And we were in for a surprise, since we had actually two destinations on our list:
- Central train station
- Refurbished department store at Alexander Platz
While the train station is quite a futuristic beauty (corporate shitheads of Deutsche Bundesbahn fucked up the desing considerably, but still: Impressive) the department store has a disturbing 1930ies fascism-is-modernism air around it.
Other than that, it is hard to tell the difference: Basically both places are malls and one of them has tracks as an additional benefit. We did look hard but could not find any of the social services we still - old school guys that we are- associate with a place that serves the passengers of 900 trains on a daily bases. This is an all corporate institution cut off from the city in the middle of nowhere, hardly fits our definition of a central european trainstation connecting Paris to Moscow. And yes, dear reader, you are right: If this image reminds you of an airport, that is what was guiding the planning process. Great architecture with no real use value for the urban population.
Same is true for the department store: If you ever feel the urgent need for a truffle grater in Berlin, this is the place to go. They also throw some balsamico for 40 EURO (tiny bottle) into the bargain and they have quite a few impressive whisky(e)s [although no selfrespecting carribean bum would consider to drink any of the rums]!
That said, both events where a major success with the general public and both openeings contributed considerably to the reconfiguration of the urban hierachy in Berlin.
Michael Dear told us in late 1990ies that urban planning as we knew it is pretty much dead in Berlin. We agree but feel inclined to add, that local urban planning also smells rather funny and talks in even stranger ways - come to think of it - like a zombie.
Both events proofed that urban planning has become a corporate affair. Public institutions are reduced to clean up the mess the uneven movement of capital in space leaves behind - for them to clean.
Thats not even sad, but pathetic.