Ramble On

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Whatever Happened to Flughafen Tempelhof? Part 4

Here's an image of the planned park at Tempelhof, from the Frietheit Tempelhof website (linked in post).

Since the publication of my friend’s book Last Flight from Tempelhof  (mentioned in the post yesterday with an accompanying link to Amazon), I have tried to keep an eye out for new press about the plans for redeveloping the old airport, and for what it might become.  Even though the airport was reopened as a park in 2010, the news had been pretty hard to come by – at least until I started searching for some information last month.

The first item I found was a small posting that summarized the award of a contract to two Scottish design firms for planning.  The text of that post and similar press releases outlined that the contract was valued at 60M Euros and due for completion in 2017.  The firms were identified as Gross Max and Sutherland Hussey.
Here's the proposed map of the park.  Honestly - it doesn't look much different than it did in my days there - 1981-1986.
All the posts highlighted a desire to keep the airfield as open space, with plenty of opportunities for recreation; even retaining the old runways.  It’s as if the architects recognize how unique and important their assignment is – after all, the airfield has a significant history.

I was fascinated to find that there was a group of people who were against any future use of the airfield in this way.  There is a link here, which claims that all veterans of the airlift were against it: 

Having been stationed there, as I mentioned, for five years, I find this position hard to believe.  The property is an incredible resource for the city of Berlin, and its reuse in this way will be very respectful of what went on there before.

Here's a reminder of the events that were held there in the old days.  I was part of the crowd in the center back of the apron here, where the cluster of little white rooftops show where we would sell snacks for fundraisers.

Possibly the best resource of all the links I found is the homepage of the new park – that is at:

Especially of interest there is the information offered about the plan for the new park:

The present form of the open space is a transitional stage and starting-point for what will be an ongoing development process. From this space, once used only for airport operations, publicly developed, multi-use, structured urban parkland will gradually arise.

The organization of the International Horticultural Exhibition Berlin 2017 will be a particular milestone on the way to creation of the new park landscape, and will be an important engine in the overall development of "Tempelhofer Freiheit".

There are a number of tabs on the page with information about the plan, and renderings of how the new park might look when it is complete.  I’ve pasted some images from there into this post, in fact.  It also list the six themes for the park's reuse,all of which honor the place's history - in my opinion, anyway:

  • Stage for the new
  • Clean future technologies
  • Knowledge and learning
  • Sports and health
  • Dialog of religions
  • Neighborhood integration

When I read about the plan for the Horticultural Exhibition – I told Mary about it.  As a result, I’ve started planning my next visit back for that event in 2017.  If we don’t go back sooner, that is!

I’ll close this series for now with a final link to a 2011 article that appeared in Der Spiegel magazine about the park.  There are also some images in a slideshow that accompanies this article: 

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