Photo essay dedicated to a one-of-a-kind location: Berlin’s Tempelhof airport.
Or: what you get if you make an airport in the middle of a city, then take out all the airplanes, and then let the people run wild.
This is Berlin’s Tempelhof, which can be easily googled for hard facts. Today it is as it was when closed down, several years ago. a massive semi-circular building now sits, apparently mostly unused, on one side of the airfield. But it is the goings-on inside, that really make this a unique place.
One area is reserved for barbecues, another hosts a huge children’s playground, built entirely out of recycled scraps of lumber. Another area is dedicated to raising plants, a small amphitheather hosts shows, a ferris wheel is being built out of wood. And again: skateboards of all sizes and bicycles with any number of gears can be rented for a couple of euros an hour, along with pedal-powered contraptions with anything from one wheel to some with six wheels. And then you have several kilometers of incredibly wide runways to knock yourself out.
Tempelhof airport is, simply put, a perfectly well-organized and self-regulated space capable of hosting tens of thousands of people at any one time. If you must go, do so soon. Posters pasted here and there say the city has grand plans for the area, which will be completely transformed by 2017.
Photo essay taken in june 2012.