Must-See, Architecture, Landscape & Urban Design, Culture & History

Urban Gardening & Exploring The Former Berlin Wall

As I've mentioned, we started volunteering at the Prinzessinnengarten this month in the hopes of learning something that we probably should have learned in school in order to be qualified to do our jobs. Also to meet people and make cool friends, since we are not into the whole 'dancing to deep, raw techno in drug infested squats until 8am' thing.

Deep.... Raw.... Techno.

Anyways.

On Saturday, we went to see what could be done and discovered a set of containers waiting to have their dead Persian Mint removed, the dead roots removed, and new soil added in preparation for some healthy plants. We first examined the containers for any small living mint seedlings and transplanted them into pots, then commenced with the last funeral rites of the deceased Persian Mint.

I am, as my sister would tell you, probably the blackest thumb this side of the Atlantic. But I have hope that plants hardy enough to survive random volunteers can also survive a Stephanie handling their delicate root systems. 

Our final staycation event was to return to the Berlin Wall Memorial and go to the documentation center. Gardening made us hungry, and we decided to return to Noodeli which is an awesome pasta take-away place in Mitte. We found it on our way home from Future Shorts on Friday night, and it was so damn good we had to go back. The concept is simple: You choose one of three kinds of pasta, choose a sauce, and choose a topping. I don't know why it hasn't been done sooner. 

We biked up Ackerstr. to the documentation center and Berlin Wall Memorial area. The documentation center itself is kinda blah, but it does have very good information. You can also view the whole memorial area from a viewing platform 6 stories up.  What we saw was an enclosed, preserved chunk of the wall area.

What surprised us was that it wasn't just a single wall, but an entire swathe of dead space in the city... complete with dog runs, mines, and 'shoot to kill' orders. It is actually insane to think about, that this distance separated a city for 28 years.

One of the even cooler things we discovered about this site is a new chapel made from rammed earth / packed clay.... by Peter Sassenroth! He taught building tech at Dalhousie, and dang me if I totally forgot he was German. If I'd have known he could do such awesome architecture, I probably would have tried to listen to that one lecture he gave back in B2.

When the wall was built, many parishoners were cut of from their respective churches. On this site, this church was demolished by the GDR in the 70's. After reunification, the chapel was rebuilt, but totally redesigned. Originally the architects intended it to be concrete and glass, but the residents said that concrete reminded them of the wall, and asked for natural building materials instead. The result is... incredible

Chapel of Reconciliation Peter Sassenroth

Chapel of Reconciliation
Peter Sassenroth