You could call it a treehouse. Though its a treehouse with a longer story than most. It starts with Osman Kalin, one of many Turkish emigrants, who has left the Kreuzberg area of Berlin known as Little Istanbul. From Mr Kalin’s apartment, he saw a piece of unused land. This land, was left by the GDR (Former East Germany) during its construction of Wall. There was a bend in the border and to save on material, the East Germans, decided to just straighten the wall.
Well over time, this land, became a bit of a tip; that is until Mr Kalin, decided to use it as a garden. The East Germans, let him use the land as he was a unfortunate victim of capitalist circumstances. Ofcourse West German authorities, could not do anything about it as it wasn’t in there Jurisdiction.
Out of the garden, sprouted the treehouse. Constructed gradually from 1989, using bits of random unused materials. He even used abandoned mattresses. Today its a example of what a person can do with what society considers waste. Though its still a sturdy German construction, with a unique Turkish twist; leaving it with a reputation of being iconic building in Berlin.
Though its not its architectural uniqueness which leaves it with such a esteemed reputation. This construction and Mr Kalin, himself, went through a great ordeal to keep it standing. After re-unification and the fall of the wall, the united Berlin authorities wanted to build a road, where the wall once stood. This road would have meant, the demolition of Mr Kalin’s creation. Though he stood strong, and faced the rath of the authorities. He even feared, they would come and take his belongings away, so his response was to cement every piece of furniture to the ground.
Mr Kalin, received a saving grace in the form, of the nearby Church. Officially the Treehouse was on Church land. Under the complexities of German law, this meant the building could not be demolished without prior consent from the Church. Though consent was not forth coming. Mr Kalin lobbied the Church and because they liked his way of life and his family ethic, they decided he should stay. It is worth applaud considering the Christian estabilishment defended a Muslim family.
To this day, it is where Osman Kalin calls home, the place he raised his children, and where his grandchildren come to visit him.
Ranvir Singh Bassi