The Society for Market Halls and Cold Storage was founded in Hamburg in the year 1890. Six years later, they commissioned their first compound in Berlin, an ice factory with a cold storage unit attached to it.
However, the demand for fresh produce kept increasing, and the facilities were soon incapable of handling the amount of trade going through them. As a result of this, in the year 1901, Europe’s biggest cold storage unit was built on a plot between Luckenwalder and Trebbiner Straße, along with the Gleisdreieck rail station.
The compound consisted of three buildings, Kühlhaus I, Kühlhaus II, and an administration building. The two storage units measured more than nine thousand square meters and even had their own connection to the city’s railway network through Anhalter Güterbahnhof.
The compound is a neo-gothic building, evoking memories of the unique brick buildings of northern Germany. The building’s endoskeleton, however, was modern in both style and function, and made from steel. For the first time on a large scale, reinforced concrete was used for the ceilings of the separate floors.
In the fifties, the building was used as a storage hall for the city’s emergency reserves, since it suffered virtually no damage in the war. Many of the decorative elements on the roof and the façade were removed at this time.
Despite the excellent state they were in, the city decided to demolish the southernmost buildings of the compound in 1979. Only the Kühlhaus II was left, and its days were also numbered – plans were already made to destroy the building.
Kühlhaus II was saved and then listed through the efforts of the architect Dr. Helmut Meier.
The future of Kühlhaus Berlin is bright. The owners are in the process of re-modelling this fascinating and challenging building, focusing on realising the potential of the currently unused spaces. This means that the future potential of the Kühlhaus Berlin is unlimited.