Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
Coffee & Culture
When you are walking through the oldest part of Berlin, Friedrichswerder, which was built at the end of the 17th century, you might need a rest from looking at the (still to be rebuilt) Stadtschloss, the Berlin Mint or the Bauakademie.
Can you imagine that - when you only want a cup of coffee - you have to pass a security control first? 'Put your jacket and the handbag into the basin, please', says the friendly security guard of the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, then you walk through the scanner.
Yes - EVERYBODY has entry to the Atrium of the former Reichsbank. A fine Light Court with a historical panorama view through 30 x 20 metres glass wall - kept by a wire rope anchorage construction. Beautiful: the glass ribbons of the American artist James Carpenter, which change colour by light. The Old (1934) and the New Building (1999) of the Federal Foreign Office are impressing (you can see it as a whole only on a special visitor's day). The Old Building served as the Reichsbank from 1934 to 1938. In 1959 the Socialist Unity Party of the GDR chose it at their headquarters. The New Building was designed by the architects Thomas Müller and Ivan Reimann - with a stunning transparent facade of glass and travertine stone, three inner courts (sorry, you can only visit the first - and its 'garden' with citrus trees, mimosa and jasmine is very easy to take in).
Inside the Atrium at the left you find the Coffee Shop. While you drink your coffee you can look at the Friedrichwerder Church (built 1824 - 1830 under Karl Friedrich Schinkel) or the Bauakademie (from 1905 - they are restaurating it - you see only a Potemkin facade):
Even if you are not that interested in the building: the coffee is worth it!
("We use real milk with 3,5 % fat for the foam, not that thin UHT milk", the barista proudly tells me). You can try this at home.