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With its thriving creative class, Berlin has long been a mecca for lovers of the avant-garde. These spaces make it clear why.
Berlin has long held a reputation as Germany’s wild child, the artsy, painfully hip younger sibling to uptight, finance-oriented Frankfurt. For years, however, the city’s “poor but sexy” status meant that while starving artists moved to Neukölln in droves, there simply wasn’t enough of a market to draw big-name galleries and serious buyers. Today, all that is slowly shifting, as the Kunst scene matures without sacrificing the edge that made it so intriguing in the first place. Here are just a few of the innovative art spaces to check out on your next visit.
Situated a short walk from the Jewish Museum, this Kreuzberg jewel houses all manner of contemporary art and photography. Architect Jörg Fricke lent his distinctive touch to a 1956 glass warehouse. It took more than €18.7 million to transform the structure into the sleek, decidedly modern space it is today, but most experts agree it was worth every cent.
This former train station, which dates back to 1846, hosts the Museum für Gegenwart, an impressive showcase for contemporary art. Although the striking original architecture adds to the charm, it has been more than a century since any rail cars passed through this terminal. The space had already been converted into an exhibition hall before the onset of World War I. After suffering severe damage from a bombing in World War II, the space sank into dilapidation and remained abandoned for decades. Finally, in 1996, after an inspired reconstruction effort spearheaded by architect Josef Paul Kleihues, the old train station opened in its current incarnation.
When Burkhard Varnholt and Salome Grisard decided to launch a gallery, they wanted to do something different. Rather than sidle up to the established competition on Augustraße in Mitte, the couple transformed the old 5,500-square-metre Kindl brewery in Neukölln into something truly spectacular. Although extensive renovations were necessary, architects and designers were careful to preserve much of the original structure’s distinctive red brick facade.