Land scorched and burned by a forest fire gives us blueberries to savour; roses may rise from a pile of manure; from the no man’s land on either side of the Berlin wall, where hundreds of men, women and children were killed trying to flee communist Germany, a blast of light and an explosion of colours known as the Sony Center has arisen.
During the Cold War between the Americans and Soviets, on the night of August 12 and 13, 1961 the East Germans put up a wall, cutting the city of Berlin in two. The Communist Germans were humiliated to see thousands upon thousands of people flee to the west to regain freedom.
The length of the wall was covered with barbed wire, alarms and soldiers keeping guard with dogs at their feet, shooting at the sight of a fugitive.
The wall fell on November 9, 1989. Berlin was crazy with joy. It was a huge party!
Separated in two by the wall, the Postdamer Platz, which was once bustling with people, had become a vast empty space, and was now available. Everything had to be redone. The hole had to be filled. The crazy and joyful Postdamer Platz had to be reborn.
Architects, real estate investors and tourism professionals were thrilled. The Postdamer Platz was about to become the biggest construction site in Europe.
Four mega projects were authorized. One belonged to Sony. The multinational decided to build its new European headquarters there. You just have to glance at the photo ticket to understand that Sony focused on gaiety and brightness.
Taking his inspiration from Mount Fuji in Japan, architect Helmut Jahn opted for a glass and steel design. Light had to get through in order to rid the city of the dark side of an unfortunate era.
According to Wikipedia, the transparent building, topped with a cone-shaped roof, gives the impression of floating in space. The idea is for the light to win over the heaviness, to do away with the years where Berliners were subject to the wall on a daily basis.
The roof looks over a public space in the form of an ellipse. Down below at the end, thousands of visitors cheerfully jostle each day, in the heart of an immense place, where they enjoy cafés, restaurants, shops and movie theatres, with 40 screens divided among three complexes, not to mention the movie museum.
Height of the building: 103 metres (26 stories).
Cost: 750 million euros.
Construction time: 4 years.
A source of pleasure, the Sony Center stands in the middle of a human ants nest, near hotels, condos and offices.
On the official opening day, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra came to the Sony Centre space to spread what Balzac defined as the most supreme form of art: music.
After the black years where the pavement of Berlin resonated with the sounds of Nazi boots (1930-45) and the communist years (1945-1989), the Postdamer Platz lives again. And the Sony Center is at the heart of the resurrection.
This is not the first time that we draw your attention to the power that real estate has on reviving the beauty of living in a given place. And it won’t be the last.