The „Liesenbrücken“ were built in several phases, from 1890 to 1896, as part of the Berlin-Szczecin railway. They connect the Stettiner Bahnhof (the Nordbahnhof nowadays) with the border city of Szczecin. They were designed as half parabolic steel frame bridges, with no supports, in order to seperate the rail traffic from the inclining car traffic at the crossroad of Liesenstraße, Ackerstraße and Gartenstraße. After an intense use of about 6 decades, the Berlin-Szczecin railway got quiet, due to the division of the city, having a negativ result on the Liesenbridges. Since 1956 the nearly one hundred metres long main bridge and the 60m long small bridge remain unused, decay and rust, entrance is forbidden and no conserving treatment has been undertaken.
In the direct surrounding of the bridges, the are two parks of the district „Mitte“. In the north there is the „Humboldthain“ park and in the south the „Nordbahnhof“ park. There is no straight connection bewtween these two parks as the abandoned bridges in fact block the way. By opening the two bridges the missing gap of this connection would be filled resulting in a long green connection, a trail which connects „Mitte“ with the district „Wedding“. As a keyhole in this park trail, the Liesenbridges become a central spot on top of the traffic roundabout. The small bridge serves as a ‚fast‘ connection of people jogging, riding bikes or going for a walk with their dogs. The main bridge on the other hand, is the new meeting place, the new square on the bridge.
The reactivation of the bridge in a new manner will happen by filling it with a cultural institution, a multifunctional auditorium for conferences, theatrical or musical performances, seminars or movie projection. The positioning and size of the new object is the result of following thoughts:
1) We use the height of the bridge, compared to the width of it, so we hang the new object up. 2) We fill less than half of the volume of the interior, so that the magnificent steel frame can be admired in its full height. 3) We position the box on the upper north part of the bridge as this is where the bridge is most visible as approached from the roads crossing it. These measures result in a free ground floor throughout the whole bridge with a partially roofed area protecting the visitors on rainy days. In this area we designed a small cafe or kiosk with toilets, in order to create an urban spot, a place to gather, drink coffee and watch the passers by. On winter days it serves as a small standing cafe, in summer days the tables could expand on the whole length of the bridge with people drinking beer or eating ice-cream. By the minimal intervention of the cafe we have a maximal effect on the life on the bridge.
The „hovering theater“, or the „flying music box“ has a seperate entrance, toilet and wardrobe which means that events can take place simoultaneously on the ground and on the top floor. It can accomodate up to 100 people and has an emergency exit and an accompanying cafe or lounge, as a waiting room before the performances
10997 Berlin
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