A Church of New and Old
The Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche or Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is a must see when visiting Charlottenburg. Despite the ‘old church’ section of the monument currently undergoing maintenance work, it is one of the most impressive buildings in the city and is only a stone’s throw away from Hotel Concorde Berlin.
Opened in 1895, the church’s life was short-lived before the first world war, the impact of bombing around the building causing the church’s tower to become truncated, 60 metres of it crashing onto the structure’s roof and damaging it significantly.
Due to a lack of funds the building was left in a state of disrepair for over a decade, before an architecture competition to design the new church took place in the late 1950’s. Winner Egon Eiermann wanted to demolish the tower, as did the jury working on the project but once the people of Berlin heard the news they protested adamantly, and so the tower remains, giving the site it’s nickname of the ‘Broken tooth’ church because of its appearance.
The new church building designed by Eiermann is completely different and separate to the church’s original architecture, octagonally shaped with walls made out of striking blue glass panels. Designed by French artist Gabriel Loire, there are over 21,000 unique panels which form two walls, the inner wall blocking out surrounding sounds and creating a tranquil haven in the city.
A remembrance of the atrocities of war and the progress we have made, the church is well worth an afternoon visit, with extremely informative one hour tours also available (in most languages) with pre-booking. There are also regular services at the new church as well as gospel services, organ concerts and classical concerts.
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
Open daily 9am – 7pm