Thursday, September 29, 2011

21st Century Landscape Architecture: Park am Gleisdreieck

Friedrichshain
Neighborhood Playground/Park
Berlin is broke. It has no money. But looking around this city, I find little evidence that “Berlin ist pleite.” There's new public infrastructure everywhere. Across the street from my apartment is a new park and playground, the city is re-building the Berlin Stadtschloss (Berlin City Palace) at a cost of over $800 million, and phase one of the Park Am Gleisdreieck has just opened.

Park Am Gleisdreieck
The Park Am Gleisdreieck is landscape architecture at it best. Following the theme established at High Line Park in New York City, Berlin decided to transform an old rail yard into a modern urban green space. This place was once a toxic blight in the center of Berlin, but now, with a little imagination and a lot of money, it's been transformed into an garden oasis. 


Skateboarding: Gleisdreieck
However, unlike High Line Park, which pays tribute to its transportation history by incorporating rail elements in its design, the Park Am Gleisdreieck has, for the most part, looked away from its past. Instead, the Gleisdreieck park is a public open space with an eye toward the future. The Gleisdreieck park has playgrounds with interactive play structures, habitat preservation areas for native plants, a skateboard park, tennis and basketball courts, bicycle lanes, spacious meadows for informal gatherings, a water play area for children, garden plots to grow flowers and/or vegetables, cafes, and venues for cultural events.

Gleisdreieck: Forest Play Land
The Gleisdreieck park does have a few reminders of its former self: some corroding rails, an old brick warehouse used as a visitor center, and a tower that will become a cafe/restaurant. The park isn't so much a tourist attraction like High Line Park; but instead, it's a place that meets the needs of the local residents.

Gleisdreieck Public Gardens:
Growing Corn
The Park Am Gleisdreieck is near the Yorckstr. S/U-Bahn and is located between the neighborhoods of Schöneberg and Kreuzberg. Construction on phase two of the park has begun and when its completed in 2013, the Park Am Gleisdreick will double in size. In the meantime, I'm going to simply enjoy this peaceful place. 

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