Creative Ideas Stream In for Berlin Airport Reuse

A massive WWII-era airfield in Berlin has been closed down, but city officials are looking for ways to take advantage of the large space. New ideas abound -- from a proposal for a "red light" district to plans for an artificial mountain.
January 23, 2009, 9am PST | Nate Berg
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"Since the end of October, though, the airport has been closed to air traffic, and the city of Berlin has been scratching its head about what to do with the enormous field in the heart of the city."

"Help, though, has arrived. On Monday, the city revealed a dozen of the suggestions -- sent in by hopeful architects and city planners -- currently under consideration. The most titillating? Why not turn the site into an enormous red-light district? "

"Relative to some of the imaginative proposals that didn't make the first cut, though, the "Columbia Strip" is rather practical."

"Like the one sent in by Berlin architect Jakob Tigges. He doesn't like the idea of parcelling up the site and turning it in to the kind of ordinary project that could find a home in one of the other abundant open spaces in the German capital. His idea? Tigges wants to erect a 1,000 meter (3,281 foot) tall mountain on the airfield. 'It's provocative, but not constructive.'"

"After the last American troops left in 1993, Germans reopened an airport using only 10 percent of its expansive space. Then the airport closed last October due to high operating costs. Because it is under historical preservation, Tempelhof won't be demolished in the fashion of other Berlin sites, such as the now-gone capital building of former East Germany. Instead, the government will decide its fate by May of this year."

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Published on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 in Der Spiegel
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