I participated in a guided tour of the buildings at Berlin Tempelhof. The massive arced main building was created for many purposes: arrivals, departures, hanger space for planes, restaurants and services, etc. The original plan was to create spectator seating on the roof that could accommodate thousands of people to watch the airfield.
Perhaps my favorite part of the tour was hearing the stories of how people interacted with the buildings. Who conceptualized and built the structures, who used them and why, the memories of the ‘Raisin Bombers’ heard from the people in our tour, the top secret listening rooms with in the buildings, all of these made the walls seem to come alive.
It felt wonderful to be in the Arrivals Hall again and remember a snowy December evening when I arrived there shortly before the airport was finally decommissioned. I was awe struck by the high ceilings and the consistent palate of browns and tans. It was so completely different from any other airport that I had ever experienced.
I feel lucky to have witnessed Tempelhof as a functioning airport and now as a multifaceted gem in the middle of Berlin.