Even though Berlin’s Eisfabrik (Ice Factory) has National Heritage status, it’s already in the process of being demolished. Some of the surrounding cold stores have already been demolished in January 2011. Regular commuters between Kreuzberg and Mitte, or frequenters of Berlin’s Sage Club, Tresor or KaterHolzig clubs have witnessed the decline of these abandoned buildings for years. According to the Irish Berliner, the ice factory is “one of Germany’s oldest, which managed to survive two world wars, several fires and countless parties but is about to meet its fate at the hands of developers to make way for luxury apartments.”
On the fringe of Berlin’s Gallery Week-End, Robert Montgomery’s “The City is Wilder” was officially revealed to the public last 24 April. Railroad commuters, clubbers, and pedestrians can admire the 41-year-old Scottish born artist’s latest work no matter what they’re doing: traveling, clubbing or just passing by. (more…)
Designed by the renown German architect Ludwig Hoffmann, Stattbad (formerly Sadtbad Wedding) – which has nothing to do with marriage but refers to a public swimming pool in one of Berlin northern districts – hosts something that is quite different from its original conception. Built in 1907, the building was supposed to meet a sanitation need for a poorly-equipped workers neighborhood nearby. The architectural design consisted of two pools, officially called “large” and “small.” The first one was strictly dedicated to men’s bathing, whereas women were only admitted in the second one. (more…)
No matter how “multicultural” or “mixed” the German capital may often be described as in the media, Berlin’s ethnic reality for the average pedestrian does not inevitably evoke the idea of a big melting pot like New York, London or Paris. But if one listens closely, the colloquial nickname for the street Kantstraße, “Kantonstraße”, is the first indication of a deeper story.
Beyond the Turkish neighbourhoods (Kreuzberg, Neukölln, Moabit, Wedding) that are now part of Berlin’s main attractions, few people know that Berlin has one of Europe’s largest Asian communities. Even more interesting is that this settlement began when the city was still divided, on both sides of the Wall.
The first Chinese visitors in Berlin arrived in the 1820s and the first Chinese settlements began in the 1920s, but it is in Berlin’s post-war history that the actual development of the Asian community began. A large number of Vietnamese workers – and a few Chinese – came to work in East Berlin’s factories (known as contract workers or Vertragsarbeiter), whereas Chinese, Thai and South Vietnamese migrants came to West Berlin. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, some Vietnamese from East Berlin came to the western part of the city in the hopes of improving their situation, and the community steadily grew in the area. (more…)