On a dusty parking lot in central Berlin, where U.S. bombs leveled homes and offices in 1945, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas is planning a beehive-like digital media center for publisher Axel Springer. A 15-minute bike ride away, on the former site of an iron foundry, architect Daniel Libeskind is completing a titanium-wrapped apartment building crowned with a soaring penthouse.
Across the Humboldthafen canal, a new neighborhood with a tree-lined boulevard flanked by shops, homes, and offices is rising where rail-switching yards stood before they were wiped out during World War II.
Seventy years after the end of the war, Berlin is finally filling the last gaps left by Allied bombs, which destroyed more than two-thirds of the buildings in the city center. Architects say the construction boom offers Berlin a chance to make up for decades of bad planning and mediocre architecture.