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Meinhard von Gerkan, German architect who designed Berlin airport, dies at 87

Written by ReutersBerlin, Germany

Meinhard von Gerkan, one in every of Germany’s most well-known architects who designed Berlin’s Tegel Airport and the capital’s major railway station, has died at age 87, his workplace mentioned on Thursday.

Born in Riga, Latvia in 1935, von Gerkan grew up as a foster youngster in Hamburg after his father was killed on the japanese entrance throughout World Battle II and his mom died quickly afterward whereas fleeing as a refugee from Poland.

A yr after graduating from his structure research in 1964, von Gerkan based a partnership with Volkwin Marg, which survives underneath the identify “von Gerkan, Marg und Companion” (gmp).

A view of the Berlin’s Tegel Airport, which closed in 2020. Credit score: Adobe Inventory

They quickly gained an award for designing Tegel Airport, one of many major gateways linking West Berlin, then an exclave of democratic West Germany deep inside Communist East Germany, with the remainder of the world. The airport closed in 2020.

Von Gerkan additionally designed Berlin’s major railway station, which is close to the chancellery and within reach of the Reichstag parliament’s glass cupola, although he fell out with rail operator Deutsche Bahn, which he mentioned mutilated his design.

Von Gerkan’s design envisaged a vaulted ceiling for the underground part of the station, however Deutsche Bahn, underneath strain to complete the work in time for the 2006 soccer World Cup, selected a flat steel roof as an alternative.

Outer view of the Hauptbahnhof central station in Berlin, Germany.

Outer view of the Hauptbahnhof central station in Berlin, Germany. Credit score: Andia/Common Pictures Group/Getty Pictures

Von Gerkan mentioned Deutsche Bahn had made the underground corridor seem like a grocery store when it ought to have been an undulating, cathedral-like house.

“That is simply pure disfigurement,” he mentioned.

In 2008, Bahn and von Gerkan settled their dispute, with the rail operator paying an undisclosed sum to a basis arrange by the architect’s workplace.

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