The Westend of Charlottenburg is named after the West End of London. A hub of performance art and entertainment, the centre of Westend is Theodor-Heuss-Platz, an intersection branching off into four roads; Masurenallee to the radio tower and the broadcasting houses in the south-east, the Reichstrasse to the Olympic Stadium in the north-west, Heerstrasse which connects with Spandau to the west, and Kaiserdamm, which runs eastwards through Charlottenburg and to the Victory Column intersection at the Tiergarten.
In Westend, frequent trade fairs and professional conferences attract business people, both local and foreign. The British administration set up shop here, in several hotels and converted office buildings. They are staffed by foreign dignitaries and military personnel—who live and work here and seek entertainment in the district after hours. Working here is considered very prestigious. The police patrols are frequent and most office buildings have their own security equipment. Information is the currency of this place–the networks compete for the latest scoop, the multinationals need information to invest, and every second foreigner here is a spook. A high awareness is maintained as it is a nice neighbourhood—and anything strange is going to get noticed.
The exhibition grounds is a complex of buildings with 26 halls in all, covering 160,000 square metres. The premises are bounded by Masurenallee, Messedamm, and Jaffestrasse. Across from the exhibition grounds on Masurenallee is the broadcasting headquarters (Haus des Rundfunks) of Berlin. The Funkturm Berlin, another Berlin landmark, is a spindly radio tower that can be seen from almost any vantage point in the grounds.
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Deutschlandhalle is an arena-sized concert hall with an entrance on the south side of the grounds. Since the rebuilding, it has been West Berlin's primary event space, hosting sport events and concerts of famous international artists. The concert hall has a capacity of 10,000 people, and can be set up with a stage and seats as needed. The interior space is similar in size to a large aircraft hangar.
Haus des Rundfunks
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- Status: Media
The House of Broadcasting is a sprawling building dedicated entirely to radio. The building forms the shape of a rounded triangle, with a 150 metres long facade set with black bricks and red-brown ceramic tiles, facing Masurenallee. A large central complex of broadcasting rooms separates the interior into two courtyards. The office and editorial rooms are located on the outer areas of the building. The wings of the building act as soundproofing and shields the broadcasting rooms from environmental noise.
The main network is Sender Freies Berlin (Radio Free Berlin), the primary broadcaster of West Berlin and member of ARD, the Consortium of Public Broadcasters in Germany. They broadcast the programs SFB1 and SFB2, and a program for immigrants and foreign workers—SFB3, and NDR's Third Programme—a high culture and classical music station, and KONTRASTE—a political program that concentrates on developments in the Eastern bloc. SFB is also a television broadcaster, relaying ARD's channel Das Erste.
Perhaps reflecting the aesthetics of the 1930's, the hallways of the Haus des Rundfunks are painted bright yellow. The yellow contrasts with the glossy black of the floors and the black bricks of the supporting pillars. The stairs and balconies have thick, grid-like railings. An oblong-shaped lamp illuminates the great hall underneath a large skylight.
This complex of buildings is called /Messegelaende/, which means “exhibition grounds” or “trade fair centre”. There are 26 halls in all, covering 160,000 square metres and connected to each other via covered walkways. The complex is sparkling and modern, with six new halls constructed just in the last five years. Throughout the year, trade shows and exhibitions draw huge crowds.
North-west of the district is the Olympic stadium built for the 1936 Summer Olympics. Commissioned by Adolf Hitler and designed by architect Werner March, the grounds plan consisted of the Olympiastadion, the Maifeld (Mayfield), the Waldbuehne Ampitheatre, and facilities for various sports such as football, swimming, equestrian events, and field hockey.
The Olympischer-Platz was built in the typical grandiose fashion of National Socialists. It is a large square leading up to the stadium, with the two columns of stone towering over the plaza. The Olympic rings are suspended on wires in between the two columns. Flag poles are lined up symmetrically along the plaza. In this area the British administration had taken over some of the buildings and repurposed them for their own needs.
The Olympiastadion has a capacity of 110,000 spectators. It is still in use today for Bundesliga football matches and as the home stadium of Hertha BSC. West of it is the Maifeld, a large lawn originally used for gymnastic demonstrations and parades. It is now used by the British for their annual Queen's Birthday celebrations, and for cricket matches. The Waldbuehne Ampitheatre holds classical music concerts and movie screenings. On most days, foot traffic is heavy in this lively area with plenty of events.
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The Olympic Stadium was built like the Colosseum. Round and multi-tiered, it can seat up to 110,000 spectators, with an array of VIP stands, press boxes, lounge seats, business seats, and regular seats. Its western side has a roughly 50-metre area left open for the Marathon Gate, the gate where torch bearers pass through to light the Olympic flame. On the ground level, an athletic track wraps around a large football (soccer) field.
Once the location for the notorious 1936 Summer Olympics, this stadium was given a new lease of life when it was acquired by Hertha BSC. Now it is the site for national Bundesliga matches held in Berlin. Tens of thousands of fans gather here for Bundesliga season which runs from August til May.
This is the last station of the U2 line and here the platform comes up above-ground. The entrance building has a curved brick front and bright red shutters and doors. The platform is shielded from the elements by a curved sheet roof.
The centre of Westend is Theodor-Heuss-Platz, an intersection branching off into four roads; Masurenallee to the radio tower and the broadcasting houses in the south-east, the Reichstrasse to the Olympic Stadium in the north-west, Heerstrasse which connects with Spandau to the west, and Kaiserdamm, which runs eastwards through Charlottenburg and to the Victory Column intersection at the Tiergarten.
The traffic square is oval in shape; on its southern end are three buildings—the Edinburgh House, the Deutschlandhaus, the Amerikahaus. On its eastern edge is the TV centre of Sender Freies Berlin (SFB), which is close by to the Haus des Rundfunks. An eternal flame monument was erected in the square to commemorate the Flight and Expulsion of Germans (from Eastern Europe and former eastern territories of Germany) during and after WWII.
This building, on the south end of the square adjacent to the Deutschlandhaus, is run by the British NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes). Here you can find food, alcohol, and cigarettes sold for cheap, a store selling military surplus items, a canteen, a cinema, and an NCO's club. The club is functional and minimalistic, filled with smoke during peak hours and British servicemen getting drunk on cheap alcohol. The newspapers and magazines are in English and the radio is tuned in to the BBC.
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This building lies in between the Amerikahaus and the Edinburgh House. It was the studio of Fernsehsender "Paul Nipkow" (TV Station Paul Nipkow), the first public television station in the world. As with many Nazi firsts, this program was shut down after the Allied advancement into Berlin. This studio is now managed privately and available for rent. The footage of the old Paul Nipkow program is still stored in archives beyond its doors.
The Edinburgh House was built as a British Forces guest house and officer's hotel. Official visitors and dependents' families are typically invited to stay the hotel. The hotel has a box-shaped 60's design, with six storeys, and its facade broken up by the square balconies jutting out from each unit. The ground floor of the hotel has a bar and an officer's mess. The reception area is luxurious, quiet and clean.
The subway station underneath Theodor-Heuss-Platz has two platforms in opposite directions, which are not connected. Passengers have to cross the street to reach the other platform. This station has off-white tiles and grey steel beams as central pillars.