehabilitated. As Cold War tensions rose still further during the s, restrictions were placed on travel between the Soviet sector East Berlin and the western sectors West Berlin.

For the second time in its history, the Potsdam Gate or what remained of it , was like a dividing line between two different worlds. Lying on this invisible frontier, Potsdamer Platz was no longer an important destination for Berliners.

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As was the case in most of central Berlin, [6] almost all of the buildings around Potsdamer Platz were turned to rubble by air raids and heavy artillery bombardment during the last years of World War II.

The three most destructive raids out of that the city suffered , [7] occurred on 23 November , and 3 and 26 February Once the bombing and shelling had largely ceased, the ground invasion began as Soviet forces stormed the centre of Berlin street by street, building by building, aiming to capture the Reich Chancellery and other key symbols of the Nazi government.

When the city was divided into sectors by the occupying Allies at the end of the war, the square found itself on the boundary between the American, British and Soviet sectors.

Despite all the devastation, commercial life reappeared in the ruins around Potsdamer Platz within just a few weeks of war's end. The lower floors of a few buildings were patched up enough to allow business of a sort to resume.

The U-Bahn and S-Bahn were partially operational again from 2 June , fully from 16 November although repairs were not completed until May and trams by Part of the Haus Vaterland reopened in in a much simplified form.

The new East German state-owned retail business H. Handelsorganisation , meaning Trading Organisation , had seized almost all of Wertheim's former assets in the newly created German Democratic Republic but, unable to start up the giant Leipziger Platz store again it was too badly damaged , it opened a new Kaufhaus department store on the ground floor of Columbushaus.

Out on the streets, even the flower-sellers, for whom the area had once been renowned, were doing brisk business again. The area around Potsdamer Platz had also become a focus for black market trading.

Since the American, British and Soviet Occupation Zones converged there, people theoretically only had to walk a few paces across sector boundaries to avoid the respective police officials.

Meanwhile, friction between the Western Allies and Soviets was steadily rising. The Soviets even took to marking out their border by stationing armed soldiers along it at intervals of a few metres, day and night, in all weathers.

Since there was not, as yet, a fixed marker, the borders were prone to abuse, which eventually resulted in August , in white lines in luminous paint appearing across roads and even through ruined buildings to try to deter the Soviets from making unauthorised incursions into the American and British zones.

These measures were only partially successful: after further skirmishes in which shots were fired, barbed wire entanglements were stretched across some roads, a foretaste of things to come.

Remembering the effective use of propaganda in the leadup to the second World War , the opposing camps later began berating one another with enormous signs displaying loud political slogans, facing each other across the border zone.

That on the western side was erected first, in direct response to the ban on sales of Western newspapers in East Berlin, and comprised an illuminated display board 30 m wide and 1.

Important messages were spelt out on the display board using up to 2, bulbs. The sign was switched on for the first time on 10 October , watched by a large crowd.

A month later, on 18 November, the Communist authorities in the east ordered its destruction using a catapult made from a compressed air hose loaded with pebbles and small pieces of metal.

However, the order was not executed and the sign lasted until , an eventual victim of its own high maintenance costs.

Not to be outdone, East Berlin had meanwhile erected a sign of its own. This was up and running by 25 November , less than seven weeks after its western counterpart, albeit for a much shorter time period.

It was demolished on 29 January What was not apparent from the western side however, was that East Berlin's construction boasted its own illuminated display board facing east, whose messages comprised the version of the news that the Communist authorities in the east wanted their citizens to believe.

More significantly, living and working conditions in East Germany were rapidly worsening under Communist rule.

There are 55 known victims, [10] but other estimates state at least It was also claimed that 17 or 18 Soviet soldiers were executed for refusing to shoot demonstrating workers, [12] but this remains unconfirmed by post research.

Columbushaus, with its H. This time, they were not rehabilitated. As Cold War tensions rose still further during the s, restrictions were placed on travel between the Soviet sector East Berlin and the western sectors West Berlin.

For the second time in its history, the Potsdam Gate or what remained of it , was like a dividing line between two different worlds. Lying on this invisible frontier, Potsdamer Platz was no longer an important destination for Berliners.

Similarly, neither East Berlin nor West Berlin regarded their half as a priority area for redevelopment, seeking instead to distance themselves from the traditional heart of the city and develop two new centres for themselves, well away from the troubled border zone.

West Berlin inevitably chose the Kurfürstendamm and the area around the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church , while East Berlin built up Alexanderplatz and turned Frankfurter Allee which they renamed Stalinallee in , Karl-Marx-Allee in , into their own showpiece boulevard.

Potsdamer Platz, meanwhile, was more or less left to rot, as one by one the ruined buildings were cleared away, neither side having the will to repair or replace them.

