Blub – Top Abandoned Berlin Sight Seeing in Neukolln

Blub wave machine

Blub wave machine

The SF team have been all over the Abandoned Berlin vibes this summer, the sunshine in this city is to be taken advantage of and these are not places so easy to access when the dead of winter kicks in. We might have been getting to the point of saturation, they’re cool and all that but there is only so much smashed glass, tags, graf and general mess that you can see before you need to go to a nice sanitary gallery where they have electricity and the glass is fully formed.

Blub skate park

Blub skate park

A change to this is a much less well known place in Neukölln, one that is relatively new and one which is a sight to behold in the later summer sunshine. Blub (Berliner Luft und Badeparadies) situated just off of Buschkrugalle was first opened in 1984 at a cost of over 44 million Marks, and over the years was added to and changed around, but the main gist of it is an indoors (and a little outdoors) aqua land. It boasted huge swimming pools, a wave machine, water slides, fountains, steam rooms, saunas, water dooms and much more besides.

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SF can only imagine what this water world would have been like in its pomp for a kid of 14 years of age. It was taking over 600,000 visitors a year at one point, but then the tide turned. It begs the question as to why it is not still open today? Well according to my research (limited to Wiki and a bit of random blog searching) it was down to two things.

Former waterslide

Former waterslide

A turf war between local youths. Imagine, like being in the London Fields Estate and the kids battling over C*nts Corner or who ran the gate at the lido.

Rats, apparently it became unsanitary and overrun by the little disease carrying fuzz balls. SF is guessing that neither are conducive to a nice family day out.

Wooden walkways

Wooden walkways

Blub is hidden nicely off the road, the wooden elevated walkway entrances look like something from Hook, you expect Rufio to swing in at any minute.

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All around the building is covered with greenery, tress, plants and bushes that hide the building, so on arrival you would be forgiven for thinking it was a bit piss-poor-small. Guess again this thing is huge and once inside you can get an image in your head of what pandemonium went on. It is also right by Teltow canal, there lies the problem, those pesky rats venturing away from their water and taking over the human space. By 2003 some parts had to be closed because of the infestation. The places is getting a little less attractive now.

Added to this the kiddie turf war, bombing and aggressive splashing (assumption) was rife, some kids even resorting to water bombs (probably). Shit had got real and the only solution was to bring in security, yup water henchmen. Big dudes in black wraparound glasses, goatees and living on a diet of roods and Red Bull, patrolling the pool to keep the warning mini factions apart.

Skate channels

Skate channels

From 2002, slowly but surely areas were closed until in 2012 everything was shut. Apparently the area has been sold for flat redevelopment but until then it is worth a visit, it is certainly getting better known now, on our second visit there were hoards of Turkish kids running riot and skaters from 14 to 40 dropping in to the swimming pools.

Sauna graffiti

Sauna graffiti

Some of the artwork adorning the walls is pretty impressive and you will likely see some artists underway if you visit. It is as always a little bashed up, but not totally…. yet.

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SF even managed to get a souvenir. The original price board which had not been tagged or smashed, well we figured we might as well save something from the looters.

Original price board, in Deutsch Marks

Original price board, in Deutsch Marks

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Picture(s) of the Day – Kein Schwimmen!

For the high board

For the high board

While the weather is holding out, before the onset of deep cold winters that render a cycle around Berlin as a crazy nightmare. SF have got the old pedlo out and made a list of a few more abandoned delights. Today BVB Schwimmbad at the site of the new / old BVG Stadion on Siegfreidstrasse.

Tiles and railings

Tiles and railings

Keeping it short and sweet today. Formally used as an Olympic training pool back in the day. Much loved during the summer by families to spend the day in the sun and water. A high board for bombing of course. Now the water in there is rain water, it is beyond dirty but the beautiful tile work remains. Easy to access, if a bit of a bitch to get to in terms of distance.

Shallow end

Shallow end

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The not so hidden Berlin bunker – Hochbunker Pallasstrasse

Paint and moss on the bunker

Paint and moss on the bunker

Since relocating SF to Berlin, the summer has been one big discovery, this city has something new to see every day. Some things are easy to access and some are a little harder, one of these is Hochbunker on Pallasstraße in Schönenberg.

Resident and bunker

Resident and bunker

The Hochbunker is not one of the well known Abandoned Berlin hotspots but for those few who have managed to get in to see it, it is certainly one of the most impressive. The bunker is only opened up to the public once a year and only to a limited number of people. Our tour guide confirmed that there have been 19 guided tours conducted over 19 years and no more than 40 people in each group, that makes the Hochbunker one of the hardest to visit landmarks in Berlin.

To enter the bunker

To enter the bunker

The building is on Pallasstraße, if you travel down the street you will see that there is a huge ugly concrete block set into everyday flats that stretch up over eight stories high, but you should look closer. This is one of the most beautiful sites in Berlin, the flats all have their own satellite dish fastened to the wall, but what creates such a striking scene is that every dish tells a story. Every dish has a sign or a tribute to the inhabitant’s own history and story. There are flags, pictures of babies and families, club crests from Galatasaray or Fenerbahce, or there are sunsets or just simple paintings. Each and every one brings a poignant insight to the everyday life of the.

