West-Berliner Visionen für eine neue Mitte. Die Internationale Bauausstellung, der »Zentrale Bereich« und die »Geschichtslandschaft« an der Mauer (1981–1985)

Krijn Thijs
2019
The article discusses West Berlin urban planning in the empty city centre along the Wall. In the context of early projects of the IBA (Internationale Bauausstellung), West Berlin's leaders rediscovered the neglected central areas between the Reichstag, the Wall, the Kulturforum and the northern parts of Kreuzberg. Covering the former centre of the Reichshauptstadt, the vacant lots turned out to be highly sensitive ground. From 1981 onwards, urban planners, activists and senate officials
more » ... e officials developed a range of plans for this formless ›urban desert‹ between East and West Berlin. Yet the more the ›central area‹ was debated, studied and visited, the more sacrosanct it became. Questions of identity, memory and the present state of West Berlin were at stake, and many barriers to starting building projects emerged. In the mid-1980s, ›traces‹, ›sites‹ and ›places‹ were ›discovered‹ and protected by many groups and individuals, from history workshops to planners, architects and the political leaders of the enclave. In this way, the cultural domestication of the ›wild‹ lands unintentionally led to the birth of a new and unknown ›memoryscape‹ several years before 1989. To be sure, this West Berlin introspection did not lead to concrete building projects in the ›central area‹. However, it created a vast body of knowledge and meaning marked by the specific situation of the divided city, which suddenly became highly relevant after 1989.
doi:10.14765/zzf.dok-1485 fatcat:ynrj6e26gvdlfhs5wtwasnerwy