Tempelhof – Articulating the void

Title: Tempelhof – Articulating the void

Author: Niamh Lincoln

Year: 2015

Abstract: Tempelhofer Feld presents a very particular form of public space, as a 386-hectare vacuum in the city of Berlin. Exploring the dynamics and peculiarities that contribute to the experience and understanding of such a unique space requires not only an exploration of Tempelhof’s historical and architectural context, but an examination of the notion of ‘void’ space in an urban setting. In the particular context of Berlin’s history, “even empty of objects, these spaces retain an immense amount of content and weight.”1

The concept of ‘void’ is related to theories of urban sociology, in particular Henri Lefebvre’s approach to the production of space and the right to the city. Does framing Tempelhof within these paradigms suggest a potential trajectory or future?

Can the success of Tempelhof’s reclamation as public space translate to other contexts? Does the prolonged ambiguity of Tempelhof’s status contribute to a sense of vacuum or, as Tempelhof transcends into a more formalised public space, could the sense of liberation intrinsic to its current state disappear?


1 Christophe Girot, “Eulogy of the void. The lost power of Berlin landscapes after the wall”, Disp 156, (2004), p.39