An overgrown wilderness and carefully designed landscape, restorative retreat and versatile open space – a new type of city park has been created at Gleisdreieck. Local residents were involved in developing it from the outset. The 26-hectare Park am Gleisdreieck, made up of eastern and western Ostpark and Westpark sections, has evolved from an inaccessible wasteland to a favourite place for Berliners and tourists of all ages. A green corridor made up of the Nord-Süd-Grünzug, Monumentenplatz, Flaschenhals Park and Park am Gleisdreieck makes it possible to walk, cycle or skate along a continuous system of paths through green spaces from the Natur-Park Südgelände in Schöneberg through the parks around Potsdamer Platz and into the Tiergarten.

From 1874 until it was destroyed in the Second World War, the site was used as freight and mail railyard, and linked to Anhalter Bahnhof and Potsdamer Bahnhof. Before a serious accident in 1912, railway lines intersected here in the form of a triangle or “Dreieck”, from which the area takes its name. Passenger and freight rail services ceased here after 1945 and only S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains continued to cross the former railway yards, which gradually turned into an inaccessible urban wasteland. Various plans for it were made from the 1970s, ranging from construction through to road building, but initiatives by citizens who regarded it as ideal as an urgently-needed recreational space, successfully blocked the construction plans. In 1997 the State of Berlin decided to turn the site into a park.

The Park am Gleisdreieck, designed by Atelier Loidl taking local residents’ wishes into account, is a genuinely public park by everyone for everyone. Skaters and joggers, young and old, walkers and beach volleyball players, picnickers and sports enthusiasts, nature explorers and technology fans can all find plenty of space and facilities here. The park is now regarded as a model well beyond Berlin. In 2015 it was awarded the Deutscher Landschaftsarchitektur Preis (German landscape architecture prize) for the outstanding quality of its planning and construction process and overall project and detail planning.

From the outset, Berliners’ wishes and ideas were included in planning and creating the park. Before the two-stage landscape planning competition was launched, there was an intensive exchange of views and ideas with future users in the form of household surveys, online dialogues and local events. Work to create the winning design by Atelier Loidl (Berlin) began in 2008. In 2011 the park’s eastern section (Ostpark) was completed and two years later its western section (Westpark) was finished. The Park ensemble, adjoining Flaschenhals Park and Monumentenplatz linking the North-South Green Corridor, was completed in 2014. The park will continue to be further developed in the context of procedural completion with the participation of citizens, whose wishes and ideas are represented by a users’ advisory board.

A new type of park has been created at Gleisdreieck in terms of both the opportunities for citizens to actively contribute to its development and its landscape. The main idea behind its design was to create a “two-speed” park for all its various users. Active park users can enjoy all kinds of sports in its diverse range of facilities, such as the skater park, broad asphalt paths and open green spaces. At the same time, the desire of many users for peace and quiet, relaxation and enjoyment of nature is also accommodated. The north-south ICE railway track running through the park divides it into the Ostpark and Westpark areas, yet all the park’s sections together form a unified space.

The park’s design is characterised by spacious central lawns and meadows edged by copses and single trees, and crossed by broad paths. The main goal of the maintenance and development measures was and still is to reconcile nature protection concerns and recreational uses in the park. The Park am Gleisdreieck maintenance concept can be downloaded here. During its time as a wild wasteland, a unique ecological diversity evolved at Gleisdreieck and it has been retained in the new park. The park offers playgrounds and sports fields, a skater park and very special open spaces and places for people to meet, such as the “Rosenduft” intercultural garden, areas for visitors to experience nature in the Ostpark, and “Gardens within a Garden” in the Westpark. Its design concept also reflects the site’s historic use. Observant visitors will find traces of its past in the form of old railway tracks, signalling equipment and buffers, especially in the Ostpark and Flaschenhals Park.

Dates & Facts

Site Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district, between the Landwehr canal, Möckernstrasse, Yorckstrasse and Flottwellstrasse
Size 26 hectares: Ostpark 17 ha, Westpark 9 ha
Planning Atelier Loidl, Berlin
Opened September 2011 (Ostpark); May 2013 (Westpark)
Prizes & Awards Architekturpreis Berlin (Berlin architecture prize) 2013, Sonderpreis Deutscher Städtebaupreis (German urban development prize) 2014, Deutscher Landschaftsarchitektur-Preis (German landscape architecture prize) 2015

 

About the park