On Berlin and its Abandoned Buildings

Pablo Arboleda

Take a look to Berlin, DE.


You’re more beautiful when you don’t pretend: On Berlin and its abandoned buildings.


A short walk through Berlin should be enough to comprehend that it is not a beautiful city – if we consider beauty in its classical sense. Anyone who visits Berlin expecting to see an outstanding historical centre and monuments everywhere will certainly feel something is missing after the mandatory tours of Museum Island and the Brandenburg Gate. The visitor will be surprised to realize that Alexanderplatz is not as picturesque as Piazza Navona, Friedrichstrasse is not that majestic if one compares it to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and the views from the bank of Spree River include factories and empty spaces, as opposed to how the Seine has shaped the riverside in Paris.

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[1] Inga Untiks, ‘Berlin’s Trashy Urban Imaginary’, paper presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Canadian Comparative Literature Association, Fredericton, May 29–31.
[2] Dougal Sheridan, ‘The Space of Subculture in the City: Getting Specific about Berlin’s Indeterminate Territories’, Field: Journal for Architecture, 1, 1, 2007, pp 97–119.
[3] David Drissel, ‘Anarchist Punks Resisting Gentrification: Countercultural Contestations of Space in the New Berlin’, The International Journal of the Humanities, 8, 10, 2011, pp 21–44.
[4] Bradley Garrett, Explore Everything: Place-hacking the City, Verso Books (London and New York), 2013.
[5] Myron A. Levine, ‘Government Policy, the Local State, and Gentrification: The Case of Prenzlauer Berg (Berlin), Germany’, Journal of Urban Affairs, 26, 1, 2004, pp 89–108.
[6] Claire Colomb, ‘Pushing the Urban Frontier: Temporary Uses of Space, City Marketing, and the Creative City Discourse in 2000s Berlin’, Journal of Urban Affairs, 41, 2, 2012, pp 131–152.
[7] Pablo Arboleda, ‘Heritage Views through Urban Exploration: The Case of ‘Abandoned Berlin’’, International Journal of Heritage Studies, 22, 5, 2016, pp 368–381.