Berlin under construction: Kunsthalle, Library, Autobahn

Slowly but surely first rumors/reports about the coalition talks between Conservatives and Social Democrats are leaking, According to the media recent talks between SPD and CDU were focusing on plans to build a new public art gallery – the Berlin Kunsthalle – and a new public library – the “Metropolen Bibliothek” – the latter to be built at the grounds of the former Airport Tempelhof. Both projects have been discussed for a long time, both are rather near and dear to Berlin’s mayor Klaus Wowereit.

Additionally the controversial plans for the expansion of the Autobahn A100 were probably part of the negotiations – but actually the result was foreseeable since both parties had made their pro-Autobahn positions clear long before the elections. And since the city of Berlin doen’t even have to pay for this project, the probably was no discussion at all. Germany will pay the estimated 420 Millionen Euro.

Also the Kunsthalle is expected to come for free – at least at the moment the plan seems to be that private sponsors shall be found to pay for this prestigious project. This will at some point leave the question unanswered, if the Kunsthalle will then be an independent art institution, making it’s own decisions – as it should be.

For the construction of a new public city library some quarter of a Billion Euros will probably be needed. Currently it is completely unclear, where that money should come from – especially since the city of Berlin is rather broke. One could of course consider using the abandoned airport building – there should be enough space available for ten libraries (and a Kunsthalle)  – above all since it’s the third largest building in the world. But…

And then there is of course also other projects lurking: the expansion of the airport Berlin Brandenburg International and the  reconstruction of the Berlin castle construction of the Humbold-Forum are probably the two more imprtant ones, worth mentioning.

At this point I just HAVE to shed a tear over the demolished Palast der Republik (Palast of the Republic): it would have been roomy enough to host a library, a Kunsthalle AND a reunification museum AND another Kunsthalle – and maybe even additionally a restaurant. And it could have been the perfect spot for all this – beeing THE place where Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev held his famous “hurry up” speech and where the contracts for the reunification between East and West Germany were signed – but…

…instead the upcoming coalition between Conservatives and Social Democrats announced they wanted to support the Humbold-Forum project  with all their power. Let’s hope that they actually don’t really mean it and instead first focus on other, more important projects.

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