Berlin philharmonie, Hans Sharoun

sous un ciel menaçant, photo Catherine Gras

If you go a little further away from Potsdamer Platz, towards the west, you will arrive at the Kulturforum, a vast esplanade, a bit cold and empty at first sight.

At the end of the war, when Berlin was split in two, a large number of cultural buildings were found in the East, including the famous Museum Island. A first project, dating back to the 1950s, pushed for the creation of a cultural axis that would cross the city from west to east, as far as the Museum Island, but this project was to disappear with the growing tensions between the two blocks. The Kulturforum project thus became the emblem of West Berlin’s cultural reconstruction.

This area south of the Tiergarten and close to the wall will see the construction of several emblematic buildings to which I will devote two posts.

It is difficult to imagine today what this place looked like in the 1950s and 1960s, between the destruction of the war and the construction of the wall: a large empty space, an illustration of the Cold War and the separation of the two countries.

The most striking one, in terms of colour and shape, is the Philharmonic. In fact, it is a group of different buildings, the last addition dating from the 1980s.

The main building of the Philharmonic was built between 1956 and 1963 and Hans Sharoun was the architect together with Werner Weber. A pentagon-shaped structure with two colours: white and gold.

It’s a good place for an architectural-themed photo outing, and hopefully we’ll be able to get in there soon to see it from the inside.

The Berlin library, of which Sharoun is also the architect, is just opposite the philharmonic. It is not really highlighted, a bit cramped in a modern district and moreover renovation works are in progress… In short, it should be reviewed when it comes out of the tarpaulins and scaffolding. It was built a little later, in 1964-78, and at that time it must have been only a few hundred metres from the wall.

To find it:

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