In November 2018 I visited the exhibition “Die West-Berliner Jahre” at Haus am Kleistpark

The photographer – André Kirchner – took many photos of West Berlin during the 1980s, that was before the wall came down. I wanted to see what it looks like today, over 30 years later. Learn more about this project.

Cinema Alhambra, Seestraße / Müllerstraße 2019, © Nina Schwarz

Today the cinema “Alhambra” is a modern Cineplex, reopened in 2002. On the photo of André Kirchner you can see the old cinema. It was built in 1916 and was one of many cinemas on Müllerstraße. It used to be a one story house. Today it is a much larger building and it can seat up to 1500 people.

 

 

Emmentaler / Residenzstraße 2019, ©Nina Schwarz

This was the first photo I compared to those of André Kirchner. And I was absolutely surprised to see that there was still a travel agency in this building. On the right side you see a sign of “Commerzbank”. The bank is still there today. The shop right to the travel agency is another today. The fence on the left hand side has been repainted but was there in the 1980s, too. Really a big surprise to see that not much has changed.
Due to copyright regulations I cannot show the original photos of André Kirchner. But they can be found in his book: “Die West-Berliner Jahre”*

 

Residenzstraße / Emmentaler Straße ©Nina Schwarz

This corner, too, hasn’t changed a lot. All three houses look more or less the same. In the 1980s there were different shops in the houses. The large shop used to be “Haus der Geschenke”, so a shop with gifts. The pub in the middle was a pub in the 1980s, too. I don’t know if it is the same one, but the small roundish awning was there before.
Due to copyright regulations I cannot show the original photos of André Kirchner. But they can be found in his book: “Die West-Berliner Jahre”*

About this project

In November 2018 I visited the exhibition “Die West-Berliner Jahre” at Haus am Kleistpark

A lot of his photos show corner lots where used to be regular buildings. They had been destroyed during the war and only one story large buildings (supermarkets, gas stations or shops) had been built on these plots. Immediately I thought that these corners must have changed a lot since the 1980s. Berlin has a massive problem with the lack of apartments. I guessed that these corner plots would have “normal” buildings today.

For Christmas I got the book “Die West-Berliner Jahre” *
and I decided that in 2019 I would like to revisit the places André Kirchner photographed so many years ago.

First I contacted the photographer and asked him if he had revisited the plots. He said no he had not. It sounded interesting but he didn’t do it.

On some photos it was impossible for me to find out, where exactly they were taken but most of the photos in the book were very will described. I then created a Google Map with all the places I wanted to go.

I would like to visit these in places in 2019.

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