The grounds of the former slaughterhouse of Berlin lie at the intersection of the Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain and Lichtenberg districts. The central stockyard and slaughterhouse, which was still located outside of the city limits when it opened in 1881, but was soon swallowed up by the expanding city, was one of the largest and most modern facilities in Europe. The halls, which suffered considerable damage during the war, continued to be used in divided Berlin by the Fleisch- und Baustoffversorgungskombinat (meat and building materials combine) until 1990. Following their liquidation, the grounds soon transformed into an industrial wasteland with utilisation taking place in an unorganised and rather random fashion in the ramshackle but cheaply available halls.
A new urban quarter on old foundation walls
In the context of the efforts to quickly transform the formerly divided city back into the capital city of Germany and into an international metropolis, the Senate of Berlin quickly recognised the potential of the slaughterhouse grounds and examined their conversion into an attractive and lively new urban quarter. The present drawings allow a conception of this future usage.
One of the special features of the city of Berlin is its incredible expansion. It grasps far out into the surrounding countryside and its horizon lies far from the viewer. It is a city of many cities. From an industrial wasteland with rudiments of outdated usage, a place with qualities of the historical city arises, which cites its language of form but at the same time transforms it into something new that is based on the old but was not yet able to assert itself. Everything new follows an old need; here it is the vision of a habitable city within the city.
Key was to remember the lost qualities of the historical city of Berlin in the modern transformation: the residential courtyards of the reform apartment buildings of the early 20th century with their park-like facilities, the urban settlements of Bruno Taut, the luxurious façades of the bourgeois apartment building, which allow the exterior to become the dignified interior of the urban residents.