The first time that I went to Steglitz was to visit a Primark since they only had one shop in Berlin and the shop was in this part of the city that I had never been before. That visit was 2012, and it was then that my obsession with the Bierpinsel started. That day was the first time that I had seen anything as weird looking as that building, and it was, also, my first contact with Architectural Brutalism. After that building, it was love at first sight.
Bierpinsel is the work of Ralph Schüler und Ursulina Schüler-Witte an architect couple who also designed the brutalist ICC Conference Center in Berlin-Westend. The original concept that came from the couple was that of a tree shape, but I don’t think this idea is there today. It looks more like a crazy Lego creation than anything else. Either way, it took four years to build it, between 1972 and 1976 and, according to the legend, it got its nickname due to the amount of free beer that was served on the opening day.
Set next to a highway in the middle of Steglitz, a neighborhood south of Berlin, the Bierpinsel closed its doors to the public in 2002 for some construction work. In 2006 and closed its doors and never opened again. Before it shut down, it used to house restaurants, bars, pubs and even a night club across its four levels. But none of it exists today.
In 2010, there were some places to turn it into a piece of art, and this is why the Bierpinsel is covered in paint from top to bottom. The Turmkunst project was supposed only to last a year but, 2011 came, and everything is still there. Even the bear still says some sweet home even though it has been outside for more than seven years. You can even see their website today.
If you are like me and don’t understand why nobody does anything with the building, you have to figure out that Berlin is a weird place. According to a news piece from 2010 on Tagesspiegel, Tita Laternser and daughter Larissa are the Bierpinsel owners, and they want to do something with the building. But it seems that nobody knows what. I read that there were plans to turn the outside of the building into a golden dome, but some of the people in the area were not happy with it. Right now, it just sits there waiting for anything to happen.
It’s easy to find the Bierpinsel in Steglitz since the building is set right in the middle of the Joachim-Tiburtius bridge and at the U-Bahnhof Schloßstraße where you can take the U9 and arrive there easily. If you want to get inside, you should just give up. Even the people behind the amazing Abandoned Berlin couldn’t get in. Maybe you can; maybe you know somebody that has a key. If you get it, take a picture and share with Fotostrasse. If you want to read more about the Bierpinsel, I mentioned the building on my article about the 52 places that you need to see in Berlin, check it out.
Bierpinsel — Architectural Brutalism in Berlin
Schloßstraße 17, 12163 Berlin, Germany
All the pictures here were taken with an iPhone 6 Plus before a rainy afternoon in Berlin. Those pictures were edited using Enlight and VSCO Cam, two apps that I love to use since I first mentioned them here back in 2015.