The latest shot in the war over what gets built next to Mauerpark has been fired – and it’s pretty effective. Anti-development activists have created an animated 3D model of the proposed construction in the “Brunnenviertel”, a slice of land in Wedding bordering the northern end of Mauerpark.
To a dramatic, threatening soundtrack, menacing red blocks rise from the ground like some sort of alien force. The fortress-like buildings loom over the innocent little Jugendfarm Moritzhof (a loveable children’s “farm” and petting zoo), literally casting a shadow over this currently idyllic corner of Berlin.
In October, the investor Klaus Groth, a long-time member of this city’s real estate mafia with plenty of scandals under his belt, spammed 60,000 households in Prenzlauer Berg and Wedding with flyers promising “A park for everyone”, outlining the Groth Gruppe’s €150 million plan for 650 flats, including 200 “student apartments” and 140 “affordable” flats.
Critics point out that the “affordable” flats will be built next the train tracks on the north side, the perfect sound barrier protecting the high-end condominiums planned further south. Mauerpark activists say that the Groth plan ignores all of their concerns, for example the proximity of the building to the edge of the park. The fight to organise a referendum on the matter, as with Tempelhof, continues. And yet: time is running out. Construction is slated to begin by summer 2015.
Social issues aside, the Groth plan for the “Brunnenviertel” is simply ugly and promises just more of the blocky, vaguely neo-classical architecture that has plagued Berlin since reunification. Zero innovation, zero imagination, zero soul. One more nail in the coffin of Berlin as the “creative” hub of Europe.