An abandoned ice factory sounds cool but I’m sorry to say it’s not. It’s not, because no factory making ice should ever be frozen out, especially if the damned thing is of historical importance, under Denkmalschutz as a protected or listed building. Now they want to destroy it altogether!
Eisfabrik on Köpenicker Straße had been churning out ice for the
inhabitants of this morally-challenged city since 1896 but its chilling
activities were halted 99 years later, and it’s been simply chilling
One of the oldest in Germany, it began under the stewardship of Carl Bolle
– known affectionately as “Bimmel-Bolle“ (Bell-Bolle) because of the
little bells on his dairy trucks – who founded the Norddeutsche Eiswerke
(North German Ice-works) in September 1872. He acquired Köpenicker
Straße 40-41 in 1893 and began producing ice here three years later.
Norddeutsche Eiswerke became Germany’s biggest natural ice producers,
and Herr Bolle had a larger factory and residential housing built here
in 1909/10. More works between 1913 and 1922 saw the building of the
boiler house, engine room and three cooling houses, which were insulated
with 15cm of cork between the walls.
great big ice machine from Linde AG was installed in 1914 to make
blocks of ice 1.5 metres long. In times without fridges, these were
delivered all over Berlin to breweries, pubs, households, fishmongers
etc.,apparently until the late 1970s at least.
Emergency” (as we Irish like to trivialise the war) and subsequent
partitioning of Germany (which should never to be trivialised), the
factory continued in GDR times as the VEB Kühlbetrieb before being
heartlessly abandoned by the Berliner Kühlhaus GmbH in 1995. I guess
most people had fridges then.
the old cooling houses were ripped down by, and under the “protection” of, the Treuhand Liegenschaftsgesellschaft.
original Treuhand was the state company responsible for the
privatisation of East German enterprises once the Wall came down,
generally responsible for the closing of factories, loss of jobs and
selling of assets.
Eisfabrik is now caught in the web of the huge Mediaspree project which
wants to allow corporate greed corrupt Berlin’s riversides with
apartments, office spaces and gold mines for investors. I guess this is
how they can demolish a listed building...
According to those who want to save Berlin’s Eisfabrik and Wikipedia,
the cool houses torn down last year were Europe’s oldest. The rest of
the factory is also to be destroyed, except for the apartments currently
undergoing modernisation (no doubt before the inhabitants are paid to
leave so they can be sold at wildly inflated prices). The ice factory
will be replaced by a building made of glass. Berlin is going to the
dogs. Not cool.
Eisfabrik. Abandoned ice factory, one of Germany’s oldest, which
managed to survive two world wars, several fires and countless parties
but is about to meet its fate at the hands of developers to make way for
luxury apartments despite being a protected building. There's a nice
view of the river and my beloved Fernsehturm from the roof, and it’s
also home to some fine street art.
Köpenicker Straße 40/41, 10179 Berlin, Germany.
How to get there
It’s very central so shouldn’t be a problem. Berlin Ostbahnhof is a two minute walk away. Here’s a map to make it even easier.
as difficult as I thought it would be. Apparently there used to be
security but they don’t seem to bother anymore, probably since they
destroyed the cool houses. Simply stroll in past the offices to the left
of the factory, ignoring any busybodies on the way, past the loose
fence at the back and you’re in!
When to go
soon as you can. Winter’s coming, light’s failing, and this baby’s days
are numbered. It’s already too late to see the cool houses, but the
rest should be savoured before it’s replaced by some overpaid
architect’s hideous creation.
2/10. Central, easy to get in – not difficult at all.
Who to bring
All your friends. Have a party! Or your boyfriend/girlfriend/hermaphrodite-friend for the view from the roof.
What to bring
Camera, torch, beer, warm clothes if you’re planning on visiting anytime soon.
No obvious ones beyond the usual that come with wandrin’ around a deserted, decaying, crumbling building.
Best not to be too averse to the smell of piss. There was some lunatic
at the site shouting loudly when we were there but he may have been just
a passer-through. Street artists are generally friendly as long as
you’re not the Polizei.