Competition 1965 – 1st Prize
Design Meinhard von Gerkan with Klaus Nickels
Partner Volkwin Marg, Klaus Staratzke, Karsten Brauer, Rolf Niedballa
Project team Marina Auder, Ursula August, Gerd Bickenbach, Carsten Brockstedt, Hans Buchka, Hans Dieke, Bernd Eickemeyer, Uwe Ferdinand, Gudrun Fleher, Andreas Franz, Lothar Gerhardt, Maren Gräbner, Rudolf Henning, Wolfgang Hertel, Hans Herzlieb, Wulf Hönnicke, Christian von Hopfgarten, Manfred Illig, Barbara Nehmeyer, Damir Perisic, Peter Römer, Gottfried Seule, Helge Pitz, Christel Schmitt, Manfred Wetter, Gretchen Ziese, Werner Zimmer
Client Berliner Flughafen-Gesellschaft mbH
Construction period 1970–1975
Covered area 28,000 m²
Klassik-Nike Goes to Berlin-Tegel Airport!
On the verge of retirement – but still receiving testimonials. In early July, a very special honor was bestowed on the first project in the gmp portfolio: The Association of German Architects chose Berlin-Tegel to receive the Klassik-Nike award. The jury explained its decision as follows:
“For decades the Berlin-Tegel airport, initially designed in 1965 and inaugurated in 1974, has symbolized the beginnings of a virtually unique architectural career. Tegel has enriched the collective narrative of the architectural community with the immortal anecdote of how its young, freshly graduated architects fabricated a Potemkin-like office to impress a visiting delegation whom they mistakenly believed to be representatives of the client.
“A combination of fortunate circumstances rendered Berlin-Tegel unique in several ways: A previously unknown office actually managed to win a competition without having to make any concessions on the original design – unthinkable nowadays. Along with Schneider-Esleben’s Cologne/Bonn airport designed at roughly the same time, Tegel was a prototype for an entire generation of airports worldwide. As the ‘airport of short distances,’ it placed passengers at the center. This, too, would be impossible today, due not only to stricter security requirements but also and above all to the ‘mall-ization’ of air transport.
“Although formally recognizable as a child of its time, Tegel stands for unobtrusive design and serviceability, which is the very genius of its conception. The formal motif of the hexagon originally extended from the floor tiles to the overall urban-planning shape of the terminal building. Much to the architects’ chagrin, the second hexagon featured in the design was never built; instead, banal stopgap solutions were attached that could not, however, compromise the forceful and distinctive character of the main terminal.
“Despite a drastic increase in passenger numbers, Tegel has continued to perform superbly for over forty years. Thus Berlin-Tegel Airport stands as a perfect representative of the central ideas behind the ‘Klassik-Nike.’”