Funkhaus Berlin: A Facility With an Illustrious Past

Walk down Köpenicker Chaussee, past Club Sisyphus, into industrial area that looks like an abandoned cold-war nuclear facility. When you see the alien spacecraft, you’ll know you’ve arrived at the Funkhaus, a mysterious one of a kind landmark of Berlin music culture.

The Funkhaus is not an all night disco – funk means radio in german– rather, it’s a colossal East German structure that used to be the largest radio-broadcasting site in the world. Think of it as the BBC of the DDR. After the fall of the wall, and despite a series of ambiguous ownerships since the 90’s, the Funkhaus maintained its relevance renting out its numerous studios to artists. Today the facility is a treasure trove for musicians, sound designers, producers, film directors, performance artists, and a great resource for anyone interested in Berlin history or architecture.

Berlin’s Ethical Fashion Show opens at new Funkhaus venue

The Funkhaus was built in 1951 at a time when Berlin was carved up by Allied powers. East and west Berlin had just begun a decades long competitive tradition of who could make their part of the city look more prosperous. Radio was emerging as a battleground for political ideology and the Deutsche Democratic Republic needed a way to compete with broadcasts coming from the West.

The DDR chose famous Bauhaus architect Franz Ehrlich to lead the design of a massive new broadcasting center. As a communist Ehrlich had spent half of the previous decade as a prisoner of the Third Reich, forced to build entryway arches to concentration camps. Now his job was to create the world’s largest and most sophisticated recording facility. It promised to be an ideal marriage of German functionality and Eastern decadence. The DRR gave him a generous budget and Ehrlich’s work turned out to be the greatest of his life.

Skunkfunk’s CEO at Berlin’s Ethical Fashion Show

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