Satellite signs

Satellite signs

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These apartments were built in the 1970’s around the huge Hochbunker, without touching the original structure, due to a lack of space for housing in this part of Berlin. The bunker is now a part of the Sophie-Scholl-Schule and has a rather interesting history.

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The bunker was built by prisoners and slaves that the Nazis had captured from across Europe, mostly made up of women and children, they were fed sparsely on just water and bread and sometimes a little sugar and expected to work long hours to create the bunker. These workers were housed in the former Augusta High School, which is now the Sophie-Scholl-Schule, named after a famous lady who opposed the Nazis and stood against them in the face of torture and punishment.

Bunker room

Bunker room

The bunker was not intended for humans to take shelter in but rather for machinery and supplies, this is reflected in the fact that the place is not very well ventilated, it was said that it has space for well over 150 people to stay in their comfortably but only for 24 hours as they would run out of oxygen.

Like every other outdoor space in Berlin, the walls are adorned with graffiti, messages and tags, but due to the fact that there is such limited access and only through a special guided tour, inside this piece of history there is no graffiti or tags or paste-ups.

You enter at ground level through gates and two huge and thick steel doors. The bunker is on four levels, each floor almost identical to the one above, huge white and cream walled rooms with unkind lighting and harsh finishes, the space would make an amazing gallery (shame about the damp) or a ridiculous venue for a rave (shame about the lack of oxygen). As it stands it is kept for limited viewings until a long term use can be found.

This way out

This way out

The building is all concrete, each external wall is 3 metres thick, there was talk of trying to knock it down after the war but this never happened, indeed the bunker was not finished before the war ended, but it must have been something of great importance to the Nazis as concrete in those days was expensive and hard to come by, so to set aside so much for the build of this bunker gives indication to it’s importance.

Concrete climb

Concrete climb

The space is sparse however there are two things to note, the school has used this space to create a small artistic installation, including a copper box with a rose inside, the lights shining through give the piece an eerie feel.

Emergency escape route

Emergency escape route

84 blocks

84 blocks

The most interesting part to the entire building was the escape route, on the 4th floor there is a door, but unlike any you might have seen before. This is the escape route to a bigger steel door behind in case of attack. The walled door is made up of 84 blocks which are 3 metres long each and have a steel handle on each block. In order to make it through to the exit door.

Imposing exterior

Imposing exterior

The tour is conducted by a professor who has lectured at the school and is a well of information, but ensure you take a German speaker as this is a visit conducted only in German. In order to book a place you have to show patience and determination to book a spot and wait for the date.

Picture of the Day – Hanging Airplane – Roman Signer

This week is Berlin Art Week, a week of interesting shows to check out, and to kick things off SF made a little visit to see Kitfox Experimental by Roman Signer at Kindl. While it is a fairly short and sweet experience, it is definitely worth it.

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Housed at the former Kindl brewery, the piece is quite striking and as a moving installation makes for a perfect short, sharp injection of culture on a lunch break.

More to come on BAW14 shortly….

Abandoned Berlin – Kaserne Krampnitz – Former Nazi / Russian Military Base – PT II – Das Graffiti

Ok, SF admits that the level of updates have been have been about as regular as a constipated elephant, but much like our big eared friend, you are about to get a stinking load right now.

In PT II we will bring you the other side of Krampnitz, the one that PT I did not cover so much. And that is the paint on walls, from unfinished to full pieces, from tags to political statements on Nazis and Cold War Russia, you got the lot in this series of buildings. See below for a few we picked out.

From one of the many huge warehouses - artist unknown

From one of the many huge warehouses – artist unknown

Unknown artist

Unknown artist

Certainly no garden of Eden

Certainly no garden of Eden

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Fact

Fact

Love these wise old dudes

Love these wise old dudes

Cock sure

Cock sure

Teardrops

Teardrops

These are original Russian updates to Krampnitz, once the Nazi troops had gone they wanted to make it feel a little more at home… we guess

 

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Russian re-fit

Russian re-fit

 

ROA in Berlin

One of the most prolific and well travelled artists around, and one of the easiest to spot, purely because his style is like no other and the scale means they are near enough impossible to miss. Beit in London, Berlin, France, the US or in the southern hemisphere, Seeing a ROA piece is a feast for the eyes.

 

Berlin has long been a playground for the taggers, graffiti artists and paste-up merchants of Europe, but very few can boast such huge pieces, maybe Blu is the only rival. ROA usually paints animals and birds and uses a small pallet of colour, usually just black, white, grey and sometimes red, then uses shading and lines to bring them to life.

 

SF features two piece today…. the well known and the slightly newer.

The iconic Kreuzberg piece of 2011

The iconic Kreuzberg piece of 2011

Like a rat up a drain pipe in Prenzlauer Alle

Like a rat up a drain pipe in Prenzlauer Alle