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  • Writer's pictureMatti Geyer

The 10 Ugliest Buildings in Berlin & Potsdam

Updated: 2 days ago

Prepare yourselves, architecture enthusiasts and curious souls, for a journey into the realm of the bizarre, the unorthodox, and the downright hideous! We're taking a detour through the back alleys of Berlin and Potsdam to uncover the architectural eyesores that defy all conventional standards of aesthetics. Brace yourselves for a rollercoaster ride through the top 10 ugliest buildings in these cities, where each structure is a testament to the saying, "What were they thinking?" Get ready to cringe, laugh, and maybe shed a tear for good taste, because this tour is anything but pretty!


1. Heizwerk Scharnhorststraße

Behold the Heizwerk Scharnhorststraße, a.k.a. the "Giant Eyesore of Northern Berlin." This 150-meter chimney isn't just an industrial structure; it's a skyline hijacker, ruining every photo op within a mile radius. Built in 1979, it's been belching fumes and defying aesthetics ever since. They even spruced it up in 2013 with new water boilers because, apparently, more ugliness equals more efficiency? It's currently the second tallest building in Mitte. But there's hope: It will finally be taken down in the summer of 2024!



2. The Back of the Humboldt Forum

The Berliner Humboldt-Forum, nestled next to the UNESCO Museum Island, promises architectural grandeur but delivers a modern facade that's about as exciting as watching paint dry. With its prime location, you'd expect something jaw-dropping, but instead, we get a bland and uninspiring addition that sticks out like a sore thumb. It's like the architects took a wrong turn at the intersection of history and modernity and ended up with the architectural equivalent of a beige cardigan. So if you're looking for excitement, you won't find it here—just a building that's as thrilling as watching paint dry on a rainy day.


3. The new S-Bahn station Warschauer Straße

The new S-Bahn station at Warschauer Straße is a missed opportunity in the heart of Berlin's vibrant graffiti culture. With its uninspiring brown facade and plain concrete walls, it sticks out like a sore thumb in a neighborhood known for its creativity. It's as inspiring as a brown paper bag. They aimed for drab and dreary, and they hit the mark right on the nose.


4. Blu in Potsdam

So, you're strolling through picturesque Potsdam, taking in the charming historic architecture, and then BAM! You come across "Blu" - a windowless, grey cube smack dab in the middle of the city. Seriously, who thought that was a good idea? It's like someone plucked a dreary office building from the 1970s and plopped it down in the heart of this beautiful town. And to add insult to injury, they threw in a yellow water slide sticking out like a sore thumb. Even the politicians agree it's too ugly to ignore, but attempts to spruce it up with plants or street art were scrapped faster than you can say "eyesore", because of financial reasons. So much for blending in with the charm of Potsdam!


5. Palasseum

The Pallasseum, known as the "Social Palace," is like a concrete relic from the Brutalist era that refuses to blend into Berlin's Schöneberg skyline. With its charmless facade and cramped quarters, it's the architectural equivalent of a grumpy old neighbor who refuses to mow their lawn. Over the years, it went from a symbol of modern living to a social hotspot for all the wrong reasons. But with a little community magic (and some paint), it's slowly transforming into something less... well, ugly.


6. Leipziger Straße

Welcome to the Leipziger Straße complex, a shining example of how communist architecture went terribly wrong. Picture giant, soulless buildings lining a giant, cold street - it's like a concrete jungle where you definitely don't want to spend your time. It's the kind of place that makes you appreciate the cozy charm of other parts of the city. But hey, at least it's in the middle of things, right? So you can quickly escape to a more aesthetically pleasing neighborhood.


7. Fischerinsel

Welcome to Fischerinsel, where you might think you've escaped the dreariness of Leipziger Straße, but oh no - it just got worse! Imagine grey high-rise buildings, lining a grey street, with some grey new builds thrown in for good measure. And here's the kicker - this was once the medieval core of Berlin! Talk about the worst city planning of post-WW2 Berlin! Back in the 1960s, they bulldozed historical buildings without a second thought, making room for these monolithic eyesores. Now, they're thinking of squeezing even more buildings into this concrete jungle, because apparently, the architects of the past didn't think they'd packed in enough grey.


8. Alexa

Ah, Alexa Shopping Center, trying so hard to stand out on Alexanderplatz, which let's face it, is the ugliest square in the city. But congratulations, Alexa, you did it! Your architecture and exterior are the epitome of "ugly." Even the former Mayor Klaus Wowereit couldn't hold back, calling your windowless facade "hideous" multiple times. And let's not forget the historical irony - where Alexa now stands was once the infamous Gestapo headquarters, affectionately known as "the Red Bastion." Oh, the irony!


9. Wilhelmstrasse residential block

Imagine you're at the iconic Brandenburg Gate, the heart of Berlin and Germany. You walk just five minutes away and suddenly find yourself transported to what feels like a suburb straight out of a communist dystopia. Ugly concrete blocks, wide streets devoid of any urban flair - all right in the heart of Berlin! But wait, it gets worse. The local government has gone ahead and listed these buildings, binding them to remain as they are. Yes, you heard that right. Those drab, uninspiring buildings are here to stay, haunting the otherwise vibrant cityscape of Berlin. Welcome to the paradox of Wilhelmstraße, where history clashes with modernity, and urban charm takes a backseat to bureaucratic decisions.


10. Mehringplatz

Mehringplatz: Once a majestic square, now a battleground of bad architecture! It did not survive World War II, and then faced the horror of 60s and 70s city planners. They turned a picturesque spot into a concrete jungle!


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