Built at the turn of the 20th century, when Charlottenburg was still independent from Berlin, the Kraftwerk Charlottenburg sought to meet the robust electrical needs of the wealthy, growing city. Large pipes transported most of the power across the Spree, which built into the structure of an elaborately-ornamented stone-and-metal footbridge, the Siemens-Steg. Over the following century, its output expanded to include hot water and natural gas, and was able to emerge relatively unscathed from the Second World War.
Among the many buildings currently or formerly owned by Berlin’s Technische Universität (TU) are several colorful curiosities, including the Schiffbau, which rises above the Landwehrkanal at the Tiergarten’s western edge (and had a brief cameo in the cult film The Apple) and the 60s-era megaliths surrounding Ernst-Reuter-Platz, spanning blocks apiece and often covered in monochrome metal siding. For decades, a lesser-known (but equally colorful) structure sat somewhat north of the campus’ gravitational center, at the far northern end of Englische Strasse on the banks of the Spree.
TU sold the eponymously-named 20 Englische Strasse to the Irish investment group Cannon Kirk, who announced its demolition to make way for a housing development called Englische Gärten. After the sale, though, it sat empty for several years, and was eventually occupied by activists in late 2015, who demanded it be used to house the increasing numbers of homeless refugees in Berlin (article here, in German). On September 10th, police evicted all protesters, and soon after, demolition of the building began in earnest.