An American filmmaker based in Berlin, Nathan Eddy, has documented the efforts to preserve the Mäusebunker in a movie called Battleship Berlin. This 40-minute long movie shows the efforts to save the building and the point of view of those who want to tear it down.
It was built between 1971 and the early 1980s, but it was closed down in 2010 due to some problems with asbestos. After it became vacant, the building was threatened with demolition, but some campaigns to save the building have put this on hold.
In Battleship Berlin, Nathan Eddy presents different opinions on the demolition topic. Among those who are keen on demolition is the dean of the Charité hospital, Axel Radlack Pries, that owns the building. For him, the building is a concrete monster that feels like a nightmare that has been brought into the world. And demolishing it would be better since another building can be constructed there.
On the other side, there are people like Johann König from the König Galerie, a cultural hub and art gallery created on the premises of the St. Agnes church in Kreuzberg. For him, it is possible to use the building differently and create something new from what already exists. This makes a lot of sense since there is no need to demolish such a piece of architectural history if the goal is to build something new there. There is more than enough space in Berlin for new buildings.
For us, it was fantastic to see the Mäusebunker in Battleship Berlin since it shows the building in a beautiful way, including the tiled interiors that we had never seen before.
Many do not love the brutalist style of architecture, but it’s historically significant and quite unique in style. This type reached its popularity peak in the 1950s in the United Kingdom, during the post-war reconstruction, and its international peak came to be in the 1970s. A few brutalist buildings were left in Berlin, and we even documented our favourite ones in an article.
When it comes to the demolition of Mäusebunker, this feels like something unnecessary. Preservation is more critical than demolition. The unstoppable cycle of demotion and new construction work is too resource-intensive and something we don’t need right now. We believe that preservation should be the rule here. Not only for the architectural value of the building but for sustainability as well.
We believe the Mäusebunker should be left as it is, an entire piece of art and architecture. Anything different than that would be considered desecration. Once change starts in something like this, there is no way to stop it. And, once it’s gone, it’s too late, and there is no way to bring it back.
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