Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


935_Bln_Prinzenstr ibrahimhazimeh 1986

Here is a fascinating image of the “U-Bahnhof Prinzenstrasse” painted in 1986 by a wonderful Palestinian and Berlin-based artist, Ibrahim Hazimeh.

The southern entrance to the station was replaced in 1989-1991 by what soon came to be known as “Cristal Palace” – an edifice whose strange, although not exactly unpleasant, design keeps confusing its users until today.

The original entrances to the Station “Prinzenstrasse” on the U1 Line were designed by Paul Wittig (one of the chief architects of the original Berlin elevated railway) and by the engineers of Siemens & Halske, who managed the Hochbahn project. South of the viaduct and next to the old English Gasworks, Wittig created a mock-Renaissance red-brick staircase tower whose ground floor housed a well prospering beer bar as well as a cafe.

The northern side of the viaduct, however, posed several serious problems. The biggest of them was lack of space to construct a proper staircase leading up to the station itself: Gitschiner Strasse has always been quite narrow there and it was quite impossible to build anything without disrupting the traffic.

The solution was to do what London did: allow the Hochbahn passengers to enter the station through a regular residential building. The entrance to the building at No. 71 became the entrance to the station, with a roofed-over ramp connecting the two some 6 metres above the street and the pavement.

After the building in Gitschiner Strasse 71 was bombed in one of the WWII air-raids, it was necessary to provide a new solution. In 1982-1984 a new building, one with escalators, was constructed on the northern side of the street.

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