From Detroit to Potsdamer Platz
On the way from the second to the first WMF, directly adjacent to Hermann Göring’s former Air Ministry, were Tresor and E-Werk, two central locations of Berlin’s nightlife in the nineties. While in E-Werk the tradition of house music and the gay lifestyle of the legendary clubs of New York was maintained, playing in the former Tresor (strong room) of the Wertheim department store were the pioneers of techno sounds from Detroit. Their harsh sounds were received with enthusiasm by Berlin ravers.
Those leaving Tresor in the morning squinted in the sun and cycled home through no man’s land. However, already in 199, the city announced a master plan for Potsdamer Platz and sold the land to four investors. Soon thereafter unfurled Europe’s largest construction site. Architects like Helmut Jahn, Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano and Hans Kollhoff built huge structures on the square that had been deserted for decades. Apprehensions that the ensemble would overnight turn into a ghost town were not realised.
The new square hasn’t, however, become the new centre of the reunified city as was hoped, but rather a place for tourists. It comes alive every year in February when the Berlinale comes calling. At this time, movie buffs gripped by festival fever populate the cinemas and cafes. Even at Potsdamer Platz, one almost feels they are in a city.