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Potsdamer Platz History In the 1920s and 30s, Potsdamer Platz was the busiest and one of the liveliest squares in Europe. It was a major public transport hub and a popular entertainment district pulsating with life: the area contained numerous bars, cafes and cinemas. This all came to an abrupt end in 1943 when Potsdamer Platz was reduced to ruins by allied bombing. After the Second World War, the square was located between the American, British and Russian sectors and became a no-man’s land. The area was completely flattened with the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 when the remaining buildings on the east side of the wall were pulled down. In essence, after being ravaged by war, bombs and the demolition ball, the square was a no-man’s land between East and West Berlin for more than four decades. After the fall of the Berlin Wall it was decided to rebuild the whole, almost fifty hectare (124 acre) large area. Construction started in 1994 and for many years Potsdamer Platz was the largest construction site in Europe. The square, together with several adjacent blocks were redeveloped by renowned architects from around the world following a masterplan created by the Munich-based architectural firm of Hilmer & Sattler. The project included the construction of several office towers, a shopping arcade, an entertainment center and residential buildings as well as the necessary infrastructure such as streets and subway tunnels. The first building completed was the Debis Tower, a high-rise designed by Renzo Piano. It is part of the Daimler-Chrysler-Areal, one of three complexes that were built around the square. It is home to office towers, a shopping arcade and an Imax theatre. Piano placed particular importance on the quality of the public spaces: streets, lanes and squares modelled on the traditional European city center with attractive pavement cafés and shops. Another complex, bordering Tiergarten, is the more subdued Beisheim Center, which contains offices, hotels and residential buildings. The third and most famous complex is the Sony Center, designed by Helmut Jahn, an American architect of German descent. It features a tent-like roof inspired by Japan’s mount Fuji. The unmistakable symbol of the Sony Center, which opened in 2001, is an enormous white marquee-shaped roof covering the plaza of the center which consists of six buildings. At night, this spectacular roof construction of steel, glass and fabric is lit up with a kaleidoscope of color designed to reflect the changing nuances between sunset and complete darkness. The three complexes join together at Potsdamer Platz where three modern towers symbolize the rebirth of Potsdamer Platz. The wedge-shaped building on the left, the PwC building, was designed by Renzo Piano. The central brick tower is the Kollhoff-tower, named after its architect Hans Kollhoff. On the 24th and 25th floor of the tower is the Panoramapunkt, an observation deck with an open-air viewing platform. The third tower is the Bahn-Tower, a 26-story tower with a curved glass facade, designed by Helmut Jahn and built in 1998-2000.]]>