You know how it is with blogging. You have a good idea for a post, full of wit and wry insight into the human condition. Then half way through, your attention wanders and you happen across another blog saying much the same thing, only better written. And featuring a moody black and white image.
There’s just such a post here, explaining the origin of a house of curiously homemade appearance, complete with vegetable garden, located on a strange triangle of land surrounded by roads on Bethaniendamm. I’d cycled past regularly, and often wondered how it came to be there; Berlin still has many squatted buildings and abandoned industrial sites now occupied by ‘alternative’ groups, but this one lies in a much less peripheral location (so I thought) and seemed so much the work of a single creator.
The Berlin wall used to run here, and the land in question was a vacant patch up against the western side – a peripheral place – which returned to the centre with the fall of the wall. It was apparently colonised by a local resident who has managed to hold onto it to this day, by dint of it falling between two local authorities – although it has ended up in the rather more flexible borough of Kreuzberg. I won’t add more detail as it’s all there on the WAUA site, but I will agree with the closing sentiment that such ‘interstitial settlements’ are to be cherished.
I can’t help worrying though that there is less and less of this in Berlin; the strip of land running alongside has recently been ‘relandscaped’, and the whole area to the north and west has been, or is about to be, developed into private housing and Mediaspree-related office space.
I notice that the WAUA blog (stop me if I’m becoming obsessive here) has also covered the Alexa centre at Alexanderplatz (yep, done that one) as well as a piece on the Berliner-Schloss, which I’d planned to do shortly. None of my posts have thoughtful black and white images, but to create added value in a crowded market, I aim to ensure that each one I do has at least two colour shots, so here’s the other one.
Admittedly it shows much the same thing, but from a bit further away. Enjoy.