East-West Side Gallery Bridge
What should have been pulled down stone by stone 23 years ago as a symbol for the overdue DDR regime is now protected as a memorial by citizens’ initiatives: A part of the ‘Grenzmauer’ known as East Side Gallery between Schilling- and Oberbaum-Bridge in Berlin is supposed to give way to luxury apartments with a view on the spree. The historic scarf is threatened to disappear due to cosmetic surgery by the authorities and investors.
A new passenger bridge at the position of the earlier Brommybridge makes use of the former symbols of the separation of Germany to connect East and West again: The concrete elements rotated by 90 degrees form two surfaces which are divided above eye-height by the bottom area of the ‘Grenzmauer’. The bridge as a symbol of connection separates the passengers at the same time and let them experience the still existing conflicts in the reunited country. A glass balustrade on top of the concrete pipes allows an unspoiled view on the spree and interferes as less as possible with the presence of the wall elements.
This new presentation of the East Side Gallery is a tightrope walk between the conservation of historic cultural assets and the will to needful change. The concept has the same conflict potential as the general discussion about its demolition; it certainly provides the opportunity to build the bridge from newly produced wall parts and provide this green body to further ‘artistic’ interpretation.