On the western side things did improve later on with the development of the Cultural Forum , whose site roughly equates with the former Millionaires' Quarter.

With the construction of the Berlin Wall on 13 August , along the intracity frontier, Potsdamer Platz now found itself physically divided in two. What had once been a busy intersection had become totally desolate.

With the clearance of most of the remaining bomb-damaged buildings on both sides on the eastern side, this was done chiefly to give border guards a clear view of would-be escapees and an uninterrupted line of fire , little was left in an area of dozens of hectares.

Further demolitions occurred up until when the Haus Vaterland finally disappeared. A short distance away stood portions of the former Hotel Esplanade , including the Kaisersaal , used at various times as a much scaled-down hotel, cinema, nightclub and occasional film-set scenes from Cabaret were shot there.

Apart from these, no other buildings remained. Below ground, the U-Bahn section through Potsdamer Platz had closed entirely; although the S-Bahn line itself remained open, it suffered from a quirk of geography in that it briefly passed through East German territory en route from one part of West Berlin to another.

Consequently, Potsdamer Platz S-Bahn station became the most infamous of several Geisterbahnhofe ghost stations , through which trains ran without stopping, its previously bustling platforms now decrepit, sealed off from the outside world, and patrolled by armed guards.

During its 28 years in limbo, Potsdamer Platz exuded a strange fascination towards many people on the western side, especially tourists and also visiting politicians and heads of state.

An observation platform had been erected, primarily for military personnel and police but used increasingly by members of the public, so that they could gaze over the Wall at the wilderness beyond.

Meanwhile, among the many V. Senator Robert F. Charles, Prince of Wales 3 November , U. President Jimmy Carter 15 July , and U. Vice President later President George H.

Bush George Bush Senior 1 February In one scene an old man named Homer, played by actor Curt Bois , searches in vain for Potsdamer Platz, but finds only rubble, weeds and the graffiti -covered Berlin Wall.

The movie thus gives a good impression of the surroundings at the time, which are completely unlike what can be seen today.

After the initial opening of the Berlin Wall on 9 November , Potsdamer Platz became one of the earliest locations where the Wall was "breached" to create a new border crossing between East and West Berlin.

The crossing began operating on 11 November , earlier than the iconic Brandenburg Gate crossing which opened more than a month later.

The crossing required the dismantling of both the inner and outer walls and the clearance of the death zone or no man's land between the two.

A temporary road, lined with barriers, was created across this zone and checkpoints were set up just inside East German territory. Proper dismantling of the entire wall began on 15 May and all border checks were abolished on 1 July as East Germany joined West Germany in a currency union.

On 21 July , ex- Pink Floyd member Roger Waters staged a gigantic charity concert of his former band's rock extravaganza The Wall to commemorate the end of the division between East and West Germany.

It was preparations for this concert, rather than historical interest, that brought about the first detailed post-Cold War survey of the area with a view to determining what, if anything, was left of Hitler's bunker and any other underground installations.

Potsdamer Platz in , with the replica of Germany's first traffic lights. In the background stands the Beisheim Centre. On the left side is the Bahn-Tower and on the right side the Kollhoff-Tower.

Entrance hall one of two of the new underground regional train station Bahnhof Potsdamer Platz in It also gives access to the S-Bahn and the basement level food floor of the Arkaden shopping mall.

After , the square became the focus of attention again, as a large some 60 hectares , attractive location which had suddenly become available in the centre of a major European city.

It was widely seen as one of the hottest, most exciting building sites in Europe, and the subject of much debate amongst architects and planners.

If Berlin needed to re-establish itself on the world stage, then Potsdamer Platz was one of the key areas where the city had an opportunity to express itself.

More than just a building site, Potsdamer Platz was a statement of intent. In particular, due to its location straddling the erstwhile border between east and west, it was widely perceived as a "linking element," reconnecting the two-halves of the city in a way that was symbolic as well as physical, helping to heal the historical wounds by providing an exciting new mecca attracting Berliners from both sides of the former divide.

Whether fairly or unfairly, a great deal was riding on the project, and expectations were high. The Berlin Senate city government organised a design competition for the redevelopment of Potsdamer Platz and much of the surrounding area.

They had to fight off some stiff competition though, including a last-minute entry by British architect Richard Rogers.

During the building phase Potsdamer Platz was the largest building site in Europe. While the resulting development is impressive in its scale and confidence, the quality of its architecture has been praised and criticised in almost equal measure.

A major development bordering the west side of the former Potsdamer Bahnhof site, some of its 19 individual buildings were then erected by other architects, who submitted their own designs while maintaining Piano's key elements.

One of these was Richard Rogers, who played a part in the development after all his great British rival, Norman Foster , was putting the new dome on the Reichstag at about the same time.

