Jun 2, 2022–Jan 31, 2023

Airports of the Allies

The Architectural Heritage - Photographs by Mila Hacke
Am Flugplatz Gatow 33, 14089 Berlin Map
Tue–Sun 10 am–6 pm

The exhibition presents large-format photos of Allied buildings in two large rooms in the Tower building, pointing out architectural icons and unknown gems. Among the special new buildings of the Allied military infrastructure in the city of Berlin were cultural buildings, on the one hand to bring U.S. culture closer to the German population, and on the other hand libraries, cinemas and theaters for the Allied soldiers and their families, such as the Karlshorst Dramatic Theater, built as early as 1949. Schools, sports facilities and churches were also built for the partially self-sufficient settlements of the Western Allies. The military infrastructure of the Four Powers also included airports, military stations, barracks, and military training areas - only a few examples of which are shown in the "highlight show" of the photo exhibition. The photos show the architectural heritage of the Allies from today's perspective in reunified Berlin.

The photographer's precise eye presents a world of varied architecture, from cultural buildings to infrastructure structures. Mila Hacke's architectural photographs are clear, colorful, and elevate architecture to the stage. As she has been pushing her artistic research since 2008 with several exhibitions and smaller funded photo and research projects, in the exhibition we also see buildings that have already been demolished and large panoramas in all seasons.

The exhibition kicks off with the former Four Headquarters, the Air Security Headquarters of the Four Powers, as well as the Allied Command and the current Russian Embassy. Even though the exhibition focuses on architecture, it also uses this approach to convey the political and historical situation at the time of its creation during the Cold War. Architecture can be a means of demonstrating power and propaganda and, through its style, convey social ideals such as transparency and cosmopolitanism. However, architecture can also be reinterpreted and offers the possibility of using it differently or even with the same concept of use under changed political conditions. "Architecture offers a door to visitation and a gateway to history," is how architectural photographer Mila Hacke describes the motto of her commitment to architecture as cultural heritage. "I use photography as a medium of research! This allows me to artistically intuitively turn on the filter of translation from 3D reality to two-dimensional interpretation. In the focused image, I can reveal references through dialogue with other buildings I have photographed and archival photos from the construction period."

The architectural photographer and curator of the photo exhibition has initiated a website www.karlshorst-tour.kulturring.berlin with the Kulturring von Berlin and, in cooperation with the Militärhistorisches Museum Flugplatz Berlin-Gatow, the AlliiertenMuseum and the Museum Karlshorst, has produced a handout on each of these three historical sites for visitors to take away with them in the exhibition.

Allied air sovereignty meant that all flights in and over Berlin had to be cleared by the Four Powers until reunification in 1990. Only Allied airlines could land in West Berlin, Tegel Airport (TXL) and Tempelhof Airport (THF), while the GDR operated Schönefeld Central Airport (SXF) south of its capital Berlin, and this became a popular airport for destinations in the Eastern Bloc for West Berliners as well. U.S. President Harry S. Truman and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill landed at Gatow for the 1945 Potsdam Conference.

Starting in October, listening stations with radio archival voices and an accompanying film without sound with recordings from the state and federal archives will complement the exhibition and bring Berlin's airports to life.