Radiant radial: Berlin's historic waterworks

The tower of Radialsystem III - a Kreuzberg relic of Berlin's industrial past

Soaring above the surrounding rooftops, the brick smoke stack is designed in four tiers and adorned with ornamental stonework.

Typical of Berlin's elaborate late 19th-century industrial architecture, it's part of a former water pumping station on the Hallesches Ufer, which began operation in 1878 and was the first of twelve such complexes designed to manage the city's sewage and waste water.

Known collectively as the 'Radialsystem', and initiated in response to a severe outbreak of cholera in 1866, the ring of waterworks dispersed sewage to drainage fields located far outside the city.

Berlin's 19th century drainage and water pumping systems - Kreuzberg
Beautiful riverside views from Radialsystem V, Berlin

Another of the pumping stations that retains much of its original appearance is the so-called Radialsystem V (above right and below), which was built alongside the Spree in 1881.

Now a cutting-edge arts complex, its riverside cafe terrace is an insider tip, offering sweeping views of the Spree and Berlin skyline.

A former pumping station converted into an arts complex - Radialsystem V, Berlin

And for those who just can't get enough of Berlin's 19th century waterworks, Radialsystem XI (which, despite its name, was the very last of the twelve to be built) still stands grandly on Erich-Weinert-Straße in Prenzlauer Berg.

Radialsystem III former pumping station: Hallesches Ufer 78 10963
Radialsystem V arts complex and riverside terrace: Holzmarktstraße 33, 10243 Berlin

See also:
An industrial design classic

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