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Berlin: Towers Galore at Alexanderplatz

As many as four rather high towers are supposed to be erected at Berlin’s Alexanderplatz. Some new architecture could enhance the square’s appeal. Now, an argument about the height of one of those buildings has erupted.

Berlin, July 14th, 2021 (The Berlin Spectator) — Berlin is not Manhattan. It is not Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur or Tokyo either. Berlin is Berlin. One of the German capital’s traits is the fact that it does not really have many skyscrapers, or none at all. It depends on the definition. If a skyscraper is at least 100 meters (328 feet) high, the German capital has eleven of them. If the other popular definition applies, according to which a building qualifies as a skyscraper if it is at least 150 meters (492 feet) high, Berlin does not have any. At least not yet.

High, Higher, the Highest

The ‘BfA-Hochhaus’ and ‘Die Pyramide’ in Berlin’s Wilmersdorf and Marzahn boroughs are exactly 100 meters (328 feet) high. Not bad, right? Well, those buildings would be pretty impressive if the ‘Kudamm Karree’ in Charlottenburg wasn’t 102 meters (335 feet) high. Wait. It gets better: The ‘Kollhoff-Tower’ and the ‘Bahntower’ in Tiergarten are 103 meters (338 feet) high. The ‘Atrium Tower’ and the ‘Zoofenster’ are another few meters higher.

To make a long story short: There is the ‘Upper West’ with 118.8 meters (390 feet), the Steglitzer Kreisel with a height of 120 meters (394 feet) and two buildings which measure 125 meters (410 feet), namely the ‘Treptowers’ and the ‘Park Inn’ (main photo at top of page) everyone knows because of its location at Alexanderplatz and the prominent logo at its top. The bad news is: None of these buildings qualify for entries in the Guinness Book of World Records. The same applies to at least two of the four highrises that are either in their planning stage or already under construction.

Slicing Off Stories

The investors Signa and Convivio are going to erect rather high towers at Alexanderplatz. They intended to surpass the ‘Park Inn’. But the Berlin Senate’s Construction Director Regula Lüscher convinced them to limit those buildings to around 130 meters (427 feet), according to the RBB radio and television network. That way the television tower, which is the highest construction in all of Germany with a height of 368 meters (1,207 feet), would “still be visible as the crown”, Director Lüscher was quoted as saying.

Hines, a third investment company, is preparing to construct a tower in the same area. They insist on a height of 150 meters (492 feet) because the authorities approved it a while ago, before the planned construction site was moved north by a few meters. Now Regula Lüscher wants to limit them to 130 meters as well. Neither the investors nor Governing Mayor Michael Müller’s Social-Democratic Party (SPD) agree. His coalition partners, the Greens and ‘Die Linke’, on the other hand, do concur with slicing some stories off the Hines tower.

First Residential Skyscraper

Only a few meters south-east of Alexanderplatz, across the street and right next to the ‘Alexa’ shopping mall’s main entrance, other investors, Monarch and Bewocon, are building yet another tower called ‘The Alexander’. With a height of 150 meters (492 feet), this one will definitely be an actual skyscraper. At least so far, nobody has tried to shorten what was announced as “Berlin’s first residential skyscraper”. While the competition will be offering areas for retail businesses and office space, Monarch wants to sell apartments with excellent views.

What all of this means is that Alexanderplatz, which is not exactly the prettiest square on Earth, will look more interesting in a few years from now. Until then, Berlin will have to put up with the mess and noise caused by the construction sites in the area.

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