Berlin now and then (1970-1974)

This is the second “now and then” photo project. The other one “Kirchner revisited” is the first and I do them simultaneously.

What I’m doing here is I researched in archives to find photos of the years 1970-1974 of West Berlin. I want to revisit them this and next year and show you the amazing changes. Read more about my projects on the project pages.

To show historic photos I either need Creative Commons Photos or I have to buy them at the archives. Archives are very important and I’m fine with paying them. This is a fine but this is my hobby and an non profit project.

If you are willing to help you can do so buy donating a few Euros (Dollars) via Paypal or Patreon.

Now let’s see the photos.

Berlin-Mitte

Historic House at Alexanderplatz, CC Bundesarchiv
The house hasn't changes a lot, 2019 (© Nina Schwarz)

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-N0528-428 / Fotograf Klaus Franke, 1974

Alexanderplatz 2019, © Nina Schwarz

It is an 18 storey building and 67 metres high. It was opened in 1971 and was one of the Alexanderplatz ensemble. It was second highest building on Alexanderplatz, only the hotel was higher. It has almost the size of the Rotes Rathaus, just a few hundred metres away. Since 2015 it is heritage protected due to is important testimony of international architecture in the 1970s.

If you compare the historic photo (left) and my recent photo (right) not much has changed, except the trees in front of it and different shops.

 

Historic House at Alexanderplatz, CC Bundesarchiv
The house hasn't changes a lot, 2019 (© Nina Schwarz)

Bundesarchiv, 183-M0712-407/ Fotografin: Vera Katschorowski-Stark, 1973

Alexanderplatz 2019, © Nina Schwarz

The fountain is called “Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft” (Fountain of Friendship between Nations). The fountain was designed by the famous architect Walter Womacka. It is made out of metal. It was opened in October 1970.

Unfortunately I didn’t get the perspective not exactly as on the old photo but you can see not a lot has changed. The large house in the background (House of Travel / Haus des Reisens) is still there. Today a fitness studio is in that house, plus a lot of offices. The fountain looks exactly the same and the building directly behind it has another façade.

 

Historic House at Alexanderplatz, CC Bundesarchiv
The house hasn't changes a lot, 2019 (© Nina Schwarz)

Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-K1018-401/ Fotograf: Hubert Link, 1971

Alexanderplatz 2019, © Nina Schwarz

In the former GDR this was the view from Alexanderplatz (left). You can see in the foreground the House of Teachers (Haus des Lehrers) and behind this the House of Statistics (Haus der Statistik). I don’t know what the third large building in the background was in 1971. The House of Teachers has a “belly band” with thousands of mosaic stones around the lower part of the building. The mosaic has been designed by Prof. Walter Womacka.

Today (right side) still see all three of the buildings. The House of Teachers is now an office building with educational organisations. The House of Statistics in empty and the whole are will be redeveloped (please read my blog article on the House of Statistics). And the building in the background is a hotel today. It looks similar to the old building but I don’t know if they completely changed the façade or rebuild the whole building.

Historic House at Alexanderplatz, CC Bundesarchiv
The house hasn't changes a lot, 2019 (© Nina Schwarz)

Bundesarchiv, Alexanderplatz 1973, CC-BY-SA-3.0-DE

Alexanderplatz 2019, © Nina Schwarz

On the left you the house at Alexanderplatz in 1973 (Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-M0719-0705 / CC-BY-SA 3.0). It is near the Weltzeituhr (world clock) and on the south of the big place. The photo on the right (© Nina Schwarz) was taken on a Saturday in February 2019. As you can see a lot of stores are empty today. So even on a Saturday there were not many shoppers there.

The square is named after the Russian Tsar Alexander I. In the news I just heard that there are about 500.000 people visiting Alexanderplatz every day.

Alexanderplatz is an old historic square but was a lot  of houses were destroyed during World War II. This house was built in the 1930s and survived the war.