Redesign of Oliva Square (Olivaer Platz)

Decision by the district council

A political decision has been made on the handling of stationary traffic in the redesigning of Oliva Square. The 10th Public Session of the District Council of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf in Berlin addressed two matters on 14 June 2012.

The District Council approved Matter 0260/4 in a majority vote. The District Council passed a resolution stating:  "The District Administration is requested to use the winning proposal without a car park as the basis for further planning with regard to the redesigning of Oliva Square into a high-quality green urban square for residents. An underground car park shall also not be included."

A majority rejected the application (Matter 0219/4) "The District Administration is requested to consider and review the possibility of including an underground car park below the square with financing by private investors for the planned redesigning of Oliva Square. If the inclusion of an underground car park is not possible, the current number of parking spaces shall be retained at Oliva Square."

As a result, in the planning specification phase, no parking places have been integrated into the new design. Rehwaldt Landschaftsarchitekten (Rehwaldt Landscape Architects) was be engaged by the District Administration to complete the next planning stages and prepare the execution plans.

Landscape planning competition

The Senate Department for Urban Development and the District Administration for Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf conducted a landscape planning competition in 2011 and received 21 different draft submissions. The jury, chaired by Landscape Architect Gabriele Pütz, unanimously awarded the draft from Rehwaldt Landschaftsarchitekten in Dresden and recommended it for realization.

The construction of the square should begin in the second half of 2012 on the basis of the winning concept. A total of two years is anticipated for its building. The construction costs will amount to roughly € 2.5 million. You will find more information about the results of the competition on the website at the Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment.

Planning process

In October 2010, Coordination of Actives Centre City West, in cooperation with the Danzig National Museum, opened an exhibition on Oliva Square and its namesake Oliwa, a section of Danzig. The exhibition panels can be viewed below.

After the requirements for the reconstruction of the square had already been determined in 2010 at the citizen workshop on 11 November 2010 with regard to the subject of "traffic" and on 1 December 2010 with regard to the subject of the "landscape planning design", an engineering company completed a more extensive examination of the traffic. In 2011, a competition with a reward was announced, and the results should start to be implemented in 2012.

History, current situation and reason for redesigning the square

Oliva Square (Olivaer Platz) makes reference to the Polish monastery Oliva in Danzig where the "Treaty of Oliva" was signed in 1660. Oliva square was first mentioned in Berlin in 1892.

It was designed as a perfectly symmetrical city square between 1907 and 1910 by the parks department head of Wilmersdorf, Richard Thieme at that time. As a result of war damage, the adjacent block of buildings to the east of the square were torn down in the middle of the 1950s and the area was converted into a car park. Oliva Square was then redesigned in 1961 according to the plans of the Parks Department Head Eberhard Fink. To this very day, the small-scale creation of space defines the square with its shielding hedges, walls, grassy areas enclosed by trees, sitting niches, beds, and cobblestone and slab paths. Its appearance today is defined by a typical garden design in the 1960s, with flowerbeds, benches and pergolas. Besides garden space, old plate paths as well as asphalt for parked cars dominate the look of the square today. Thick bushes and shrubs as well as old brick walls create invisible spaces. This compromises visitors' subjective feeling of safety. Such a design does not meet the expectations of a city square by today's standards.

The actors in the area took the initiative for its redesign, and the following aspects are to be clarified:

  •  What kind of design is appropriate for the place and its centrality?
  •  Who are the user groups and how can their specific functional requirements be fulfilled?
  •  How can the original historical design of the garden be used as a model for the square's future appearance?
  •  What private concession concepts are there to reduce the care and maintenance expenses of the public sector?

The importance of Oliva Square for the city

Oliva Square is located to the south of Kurfürstendamm between Leibnizstraße and Schlüterstraße. Its current appearance is defined by a typical garden design in the 1960s, which has not changed significantly since then. For example, walls with niches and high hedges prevent visibility at the roughly 1.2 hectare square. It needs to be redesigned, since the needs of the different users will no longer be fulfilled.

The actors in the area took the initiative and organized a broad-based process, which involved all the interested parties that live around, work at or otherwise use Oliva Square. Since it is very close to Kurfürstendamm, Oliva Square can also be an attractive, green drawing point for tourists.

The upgrading of the square is financed by the "Active Centres" urban development subsidy programme and the "Squares Programme".