I was back in Berlin in April and revisited a favourite urban park, ‘Park Am Gleisdreieck’, and its second completed stage. See our post about the first.

The newly completed section of park continues the simple, structured language of the first but feels a little more programmed and active. This appropriately reflects its more urban edges and that this part of the park forms a connective city axis to Potsdamer Platz and onwards to the city’s traditional centre.

A varied band of activity spaces populate the park’s western flank including, of course, numerous Berlin-ubiquitous table tennis tables. This spine notionally cuts across into the park’s centre in the form of a highly graphical multi-play zone. I generally like these sorts of artificial terrains, and the contrast between the textured brick bridge pylons and bright rubber is great, but the spaces didn’t quite feel right. Their undulations might get a little lost in the vastness of the park and perhaps it’s just a little too much of a good thing.

The eastern edge of the park is a little quieter but includes some very popular timber bleachers near the point where the park folds across into its earlier stage. The heavy timber of the bleachers is used elsewhere to form substantial furniture. These rudimentarily-detailed pieces transcend being mere benches and form space structuring elements, necessary for a park of this scale. The new park spaces don’t quite have the ready-made structure provided by the remnant ecologies of the first, but this logic will emerge as new clusters of trees grow.

A fantastic aspect of the new park is its relationship to trains, the past use of the park site. Whereas in the first stage their presence only persists through remnant tracks (and the bridges that abut the southern edge) in the second stage two modern transit lines cross overhead via the Gleisdreieck U-bahn station. They are not disruptive and rather provide an appropriate sound and spectacle for this, the more urban, lively flank of the large park. -NJ