The Potsdamer Platz is the old heart of Berlin serving as a junction between the old city center in East Berlin and what was formerly the new West Berlin. Together with Leipziger Platz, which is connected to it in the west, it lies directly in front of the former Potsdam city gate and the former customs and Berlin Wall.
Before the outbreak of World War II, Potsdamer Platz was one of the liveliest squares in all of Europe – but after the war it laid in ruins. And when the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, Potsdamer Platz remained an empty space in the middle of the city for 40 years. Only in the 1990’s, after German reunification had occurred, did it become the largest construction site in Europe. In the span of a few years, it became a new district characterized by numerous high-rise buildings and the Sony Center.
After reunification, however, Germany had the unique opportunity here of completely rebuilding a city district in the centre of a city The architects Heinz Hilmer and Christoph Sattler won the competition for rebuilding Potsdamer Platz / Leipziger Platz. Their concept was based on the model of the “European city,” which consciously decided against having dense high-rise buildings.
In 1993, construction began on the DaimlerChrysler headquarters based on a master plan drawn up by the architects Renzo Piano and Christoph Kohl Becker. The construction work was carried out by international star architects such as Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Arata Isozaki. At the biggest construction site in Europe, a new urban center arose from scratch in a period of just five years. Helmut Jahn’s Sony Center was completed in 2000 and has a futuristic aesthetic in contrast to the DaimlerChrysler headquarters. In early 2004, the elegant Beisheim Center opened at Lenné-Dreieck.
The Kollhoff Tower itself has 25 floors. The Panorama Point was completed in 1999. The ride in the fastest lift in all of Europe takes just 20 seconds. Then visitors can enter the 100 meter high viewing platform on the Kollhoff-Building at Potsdamer Platz.
Enjoy a fascinating view of Berlin – because, for starters, the panoramic platform at the Kollhoff Tower is an ideal place for looking at the former course of the Berlin Wall. On the east side of town, Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, the Cathedral and the Gendarmenmarkt can be seen. And on the west side, there is the Federal Chancellery, Bellevue Palace and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.