The Potsdamer Platz quarter is the result of numerous competitions across Europe to update the previous wasteland into a European style city as designed by Renzo Piano. The area consists of three developments that are known as the Daimler City or ‘DaimlerChrysler Areal’ (1998) the Sony Centre (2000) and the Beisheim Centre (2004) which transformed the undeveloped wasteland where the wall once stood.
The Rebuilding of Potsdamer Platz began in the 1980’s where plans were initiated by senator Volker Hassener, and investor Daimler-Benz who had purchased a plot of land along the Landwehr Canal which both before and after the wall was considered a desolate waste land. After the fall of the wall Senator Hassener commissioned the “Potsdamer and Leipziger Platz Competition for Urban Design Ideas” which was won by Munich based architects Heinz Himmler and Christoph Sattler. These designs were in accompaniment with that of Renzo Piano and Helmut Jahn, both ideas were backed by Sony which inevitably lead to the Sony Centre.
The design of the quarter was important that it incorporated many different issues, such as reconciling the public interest against commercial interests, the integration of transport systems, and deciding on the style of architecture. All these factors would have inevitably influenced the metropolitan lifestyle that was wanted by many in Berlin. What can be seen today in Potsdamer Platz is what is described as a seemingly successful compromise; the Sony Centre has a very American feel, whilst the tree lined Marlene Dietrich Platz is very European. Both these factors should in thought produce a beautiful centre to the capital, it should have a buzzing atmosphere and represent a new start for Berlin, yet when visiting there, as many have pointed out previously the quarter has a very empty and false feel. Whilst the rest of central Berlin has a mountain of history piled into nearly every street corner, the out, graffiti covered buildings tell stories and show what the city has been through, but in the brand new, glass lined Potsdamer Platz the feeling is not continued. The modern buildings and wide open, empty roads leave the section feeling as if it was air lifted in from another city, of which it would possibly fit in well. As the quarter was part designed by many Europeans and Americans, it does not feel authentically German, or even like you’re standing in Berlin, but more like an American or different European city.