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The Platz (also ) is a square in triangular shape. It was created through the Abriss des Scheunenviertels and the successive exchange of residents and locations. In the 21st century, a feeling of division determines the place, which is presumably due to its nature as ∇.

History: Becoming der Platz

19th century: First aspirations

Initial efforts to continue Kaiser-Wilhelm-Straße and to connect it with Schönhauser Allee and Prenzlauer Allee began in 1861. A fork in the road can already be seen in a draft by August Orth from 1871.

1900-1914: The birth of the ∇ and their afterbirth

The triangular shape between Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße and Weydingerstraße was created between 1906 and 1908 after the Scheunenviertel was demolished and the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Strasse was extended until the newly created open space.

In the course of the first season of Abriss des Scheunenviertels, sewer, gas, water and telegraph lines were laid on the exposed area until 1910 and an underground railway tunnel was completed.[1]

Street view from 1905 with the eventual course of roads in yellow


During the planning phase, the area was named Babelsberger Platz. A short time later, the place in Bülowplatz was renamed after Bernhard von Bülow, who had just left the office of Chancellor of the German Empire.[2] The early renaming in the city council received less attention than the poor condition of the newly created wasteland in a city council meeting of April 14, 1910:

"I would like to draw the park administration's attention to another very nasty point in Berlin, namely the Fürst Bülow Platz in the Scheunenviertel. It is indeed an unworthy place in Berlin that has opened up there and that is proudly named Fürst Bülow has given place. We who live in the north are not allowed to come to any meeting, club, or even private company without hearing the most egregious reproaches about the condition of this place."

It was decided to sell the empty square to the two speculators Wilhelm Lippmann and Hugo Lucker for the price of 411,852 Reichsmarks[2] It was contractually stipulated that one half should be built on by April 1st, 1914, the other half to the day three years later.[3] In 1910/11, the Adlerhaus in Kleine Alexanderstraße was the first building that oriented on the new direction of the streets. On 07/27/1913 the Schönhauser Tor underground station was inaugurated. In the same year, the left part of the residential and commercial building was built at Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 39/41. Further construction projects literally came to nothing, Lippmann and Lucker offered to postpone their contractually regulated construction period. A ray of hope was the project of the Freie Volksbühne e.V. to build a theater on the fallow area. The city council enthusiastically approved the construction of the Volksbühne and granted a mortgage of 2 million marks for the time. The Volksbühne was completed in record time on December 14, 1914. A central part of the square was now built on. The Wiese was also created, and the first incarnation of the Litfaßsäule was set up next to Weydingerstraße. The later areas on the left and right initially remained undeveloped and should remain so, because the First World War was raging in the meantime and even if the Volksbühne caused a sensation for very different reasons, further upgrading of the square was becoming less and less relevant. In the meantime, it was the Luckmann heirs who asked for the development period to be postponed. At least the construction of green areas was approved on, which initially resulted in the creation of the Trinkerpark.[4]

1919-1933: Inner-city battlefield

During the Generalstreit, the area was the scene of several skirmishes between workers and volunteer corps. On March 9, 1910, an aerial bomb in front of the Volksbühne killed 4 passers-by and injured 25 others.[5]

In 1925 Emil Heinicke AG and Industrie-Baugesellschaft Centrum am Bülowplatz launched a competition to “put an end to the undignified state of the Scheunenviertel” and to change it “for many years with one of the ugliest pictures Berlin has to show”. The winning contribution came from Emil Schaudt, but it was never realized. Hans Poelzig was among the other participants..

In 1927 the city began buying back vacant lots. The building contractor Alfred Schrobsdorff now leased the area and had a fence with wooden advertising put up. Due to the persistent bad condition of the square, the city administration decided to redesign the green areas. Up to 1929, the Poelzig-Bauten were built. A large part of the square was now built on.

On August 8, 1931, 19-year-old Fritz Auge was shot in the back while the square was being cleared. Two police officers died a day later. Due to the incidents, the square became a ban mile in the coming weeks, against which the restaurateurs resident protested in particular.

1933-1945: Mission Gesundung (Recovery)

In 1933 the area was named after Horst Wessel. Two memorials were erected: one for police officers and one for Klein-Horst. Accordingly, illustrious people like Joseph Goebbels were quite happy to be there, in fact he suddenly felt it was his hood now. The Wiese was remodeled into a parade ground, but it was a bit too puny for the top boss at the time, so that he repeatedly canceled all gigs on his stand-up comedy tour there for quite clumsy reasons.

In 1934 the second season of Abriss des Scheunenviertels saw great success which resulted in the Nazi-Bauten which shaped the northern part of the Platz now.

During this time the Telefonzelle was also added to the square.

1945-1989: Little air but a lot of love

On the right there was a parking lot from the 1970s, on the left the Spielplatz. At the Volksbühnen-Spektakel as well as at the World Festival of Youth and Students the Platz proved at this time that it can also be hippy. There was theater, dancing, cuddling and certainly lots of other things to do on the Wiese and the adjacent green areas. Apart from that, not only did the Poelzig-Bauten slowly turn gray and the calls for a new beginning or at least a refresher were loud. At the end of the 1980s, the East Berlin city administration found it a particularly good idea to produce a new season of Abriss des Scheunenviertels. Dynamite has already been laid in the houses chosen as protagonists for the premiere party, but it was stolen the night before. The planned prefabricated buildings could not be built, which apart from the Rote Platte probably and some zealous urban developers who suddenly had nothing more to report (something felt and there was a twist called Wende happening), nobody bothered.

1990-2017: From gray to white to transparent

In the 1990s, the entire area of the Spandauer Vorstadt was placed under monument protection, including the square. After the Babylon threatened to explode several times, it had to take a long break from renovation in the mid-1990s and said goodbye to the audience, as did the gray-on-gray tone, which was, however, still quite hip for a short time.

This was certainly also due to the reign of Frank I. and his artistic designer, who finally took the Platz and everything filthy as they did in the 90s had to: make a label out of it and laugh up your sleeve. The figurehead of this was the Räuberrad, which has been the symbol of everything and everyone since 1996, but above all of this triangular square.

In the new millennium, a redevelopment plan was developed in several voting rounds, the aim of which was to restore the square to its geometric shape. Furthermore, the aim was to improve the quality of stay. Reduction of through traffic and speed limits should help, as should the redesign of the street space and the re-creation of the Trinkerpark.

Meanwhile, there was no trace of the fancy grub. The galleries conquered the Platz and with them all Emils from near and far. The mission to complete the Kulturensemble started by Poelzig was taken in hand by a new star in the sky above the square: Roger Bundschuh was chosen as the new (or first?) King of the square . At least by some who actually only say that behind the scenes.

2017-2021: heaps of shit and circumvention

With the dramatic end of Frank I.s reign and the beginning of the Empire of Dercon at the Volksbühne, a new chapter was initiated at the square, which is determined by hatred, violence and a lot of shit. The square attracted worldwide attention through the Circumvention, which is today classified as the origin of the Querdenker movement. As a reaction to this, but also due to other increasingly acute problems, several residents initially formed the secret Operation ∇. Their goal is to cleanse the public sphere of all harmful elements and so on to secure a peaceful rest existence within the biosphere for humans.

References

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