The first spade at the start of the Daimler-Benz development was turned by the Mayor of Berlin , Eberhard Diepgen , on 11 October , and the finished complex was officially opened by the Federal President of Germany , Roman Herzog , on 2 October , in a glittering ceremony featuring large-scale celebrations and musical performances.

The 19 buildings include the offices of Daimler-Benz themselves actually their subsidiary debis , whose storey main tower rises to metres and is the tallest building in the new Potsdamer Platz development , also offices of the major British professional services company PricewaterhouseCoopers , Berliner Volksbank Germany's largest cooperative bank , and the remarkable storey, metre-high Potsdamer Platz No.

Potsdamer Platz No. Unfortunately the Kollhoff Tower's facade needed major repairs due to water penetration and frost damage just seven years after completion, and was under scaffolding for many months.

Its storey, metre-high "Bahn Tower" is so named because it houses the corporate headquarters of Deutsche Bahn AG , the German state railway system.

Surviving parts of the former Hotel Esplanade have been incorporated into the north side of the Sony development, including the Kaisersaal which, in a complex and costly operation in March , was moved in one piece all 1, tonnes of it , some 75 metres from its former location, to the spot that it occupies today it even had to make two right-angled turns during the journey, while maintaining its own orientation.

This, like the Kaisersaal, had to be relocated, but here the room was dismantled into some pieces to be reassembled where it stands now. A keen lover of classical music, he had helped to choose the site because of its close proximity to the orchestra's home in the Cultural Forum.

The fourth part is the Park Kolonnaden , a range of buildings running down the east side of the Potsdamer Bahnhof site, parallelling Daimler-Benz.

This complex occupies the site of the former Haus Vaterland, and its principal building, which for a few years was the headquarters of the large German trade union ver.

Other developments, more piecemeal in nature, have recreated the octagonal layout of neighbouring Leipziger Platz immediately to the east. One of these is Kanada Haus , the new Embassy of Canada, on the platz's north-west diagonal.

The whole project was subject to much controversy from the start; not everyone approves of how the district was commercialised and replanned.

The decision by the Berlin Senate to divide the land between just four investors — while numerous others had submitted bids — provoked scepticism.

The remarkably low price Daimler-Benz paid to secure their plot prompted questions from the Berlin Auditor -General's office and the European Union in Brussels, which resulted in Daimler-Benz being billed an additional sum.

There were wrangles over land-usage: although a central feature of the Daimler-Benz development is a top shopping mall — the Arkaden Arcades , this did not form part of the plans until the Berlin Senate belatedly insisted that a shopping mall be included.

Despite its undoubted success, this in turn led to what many saw as an "Americanisation" of the area, with even its private security force being kitted out in something resembling New York Police uniforms.

Further wrangles effectively brought work on the north side of Leipziger Platz to a complete stop for several years; even now there are some "fake facades" where completed new buildings should be, while a long-running dispute over who owned the Wertheim department store site or had claims to the revenue from its sale by the government , left another large gap in the central Berlin cityscape that is only now finally being redeveloped.

However, this development brought about the demise after several stays of execution , of the legendary Tresor nightclub and centre for techno music.

In spite of the controversy, the rebuilt Potsdamer Platz now attracts around 70, visitors a day, rising to , at weekends, and some critics have been surprised by the success of the new quarter.

At almost any time of the day, the place is alive with people. It is a particularly popular attraction for visitors: the "Arkaden" shopping mall is metres in length and contains shops and restaurants on three levels giving a total sales floor area of approx.

It was also very popular with film fans, as it had three cinemas with nearly 30 screens, including an IMAX screen, showing many films in their original versions especially English-language films , plus a film academy and a film museum.

There is also a 1,seater theatre, the "Theater am Potsdamer Platz," which doubles up as another cinema the "Berlinale Palast" for two weeks during the Berlin International Film Festival and serves as the principal venue of the festival.

This venue sits above a popular night-spot: the "Adagio Nightlife," located entirely underground. After major refurbishment, the S-Bahn line and station reopened on 1 March , followed by the U-Bahn on 13 November An additional station on the U-Bahn, called Mendelssohn-Bartholdy-Park , was opened immediately north of the Landwehrkanal on 1 October A new U-Bahn station has also been built at Potsdamer Platz itself, although a decision is still pending on whether to proceed with completion of the line passing through it; in the meantime the station area serves as an impromptu art gallery and exhibition space.

A new underground main-line station or Regionalbahnhof Bahnhof Potsdamer Platz has also been constructed, opened on 26 July There are also plans to reintroduce trams to Potsdamer Platz.

In addition, many bus routes pass through the platz, while for people with their own cars there are some 5, parking spaces, 3, of which are underground.

