Industry and Technology
Umspannwerk Wilhelmsruh (Wilhemsruh Relay Station)
Kopenhagener Straße 83/89, Pankow; Phasenschieberhalle mit Wohntürmen (phase transformer building with residential towers), Messwarte (measuring station), Schalterhalle (breaker station) and Umformerstationen (transformer stations), 1925 by Hans Heinrich Müller for BEWAG
From 1925-32 Bewag, the municipal power provider of the city of Berlin, constructed a new, ultra-modern, area-wide AC-power supply network. This network included fourteen large transformer stations which transformed power current supplied by the main power stations to voltage for local distribution. The architect responsible for this construction program was Hans Heinrich Müller, according to whose designs more than forty power distribution stations emerged.
The transformer station at Wilhelmsruh was one of the first projects. Müller developed an exciting expressionistic architecture which was to characterize his later designs as well. He grouped individual structures strictly according to function as a symmetrical four-winged installation around the central control station. The remaining buildings are arranged according to the production process, with the phase transformer building on the street side, the transformers in both side wings and the breaker station at the rear. Without concealing its technical character, the power station is reminiscent of a castle of a knights' order, with its residential buildings surmounting the structure like corner towers, flanking staircase towers and mighty gate. The breaker station is the functional and artistic culmination of the station. The installations of the transformer station were centrally controlled and monitored for the duration of its service.