Eigth Stop: Heegermühle Power Station

One of the most impressive industrial monuments in the Finow Valley is the MEW (‘Märkische Elektricitätswerk’) power station, built in 1909. This installation was designed by the engineer Georg Klingenberg, who established a new theory of power station construction while working at the Royal Technical Higher School of Berlin. The power station supplied broad swathes of the northern part of Brandenburg with electricity. It was long considered a representative installation, serving as a model for numerous power stations at home and abroad.

The MEW was also a progressive building in terms of aesthetics. Klingenberg criticised the eclecticism of the imperial age, which not only typified most of the residential and commercial buildings, but also concealed technical installations behind faux-historical decorative facades. “The architectural design of electric power stations has, many times over, followed the wrong path, and the natural requirement that the design take into account the purpose of the building has rarely been fulfilled so far.”

The facades were designed by the architect Werner Issel to be functional, and were faced with red bricks. Together with the light-filled interior, they make the power station an outstanding example of the efforts to reform architecture in the early 20th century. The representative facade faces towards the canal. The placement of the individual buildings – the boiler house on the right (originally towered over by several chimneys), the machinery hall with its steam turbines in the middle, and the control centre on the left – reflects the operational sequences that were followed inside.