Alternative living in Prenzlauer Berg

Prenzlauer Berg squat and community space, Berlin

The tree-lined Prenzlauer Berg thoroughfare of Kastanienallee was once renowned for its grittily alternative edge.

These days, it's more associated with boutique stores and upmarket eateries. A street that caters to a very different clientele from the cash-strapped bohemians who once made this district their playground.

Amid all the artfully edgy gentrification, the prominent, silver-lettered signage outside number 86 takes on a particularly apt significance:

'Capitalism normalises, kills, destroys.'

Capitalism destroys - Kastanienallee, Prenzlauer Berg

One of the few remaining unmodernised buildings on the street, its residents are battling to keep it that way. Because renovations mean raised rents and a threat to the communal living spaces, food bank and art projects the apartment block has harboured since 1990.

Grafitti in hallway, 86 Kastanienallee

Visitors are generally welcome, and stepping through the heavily graffitied doors into the haphazard hallways and tranquil, art-bedecked inner courtyard is to enter a Berlin that's fast disappearing. An optimistic, yet fragile alternative to the status quo that increasingly reigns in the streets outside.

Ornaments in the courtyard of former squat, Prenzlauer Berg
Tuntenhaus (Queer house). Kastanienallee, Berlin
Art and grafitti covered entrance hall, Berlin

See also:

Berlin's communal kitchens

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Tuntenhaus: Kastanienallee 86, 10435 Berlin

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