World War I Airplane Hangars K.

The hangars of the former Berlin-Friedrichsfelde air base (later Friedrichsfelde military airfield) in the Berlin district of Karlshorst were built in the middle of the First World War and have largely survived subsequent uses. They are important architectural testimonies to the history of aviation, especially military aviation, and were placed under a preservation order by the Berlin Senate in 1997.

 The halls are located to the north and south of the street Am alten Flugplatz in Berlin-Karlshorst. There are six halls with 16 domed shell roofs.


Airplane Hangar from World War I in Germany

On December 8, 1916, the municipal council of Friedrichsfelde, which was still an independent suburb of Berlin at the beginning of the 20th century, decided to build an airfield in the Karlshorst district to secure its finances. The Prussian military administration agreed to take over the airfield and pay a 45-year lease to the municipality.

The area of around 150 hectares was purchased for 3.4 million Reichsmark. The infrastructure required for an air base, such as a railway siding, road access, water and power lines, cost an additional 400,000 Reichsmark. The company Baugesellschaft Gebrüder Rank, which had already been involved in airfield construction in Munich, was awarded the contract to build four hangars and a hangar building. This company had already secured the use of a French patent for the production of reinforced concrete in 1901.

Construction work began in April 1917 and lasted until May 15, 1919. Even during the construction work, flight operations and the flight training of new pilots began, and the Karlshorst training department of the Inspectorate of Photography stationed here made use of the overflight facilities.

During the First World War, the military administration had further aircraft hangars and workshops built on an additional 33.5 hectares of land. It is not (yet) known which other companies were involved in the expansion. All the hangars were built in a similar design and dimensions.

The single-track freight line to Kaulsdorf was used day and night after its completion in 1917.

In 1919, the war ended with the Treaty of Versailles, according to which Germany was no longer allowed to build and operate military aircraft. As a result, a squadron of pilots for the Eastern Border Guard and a squadron of police pilots were established at the airfield.

Part of the site was expropriated by the Reich Ministry of Finance on the basis of the contract redemption ordinance (redemption of state loans) of August 8, 1919. The village of Friedrichsfelde, which had since been incorporated into Greater Berlin, remained the owner of an area of 114 hectares, for which the Ministry paid the city of Berlin a one-off compensation of RM 0.15 per square meter, i.e. 171,000 Reichsmark. The railroad connection was dismantled in the early 1930s.

The hangars have a uniform size of 66.50 m × 22.70 m in internal diameter and a dome height of around 4 m. Each hangar is a self-supporting structure made of reinforced concrete with three identical round domes made of slotted bricks. The domes rest on a 22 m diameter tension ring, which is supported by two 22 meter wide frame trusses and the outer masonry of the enclosing walls. In the center of the dome was a window that could be used for lighting and ventilation. A rotating working platform was mounted on the floor around the dome.

The hangars, which served both as shelters for aircraft and as repair bases, could be heated (underfloor heating and wall radiators) so that they could be used all year round. Each hangar had space for several aircraft with maximum dimensions of 7.50 m to 9.50 m. The hangar doors had clear widths of 22 m.

The two hangars to the north of the street Am alten Flugplatz are owned by the Russian Federation (as of 2022). The four to the south of the street are to be converted into apartments and incorporated into the Gartenstadt Karlshorst residential area.


The photos shown here are from the remaining hangars in the southern part of the area.


Source: Wikipedia


Visited: December 14, 2014

Location: Berlin, Germany

Status: Abandoned / Renovation

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