In the Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände, the southern end of Berlin’s north-south green corridor, art, nature and historic technology have been combined to create a fascinating mixture rich in contrasts. It has been open to the public since 2000.
The site’s rich diversity and powerful vitality inspire imagination and creativity. It offers artists space for original sculpture, music, painting, photography and visual arts creations. Visitors exploring the park do so on steel artworks made by the ODIOUS group of sculptors. Walkways, treehouses and pipes enclose the landscape and nature conservation areas, providing visitors with both insights and spectacular views.
Tempelhof shunting railyard was built in 1889 and closed in 1952. After the railyard closed, nature gradually ‘reconquered’ the site. Valuable dry grasslands, groups of shrubs and a pristine forest grew out of the former railway wasteland, all without human influence.
In the 1970s, plans to reactivate the freight railyard were made public. By then however, nature lovers had discovered the site’s remarkable biodiversity and formed a citizens’ initiative to campaign for its preservation. In 1999, large sections of the site were classified as landscape and nature conservation areas and are now home to a wide range of rare and endangered animals and plants.
Although it’s been a long time since a train last passed through here, railway era relics keep the site’s history present. Visitors old and young are fascinated by the old ‘Baureihe 50’ steam locomotive. The water which the steam trains needed was delivered by a 50-metre-high steel water tower, which is still a park landmark visible far and wide.
Among the other relics of railway history on the site are many water standpipes, lighting towers, rail lines and points. The park is also home to one of Germany’s oldest turntables, although the largest and most important witnesses of the site’s past are its two old buildings. On the ground floor of the Brückenmeisterei (former bridge master’s building) is now a café, while its upper floor houses the Park administration.
There is now just one 100-year-old train shed “only” 4,000 square metres in size left here. Before the Second World War the yard had three such sheds. Comprehensive restoration work has turned it into an expansive space that is being developed for future uses.
The park opposite, Hans Baluschek Park, is available for intensive sport and recreational activities. A pedestrian bridge over the S-Bahn links this slender park with the Natur-Park Schöneberger Südgelände.
Dates & Facts
|Site||Tempelhof-Schöneberg district, at S-Bahnhof Priesterweg|
|Planing||planland/ÖkoCon consortium, Berlin|
|Prizes & Awards||
Declared a ‘worldwide project’ by EXPO 2000