Babylon | Berlin, Germany | c. 1929

The Babylon is a cinema in the Mitte neighborhood of Berlin and part of a listed building complex at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. The building was erected 1928/29 according to plans of architect Hans Poelzig and is regarded as typical of its construction period, Neue Sachlichkeit

The building is strongly structured horizontally by a striped enclosure of window rows and a wide overhanging moulding at the roof plate. The front is ochre-coloured plaster, with stripes painted on plaster in a light yellow shade. Full in the sense of Neue Sachlichkeit, the interior design was characterized by economical material usage and utilisation of the emotional impact of colours and forms at the same time

The Babylon originally opened as silent film cinema with an orchestra pit and a cinema organ for musical accompaniment. A projectionist of the Babylon, Rudolf Lunau, was from the Machtergreifung in 1933 until his arrest in 1934 a member of an illegal resistance cell of the KPD, and held meetings in “his” projection room, where he also hid opponents of the regime who went underground

In 1948 the theatre was heavily renovated and served afterward as a speciality cinema in the GDR. After the auditorium had been closed because of the danger of collapse, it was refurbished and reconstructed from 1999 until 2001 in accordance with conservation guidelines.

In 2002 the reconstruction was awarded the “German Award for Monument Protection”. Since 2001 the Babylon is once again open to the public and used primarily as arthouse cinema, as well as a venue for musical and literary cultural events

 

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