Fountain on Wittenbergplatz

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The south well ("age")

The two fountains on Wittenbergplatz in Berlin's Tempelhof-Schöneberg district were built based on designs by the sculptor Waldemar Grzimek . In 1980 a competition was announced for the redesign of the entire square. Grzimek won first prize with his concept and was commissioned to execute it. After his death in 1984, close collaborators of the sculptor continued the unfinished work on the figure fountain on the south side of the square. In 1985 the two wells were completed.

The concept

The Wittenbergplatz is part of a historically grown sequence of squares and street sections between Südstern and Ernst-Reuter-Platz . His redesign the relationship to the nearby should Breitscheidplatz with the Weltkugelbrunnen of Joachim Schmettau underline. In September 1980, the Senator for Building and Housing, together with the Schöneberg District Office of Berlin, launched a design competition with a limited number of participants, including Waldemar Grzimek. The aim of the competition was to design two fountains at specified locations north and south of the Wittenbergplatz underground station , along with suggestions for the further design of the square. The design had to take into account the desire for symmetry in relation to the listed station building by Alfred Grenander , but the two fountains should not be designed largely in the same way, but rather differently.

Grzimek envisaged a mushroom-like, large shape each as a focal point for road users and pedestrians. For the north fountain he had thought of a more vegetative form in a geometrically simple environment, the south fountain as the main location of the ensemble should be given a strict large form in the middle of a fountain “based on the Roman model”, in a “spectacle that people are happy about; a playful, happy event with which one can identify ”. This fountain under the theme "The Ages of Life" should, unlike most water features, not offer a distant spectacle behind the barrier of a fountain enclosure, but rather allow the visitor to feel part of the whole through the open grouping of the figures in a walk-in area to feel.


The fountain on the north side of the square

The implementation contract was signed on August 27, 1982. In the competition design, all parts except the bronze figures - i.e. the basin surrounds, the base zones and the mushroom shapes - were to be made from a uniform material, namely from granite , possibly also from shell limestone . Mainly for reasons of cost this was not possible. A bronze casting of the large forms was also calculated and proved to be priceless, the whole project threatened to fail. Finally, it was decided to make the mushroom shapes out of stainless steel and to cover them with a copper skin. This development had a clear impact on the appearance of the north fountain, where the large plant-based form has now been largely abstracted due to the new material conditions. The oval mushroom shape remained unchanged in the southern fountain; For the base zone, Grzimek developed a modified design principle from the forced non-uniformity of the material and built it from stones that differ greatly in color and shape.

The sculpture program for the southern fountain includes nine individual figures of people of different ages, most of which are arranged in pairs, plus a group of two children with a dog and two free, three-dimensional forms that were not included in the original design. To check the spatial effect in original size, Grzimek bought a plot of land in Berlin-Kladow , directly on the Havel . On this site, the figures, built in clay in the studio and then cast in plaster, together with the model-like non-figurative parts of the fountain, could be assessed and put together for the final composition. In the remaining lifetime, the sculptor managed to finally design the children's group and six individual figures. The finished sculptures were cast in bronze in the Richard Barth fine art foundry in Rinteln ( Lower Saxony ).

A group of friends and experts discussed how the unfinished work should be continued. As a result, the sculptor Christian Höpfner , a long-time employee of Grzimek, worked with the sculptor Hartmut Bonk to bring the three unfinished figures into a final form. The two abstract forms, placed at the northern corner points of the fountain, are intended to express the “female” and the “male” principle, conceived as a somewhat ironic summary of the central theme of the whole fountain. Grzimek had made sketches for it and entrusted the execution to his assistant, the sculptor Fee Franck. These sculptures were also cast in bronze.

Dimensions and materials

The basin of the southern fountain measures 16 × 15 meters, the frame consists of light gray granite blocks cut at right angles, the bottom of the basin, in contrast, was made of boulders and roughly hewn stones of different colors and structures. The oval mushroom shape is 5 meters high, its diameters are 5 and 6 meters; the material used was steel with a copper coating. The figurative bronze sculptures are up to 2.30 meters high, plus the two free plastic forms.

The north fountain has an 11 × 11 meter, recessed square basin made of light gray granite in geometric, right-angled and rounded shapes. The mushroom shape made of steel with a copper coating is 5 meters high and around 7 meters in diameter.


  • Günther Grzimek (Ed.): Wittenbergplatz fountain by Waldemar Grzimek. (A private print published by Waldemar Grzimek's brother after the sculptor's death).

Web links

Commons : Fountain on Wittenbergplatz  - collection of images, videos and audio files


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Günther Grzimek (ed.): Wittenbergplatz fountain by Waldemar Grzimek. P. 15.
  2. ^ Günther Grzimek (ed.): Wittenbergplatz fountain by Waldemar Grzimek. P. 10.
  3. ^ Günther Grzimek (ed.): Wittenbergplatz fountain by Waldemar Grzimek. P. 13.