The Aerodynamic Park in Berlin-Adlershof is located in the northwest part of the Humboldt University Quarter campus. There you will find three unique pieces of architecture that connect the area with its aerospace past. There you will find the Silenced Engine Test Bench, the Turbine Tower, and the Great Wind Tunnel.
All these buildings were part of the old Flugplatz Johannisthal and part of the German Research Institute for Aviation and were built between the 1920s and 1930s. They are what is left of the first German entrepreneurial airport that operated between 1909 and 1952.
I learned about Flugplatz Johannisthal on a long bike ride south of Neukölln, but I wasn’t aware of the Aerodynamic Park in Berlin-Adlershof until a couple of weeks ago when I saw somebody posting a picture on Instagram of what looked like a bunker. After the app refreshed, I lost what it was, so I started searching for “bunkers in Adlershof.” This is how I learned about the location of the Turbine Tower called Trudelturm.
A few days later, I had to take my bike from Neukölln to Köpenick, and I managed to take a shortcut through Adlershof, where I took all the pictures that you can find here. Aerodynamic Park is an exciting place to visit if you like concrete architecture, something in the direction of Brutalism. The only problem is that the park is far from the city center and it might be complicated for some people to arrive there. But there is a map at the end of this article if you feel like exploring outside the Berlin Ringbahn.
The Aerodynamic Park in Berlin-Adlershof
But before you go see the map, you should learn a little bit about Aerodynamic Park in Berlin-Adlershof.
Depending on how you enter the Aerodynamic Park, you will see some of the historical buildings first. But, central to it are two main structures: the Turbine Tower and the Silenced Engine Test Bench. In German, they are called Trudelturm and Schallgedämpfter Motorenprüfstand. In the southeast part, you are going to see the Big Wind Tunnel that delimits the park.
In the middle of the grass field, you are going to see some red objects. They’re part of a permanent sound installation called AIR BORNE that was created in 2006, by Stefan Krüskemper with the support of the composer Karlheinz Essl. It points to the history of the Aerodynamic Park with sounds from the German Radio Archive in Potsdam-Babelsberg.
When you start walking around the area, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a series of new-looking buildings from Humboldt University. On one side, you will see the Institute of Chemistry, on the other side the Institute of Physics and, on the northern edge of the square, you can see the auditorium. But you didn’t come all the way there for these buildings. Now, let’s talk about the Silenced Engine Test Bench, the Turbine Tower, and the Great Wind Tunnel.
Trudelturm: The Turbine Tower in Adlershof
The first thing that captured my attention and made me cycle all the way to Adlershof was the Trudelturm. This technical monument from aviation research, which was built between 1934-1936 to test dangerous states of spinning in a laboratory. This was useful to understand the complex processes that involved spinning in aircraft. Today, only the outside area is original.
This egg-shaped building looks like something alien, and it was even used in the science fiction movie Æon Flux back in 2005.The Trudelturm was also the main visual element for Rammstein’s 2022 album Zeit. You can clearly see this as the primary location for the entire visual identity of the album, which makes a lot of sense since this is truly a unique piece of architecture.
If you are looking for where Rammstein shot the cover of Zeit, we have an answer for you.
The Silenced Engine Test Bench
The Silenced Engine Test Bench was built between 1933 and 1935, and it’s called Schallgedämpfter Motorenprüfstand in German. This building is located in the middle of the Aerodynamic Park in Berlin-Adlershof, and it used to be where air motors with propellers were tested for their effectiveness, load capacity, and service life.
It’s easy to distinguish this from the other buildings due to its two lateral exhaust towers that give a weird futuristic look to the building. The towers are 15 meters tall and have rims on top that make it look like there was something even taller above it. Or, maybe, this was just my impressions.
Großer Windkanal aka the Big Wind Tunnel
When I arrived at the Aerodynamic Park in Berlin-Adlershof by bike, the first thing I saw was the silver curves of the Big Wind Tunnel, a tubular system that measures between 8 and 12 meters in diameter. This was, also, built between 1932 and 1934 as a part of the German Research Institute of Aviation.
The Big Wind Tunnel was used for aerodynamic investigations in air streams with air being flown in a measuring room to aircraft parts, so it was possible to measure their air resistance behavior. Today, the unusual architecture of the building makes it useful for science fiction movies. It was included in the film Æon Flux in 2005 and in Hanna, that used the Spree Park as well, back in 2011.
If you are interested in concrete architecture and historical buildings, I feel like the Aerodynamic Park in Berlin-Adlershof is a hidden gem waiting for you to be discovered. Take a look at the map above and find the best way for your arrival there.
The Aerodynamic Park in Berlin-Adlershof
Brook-Taylor-Straße 2, 12489 Berlin
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