Architecture Lab

Berlin’s Architectural Wasteland

Klaus Wowereit, Berlin's mayor since 2001, has watched his city become one of world's coolest artistic meccas. But under his guidance, the city has devolved into a backward-looking architectural wasteland in which urban planning only favors the rich.
Berlin's Architectural Wasteland

Potsdamer Platz

There’s a dirt trail running from Berlin’s main railway station, and it demonstrates how this city works: First, someone comes up with something; then everyone does something completely different; and, finally, the whole thing goes haywire.

In the summer, the dust of eastern Germany‘s March of Brandenburg region whirls through the air, making people cough. In the winter, tourists wrestle their wheeled luggage through a sea of mud, as if they had just landed in Lagos at the height of the rainy season.

Of course, there actually is an official path. It extends from the main railway station — which still looks angular and inelegant, as if it had dropped directly out of the sky — toward the Chancellery, which seems almost touching in its structural presumptuousness. What giant, one wonders, left these huge chunks of concrete lying about?

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