Ideas competition “Berlin Tomorrow : Ideas for the Heart of a city”

  • Berlin, Germany
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The meeting line


In order to translate the reversal of a situation long deemed hopelessly deadly, to express the determination that such a horror never happens again, to exorcise the existence of this no man’s land lying under a watchtower, I propose creating a meeting line that will run all the way along this long ribbon of a wound. A line crossed by all these streets so long closed, as well as by other, new ones. A serpent of verdure that’s a true ‘green’, marked out with optimistic little coloured lights reminiscent of the overlay of contours on a golf course or of a computor frame. All the way along this strip, there will be different sequences connected by covered passageways, quiet places for walks, babies, families, sports players and people who love vibrant places; for all the talkers, the hungry, the thirsty, regular customers, dancers, people who like to look on, readers, people mad about the city. It will have shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, terraces, florists, bookshops, retailers of music, sweets, bikes, toys, images, life. Wherever possible, let’s supplement all this with apartments that have balconies and offices that have views. So that this city finally dares look at itself and find itself beautiful from both sides.


Light up, colour in, expand!…  Enrich!


Obviously, on Friedrichstrasse, it won’t be a matter of just laboriously filling in empty urban spaces. The idea is to use and abuse all the oddities and surprises that define this specific place.



  • Empty spaces from one end to the other, at random…
  • Beginnings of a square that are more residual than intentional…
  • Gable walls that are blind and rather sad…
  • The lanes around the railway station and Checkpoint Charlie.



The perspectives that open out at the end of the sidestreets.

The sudden appearance of a communications tower or a dome between two buildings…


I propose:


  1. To make all the empty spaces on either side of the street public, with an expression of public land that’s signposted, documented, painted, lit, bordered, lined, cross-hatched: a surface area, a plan that speaks out, forcefully.
  2. To light up all the blind gables through branded low-density office blocks built against those walls. Friedrichstrasse will then be bathed in sequences of coloured light and with the logos of the companies that inhabit it.
  3. To dynamise the lanes around the station and Checkpoint Charlie with electronic billboards and electrical logos running at variable speeds.
  4. To mount signs on top of the existing buildings and illuminate them, at the end of prospective sidestreets, and to create other dynamic laneways.
  5. To create other things that will suddenly pop up in the interstitial spaces between two low-rise buildings, things that are true totems, symbolic signposts for new public buildings or major company headquarters. In short, to bring depth to the visual field and promote awareness of how great this city is.




Jean Nouvel