The first time I went to Steglitz was to visit a Primark since they only had one shop in Berlin, and the shop was in this part of the city that I had never been to before. That visit was in 2012, and it was then that my obsession with the Bierpinsel started.
That day was the first time I had seen anything as weird looking as that building, and it was also my first contact with Architectural Brutalism. After that building, it was love at first sight.
Bierpinsel is the work of Ralph Schüler und Ursulina Schüler-Witte an architect couple who also designed the brutalist ICC Conference Center in Berlin-Westend. The original concept from the couple was that of a tree shape, but I don’t think this idea is there today.
It looks more like a crazy Lego creation than anything else. Either way, it took four years to build it, between 1972 and 1976, and, according to the legend, it got its nickname due to the amount of free beer served on the opening day.
Set next to a highway in the middle of Steglitz, a neighborhood south of Berlin; the Bierpinsel closed its doors to the public in 2002 for some construction work. In 2006 and closed its doors and never opened again. Before it shut down, it used to house restaurants, bars, pubs, and even a nightclub across its four levels.
But none of it exists today.
In 2010, there were some places to turn it into a piece of art, which is why the Bierpinsel is covered in paint from top to bottom. The Turmkunst project was supposed only to last a year, but 2011 came, and everything is still there.
Even the bear still says some sweet home even though it has been outside for more than seven years. You can even see their website today.
If you are like me and don’t understand why nobody does anything with the building, you must figure out that Berlin is a weird place. According to a news piece from 2010 on Tagesspiegel, Tita Laternser and their daughter Larissa are the Bierpinsel owners and want to do something with the building. But it seems that nobody knows what.
I read that there were plans to turn the outside of the building into a golden dome, but some of the people in the area were not happy with it. Right now, it just sits there, waiting for anything to happen.
It’s easy to find the Bierpinsel in Steglitz since the building is in the middle of the Joachim-Tiburtius bridge and at the U-Bahnhof Schloßstraße, where you can easily take the U9 and arrive there. If you want to get inside, you should give up. Even the people behind the amazing Abandoned Berlin couldn’t get in. Maybe you can; perhaps you know somebody that has a key.
If you get it, take a picture and share it with Fotostrasse.
Bierpinsel — Architectural Brutalism in Berlin
Schloßstraße 17, 12163 Berlin, Germany
All the pictures here were taken with an iPhone 6 Plus before a rainy afternoon in Berlin. Those pictures were edited using Enlight and VSCO Cam, two apps that I love to use since I first mentioned them here back in 2015.