16 July 2009

The Road Out of Town – Pt.1


Blurbanism ∕ Buildings

Berlin often feels like a vast prairie. There are occasional dense patches where, from a certain standpoint, and squinting through the early evening sunlight in the correct direction, it’s possible to feel as though one might actually be standing in the middle of a metropole, and not in some wheat field with museums.

These large open spaces strip back the flesh of the city to reveal the medieval structures below. One consequence of this is that many of the the roads which used to lead out of town, still feel like the roads which lead out of town, even though they no longer do.

Cahoona Drive-In Coffee: Berlin’s greatest architectural achievement.

A case in point is Leipziger Straße, a thoroughfare running on an east-west axis and ending up at Potsdamer Platz which, in days of yore, used to be one of the city’s major gates. Infrastructurally speaking, little has been done to ‘correct’ the feeling that you are about to leave the city. In fact, some architectural features actually accentuate this feeling, as in the Cahoona Hawaiian Drive-In Coffee Shack pictured above.

Now, I guess if I was cruising out of town with my lady in one of these, then I might be inclined to pull over and order two quarter-gallon jugs of espresso before hitting the road in search of sun, surf and sand-dunes.

Sometimes I think Berlin’s fed up of being a city, and that it’d actually much rather go back to being a swampy little provincial garrison town, so uninspiring that they built a wall around it not to defend it from attack from outside, but to stop the soldiers stationed inside from deserting. But it’s exactly this schism that allows oddities like the Cahoona Hawaiian Drive-In Coffee Hut to exist in the first place.