Teufelsberg in Berlin

Developer to Transform Former Spy Station in Berlin into Museum and Artist Colony

Berlin real-estate developer Marvin Schütte is planning to convert the city’s Teufelsberg, an almost four-hundred-foot hill made from the debris of World War II, into a “natural place of culture” Monopol reports. Schütte announced the project on May 8, the anniversary of the 1945 surrender of the Axis powers.

During the Cold War, the Allies installed a large radio facility at Teufelsberg with which they intercepted radio signals from the Warsaw Pact countries. Amid the ruins of four giant antennas on the twelve-acre site, Schütte wants to create a museum, an artists’ colony, and a space for public gatherings. “It should be a place where things slow down,” he declared. In autumn, he plans to submit his first permit application for the project to Berlin’s Charlottenburg district. Schütte, who has already hired a six-person staff, said, “We want to preserve everything; we will not build anything new; we will not damage anything.”

Twenty-five thousand people visit the site annually, each paying a $10 entrance fee to view its sculpture garden, which was established by a former tenant. It is now considered one of Europe’s largest graffiti galleries. The 26,000-square-foot outdoor space is formed by a number of concrete walls. The terrain is currently being rented out as a film set, the revenue from which will help fund the overhaul of the site.

More than a decade ago, Schütte’s father, the architect Hanfried Schütte, together with the group of investors that purchased the land, planned to build a hotel, luxury apartments, and an observation tower at Teufelsberg. However, the project failed, their building permit expired, and, since 2006, it has become overgrown. In 2015 Marvin Schütte leased the site from the investors.

Despite Schütte’s new plans, Aktionsbündnis Teufelsberg (the Teufelsberg Alliance), a consortium of local conservation groups and residents, have doubts about the project. Spokesperson Hartmut Kenneweg, a member of the German Forest Protection Association, said that the consortium is suspicious of the organizers and believes that they are more interested in financial gain than what’s best for Berlin.