The annual Berlin Marathon , which takes place in the last weekend of September, was first held in but due to the division of the city was confined to West Berlin up till and including Beginning in the course was re-routed into part of East Berlin, and in a further adjustment meant that the course has since run through Potsdamer Platz.

Typically the leaders will pass through the platz about ten minutes before they cross the finish line. Another annual tradition that began in West Berlin in and was re-routed into the east via Potsdamer Platz following German reunification is the Weihnachtszug Christmas train.

It now does a regular two-hour round trip at weekends in the run-up to Christmas for families with children, starting and finishing at the Potsdamer Platz S-Bahn station.

It did not run in or due to equipment problems, but is expected to be operational again in On 2 March , a statue by the Berlin artist Alexander Polzin dedicated to Italian philosopher, priest, cosmologist , and occultist Giordano Bruno — , was erected inside one of the entrances to the Potsdamer Platz Regionalbahnhof.

Whilst on the surface the new Potsdamer Platz appears so far to have lived up to its expectations as a futuristic centre of commerce at the heart of Europe's youngest capital city, there has been much debate as to just how successful it really is.

Certainly its long term success and viability have become much harder to judge since the recent worldwide economic downturn, a situation compounded by the actions of its two principal owner-occupiers.

Daimler and Sony caused a major surprise on 2 October when both announced that they were putting their respective complexes at Potsdamer Platz on the market.

Whilst neither intended to move out, both felt it preferable to rent the space from new owners rather than continue to be the owners themselves and so be responsible for the buildings' upkeep and maintenance.

Daimler had recently come through a painful separation from their former American subsidiary Chrysler and needed a quick injection of cash in order to refocus on automotive production.

The announcement came on the ninth anniversary of their complex's official opening, a fact not lost on many people.

Sony meanwhile, put their decision down to a need to review their global strategy in the face of a fast-changing worldwide economic climate.

The implications for Potsdamer Platz were ominous, with suggestions that overall confidence in the project was faltering, and more pessimistic claims that the development had largely failed in its original intentions.

On 28 February , Sony made a similar announcement, of impending sale to a consortium led by American investment banking giant now bank holding company Morgan Stanley.

Both deals were finalised by the end of March Whilst the amounts involved have not been publicly disclosed, it is believed that neither Daimler nor Sony recouped all of their original investments what Daimler managed to get was reportedly well short.

The long-term benefits or otherwise of these sales, remain to be seen, but whilst they may have baffled many people at the time, they may turn out to have been a shrewd move, as Daimler and Sony have avoided being saddled with something they might have found much harder to sell at a later date, just when they needed the cash the most.

It is unarguable that the development is a considerable commercial success at street level. The numbers of shoppers visiting the Arkaden, guests passing through the doors of the many bars, cafes and restaurants, theatres and cinemas, hotels and casino not to mention passengers thronging the platforms of the stations , all point to a thriving focal point right at the very heart of Berlin.

Detractors however, may draw attention to the floors above and point out the high percentage of office and residential space that allegedly still stands empty more than a decade after its completion.

Although examples of "over-provision" like this can be found all over Berlin, it is Potsdamer Platz that, rightly or wrongly, has been used to highlight the problem.

The other major sticking point, which is reportedly causing concern at government level, is that the majority of people going to Potsdamer Platz are visitors to the city, implying that the original vision of the development as a linking element attracting Berliners themselves, and Berliners from both sides of the former divide, has not really materialised.

Another, more psychological factor that has played a part here is that a long-standing mutual distrust or antipathy felt between former East Berliners and West Berliners Ossis and Wessis according to the well-known slang terms , is still very much in evidence in the city and elsewhere in Germany, and bold civil engineering projects and architectural statements are not going to make it go away by themselves.

Politicians past and present have been accused of short-sightedness in speculating that they would. It was feared that the economic downturn might exacerbate all these problems.

On the whole, however, Potsdamer Platz seems to have weathered the storm. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn AG were due to relocate to a purpose-built new structure at Berlin's new main train station Berlin Hauptbahnhof , when the lease on the Sony Center's Bahn Tower expired in However, in April Deutsche Bahn announced that they were seeking to extend the lease on the Bahn Tower by another three years.

This deal was finalised in late Since then the lease has been extended to 15 years. The last remnants were removed in However, due to its location on the north-south route to the main station, parallel to the aboveground buildings, it was also connected to the regional traffic with a tunnel station.

Via numerous bus lines, the course can also be reached. In the north-south direction, another S-Bahn line planning name: S21 , in particular for better public transport development of the main station, to be built in the long term.

Smaller streets within the individual quarters provide for the connection of the underground parking garages.

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A view from the West Berlin side on the 25th anniversary of the Wall. Workers clearing the square for a new border crossing, November

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