The death of Berlin Tegel (TXL) airport’s architect Meinhard von Gerkan (1935 – 2022) a few days ago is an occasion to repost a few pictures from TXL’s closing day on November 7th 2020.
Tegel Airport new terminal opened in opened in 1974 was the amazing „journeyman’s piece“ of a gifted architect who won the architectural competition just a months after graduating from Technische Universität Braunschweig in 1964.
Loved by airline aficionados and architecture buffs alike for its ingenious satellite layout which minimizes distances throughout the whole air travel process and coherent design incorporating geometrical shapes, mostly triangels and hexagons.
Besides heading right for the 2020/21 COVID-winter Berlin threw TXL a farewall party with open terminals and even a few farewell flights around Berlin.
Meinhard von Gerkan also designed the successor and now only airport of Germany’s capital. As many would argue, Gerkan’s late work BER does not live up to his dashing and ambitious entrance.
Personally, I share many fond memories of this very special airport. I first landed there in spring 1988, when this was still a “special use”-airport of an enclosed city.
Even though I never lived in Berlin, my flight was called on these boards 27 times on trips to 6 destinations, including our honeymoon, on 7 airlines – some of them rather exotic such as EuroBerlin or Hapag-Lloyd Express.
Into the new millennium TXL really bursted at its’ seams and it was less and less funny to sit in the packed boarding gates or the drafty makeshift additional terminals. My last landing there was in January 2018 on Germania returning from a ferry cruise to the Canary Islands.
Not all those flighs were memorable, yet I will never forget my first one to TXL: My dad and I travelled on a BA Boeing 737-200 and I remember him chatting to an elderly lady from West Berlin, who returned from visiting her children in southern Germany. During the final approach my dad told her that he hoped that one day Berlin would be a part of reunified Germany again. She was sceptical that even her grandchildren would live to see the day. One and a half year later the wall came down.