Sunday, August 5, 2012

Berlin Tempelhof

Berlin Tempelhof Airport was an airport in Berlin, Germany, situated in the south-central borough of Tempelhof-Schöneberg. The airport ceased operating in 2008.

Since 2010 at Berlin Tempelhof, the runway has been declared a designated public park, for all-day raves, skating, day-dreaming, kite-flying; and now watching the olympic games.

Planes to other airports fly overhead without stopping; runway markings become redundant divisions; weeds burst through tarmac in the same way they did at Pripyat - in this case it has become a populated ghost town. Tempelhof is no longer an airport but it hasn't quite stopped being one either. It is a spatial convalescence period; a gap between usage of a space which allows nature and people to come to terms with what is lost, and form new habits, reducing protest and encouraging future thinking. There are plans for the airfield to host Germany’s world horticultural exhibition in 2017, at which point the temporary park will probably be re-thought.

Putting fences around abandoned buildings is not something Berlin is very good at, and I like to think it's because they understand this; as an outsider to the language and culture I am in a good position to be naive. But again and again we see that nature always wins, that our relentless attempts to control, to conform, rule, instruct and obey take us no further - that some things need to be able to play out in order to shape the next. This is the sort of idealistic town-planning I really like, and it seems to be happening here as a result of non-planning. My fave.