Metropolitan living: a railway through an apartment block

Dennewitzstraße, Berlin: a U-bahn tunnel that passes straight through an apartment block

Here's a strange thought: if you happen to be on a train trundling along the U1 line between Gleisdreieck and Kurfürstenstraße, at some point you'll be passing directly beneath someone's living room.

Because at Dennewitzstraße the tracks carve a path straight through an apartment block, giving a rather unusual meaning to the (usually desirable) notion of living close to public transport.

Metro tunnel through residential flats in Berlin
Dennewitzstraße, Berlin - a railway bridge through a block of flats

The curious viaduct was constructed in 1926 as part of a new rail trajectory, originally passing through several more residential buildings before thankfully making its way underground (below).

Original plan for the U1 U-Bahn line, Berlin, showing its trajectory through existing apartment blocks

But this startling expansion of the railway network certainly wasn't without precedent, because another example once existed in exactly the same street.

The 'Durchbrockene' House - a tunnel through an apartment block that was one of the popular curiosities of early 20th century Berlin

The so-called 'Durchbrochenes Haus' (above) was partially converted into a tunnel to make way for the city's first ever metro line, which was inaugurated in 1902.

Construction work on the 'Durchbrochenes Haus', early 20th century Berlin
Arailway tunnel through a house - one of the tourist attractions of old Berlin

The bizarre spectacle - complete with what must have been Berlin's noisiest beer hall on the ground floor beneath the rails - quickly became one of the city's must-see attractions, a popular destination for curious tourists and locals alike.

Sadly, the apartment block and much of the surrounding area was completely destroyed during WWII, and today it's difficult to even recognise the location of the rather wonderful street scene depicted on endless old postcards.

Yet Dennewitzstraße's other tunnel-through-a-house survived relatively unscathed, and in case you're wondering just how it feels to live in a building that's constantly traversed by railway carriages, residents claim they rather like the fact that every day they receive thousands of unwitting visitors. Such a nice way of putting it.

See also:
Berlin's historic U3 line
An elemental bridge

Railway tunnel through an apartment block: Dennewitzstraße 2, 10785 Berlin; the 'Durchbrochenes Haus' was located at what is now the corner of Bülowstraße and Nelly-Sachs-Park

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