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A rendering of the reimagined Tegel Airport in Berlin
Copyright  Tegel projekt / Atelier Loidl

Berlin’s Tegel airport to be transformed into environmentally friendly 10,000 person community

By Charlotte Elton

Ever wanted to live in an airport?

In the 2004 movie ‘Terminal’, protagonist Viktor Navorski - played by Tom Hanks - does just that.

Eco-conscious German property hunters now have the chance to do the same, albeit in far more comfort and style.

Berlin’s disused Tegel airport will soon become an environmentally-friendly residential community and research hub.

Tegel Projekt GMbH
The new Tegel Airport community will have large pedestrianised spaces and vertical green spaceTegel Projekt GMbH

The ambitious five-million square metre ‘Tegel Projekt’ renovation will include a 10,000-person, 5,000-apartment community. This so-called Schumacher Quartier will boast shops, restaurants, schools and parks.

The former airport will also house an industrial park and research area called The Urban Tech Republic. Alongside 1,000 businesses, this area will include a campus for Berliner Hochschule für Technik University.

Construction will start in 2023, with the initial parts of both projects due for completion by 2027.

Tegel Projekt GmbH
The new Tegel airport redevelopment will house 10,000 peopleTegel Projekt GmbH

Will the Tegel airport redevelopment be green?

Filled with carbon-spewing planes, airports are hardly known for their environmental credentials.

But in its new form, the Tegel will set a benchmark for eco-friendly living.

Designed to be walkable and cyclable, the largely-pedestrianised community will put bikes before cars. Electric buses and a tramway are slated as future developments.

Tegel Projekt / Macina
An aerial shot of the redesigned Tegel Airport in BerlinTegel Projekt / Macina

Preliminary renders reveal vertical gardens on the apartment blocks - one way of keeping buildings cool without resorting to energy-guzzling air conditioning - and grassy parklands.

Each rooftop is to be fitted with solar panels for domestic electricity, while ‘sponge city’ technology like permeable pavements and rain gardens will help the city soak up as much water as possible. Nearly half of the vast airport plot will be set aside as a nature reserve.

Designers hope to make the construction process carbon-neutral, too, using local timber and offsetting emissions.

Tegel Projekt / Atelier Loidl
The designers hope that the Tegel redevelopment will form a 'blueprint' for eco designTegel Projekt / Atelier Loidl

The project will form a “blueprint” for other eco initiatives, a press release by the state-owned development company declares.

“The former Berlin-Tegel Airport is making room for Berlin,” they say.

“Berlin TXL – The Urban Tech Republic is a unique initiative in Europe at the present time, if not in the whole world.”