Berlin Tempelhof Airport
Many superlatives are required to describe Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport. The largest airport in Europe, it was once the building with the largest area in the world. With its advanced technology and functionality, it is a pioneer of the modern airport. The monumental structure was planned by Ernst Sagebiel at the request of Adolf Hitler to demonstrate of the power of the Third Reich. After 1936 it became a site of forced labor.
There had been an airport on the site since 1923, but it soon became too small. Plans for a new structure were begun in 1934 under the supervision of Heinrich Kosinal, the house architect of the Berlin Airport Company. In 1935, the German Ministry of Aviation commissioned Ernst Sagebiel to design an airport suitable for the “World Capital Germania” planned by Hitler for Berlin. Begun in 1936, the structure used modern forms disguised with neoclassical elements.
The result was an enormous arched tract 1.2 kilometers long, with thirteen staircase towers in which the hangars and boarding gates were located. The arrivals hall and administrative buildings adjoined slightly off-center. These four-story wings with their rounded façades arranged symmetrically around a central axis make up a never-completed forecourt; they are the airport’s representative center.
The limestone façade gives the complex its dramatic effect and firmly places it under the banner of Nazi traditionalism, trying to overlap their hidden entanglement with Neues Bauen. The influence of modern architecture is nevertheless unmistakable. The reinforced-steel skeleton construction is visible from the sides of the airfield, as is the cantilevered roof extending across the entire length of the facility.
Forced laborers produced bombers in the hangars during World War II. Work on the airport was interrupted in 1941 and only completed in the 1960s. The Tempelhof witnessed history once again during the Berlin Airlift following the blockade of West Berlin in 1948–49. The airport closed in 2008. The Tempelhof Field is now a leisure area and the world’s largest inner-city open space. Plans have been made by the creative industries to use the airport as an events’ hub. [KM/HY]
Contact and opening hours
Platz der Luftbrücke 5
Cancellation of events and temporary closure of museums
Please note that due to COVID-19 events may be cancelled or houses may remain closed. Please inform yourself directly on the pages of the houses or facilities.
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Directions by local public transport:Der Standort ist optimal an den öffentlichen Nahverkehr angeschlossen. Die U-Bahnstationen Platz der Luftbrücke und Paradestraße (U6) sowie die S-Bahn-Station Tempelhof liegen in fußläufiger Entfernung zum ehemaligen Flughafenareal. Mehrere Bushaltestellen sind in unmittelbarer Umgebung.
Directions by car:Für Autofahrer stehen auf dem ehemaligen Flughafengelände drei Parkplätze bereit. Wir empfehlen dennoch die Anfahrt mit öffentlichen Verkehrsmitteln.
360°-Video: Zeitreise durch den Flughafen Tempelhof
Only available in German – The airport Tempelhof stands for raisin bomber, zeppelins, cold war and Berlin history. In 2008 he was closed. Join us on a virtual journey and discover the history of the old Berlin Airport.
Book: Bauhaus 100 Sites of Modernism
Extraordinary sites associated with the Bauhaus and modernism can be found throughout Germany—pioneering architecture that has enduringly shaped our understanding of life and work, learning and living. This travel guide brings the historical and architectural traces of over 100 examples of Neues Bauen building to life, making tangible the impact of the historical Bauhaus beyond the school, its sites and its time.