For years, I've been wondering about those blue overhead pipes that you see throughout Berlin. They suddenly appear on the street and then they're gone within a few months. A few days ago, I noticed them on Warschauer Straße.
What are they? I've asked a few people, including some native Berliners, and even searched the web, but no one seems to know the origins of these strange, and in some ways beautiful, "works of art."
Most sources agree that the pipes contain water that is being pumped from underground. Since Berlin is built on a swamp, there's a lot of groundwater just below the surface. Occasionally, when construction is taking place, the pipes are installed to prevent water breaks at the construction site. Other sources claim that the pipes transport thermal energy, but this seems unlikely since the pipes are temporary in nature and isn't thermal energy transported underground? In any case, the pipes are here, and they do add color to the neighborhood.