Last days of Berlin’s Tegel Airport celebrated in new photo book

Photographer Andreas Gehrke celebrates Tegel Airport and creates an intimate portrait of the place where the passengers have departed forever

a book on Berlin’s Tegel Airport, titled FLUGHAFEN BERLIN-TEGEL, a monograph by Andreas Gehrke
(Image credit: Andreas Gehrke)

A new architecture book on Tegel Airport celebrates the last days of the seminal German transport hub. Over the past few decades, Berlin’s airports have been in flux as the shifting and psychological borders of the Cold War came down and radically changed who needed to fly from where. For decades during the Cold War, East Berlin was served by Schönefeld Airport, while West Berlin relied on c and Tegel. The latter had its origins in the 1948 Berlin Airlift, when it was quickly established to bolster the city’s cargo capacity in the face of a Soviet blockade.

FLUGHAFEN BERLIN-TEGEL, A monograph by Andreas Gehrke

(Image credit: Andreas Gehrke)

Revisiting Berlin’s Tegel Airport

Tegel lasted right into the modern era, becoming the city’s primary airport as Tempelhof closed and Schönefeld was folded into the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport, nearly three decades in the making. Tegel itself is now also closed, and for this new photographic architectural monograph, Andreas Gehrke spent over a year making frequent visits to the vast site as operations gradually wound down and the site closed after the last commercial flight on 8 November 2020.

Open page of FLUGHAFEN BERLIN-TEGEL, a book by Andreas Gehrke

(Image credit: Andreas Gehrke)

The German photographer’s images show the empty airport to be deeply redolent of a particular era in air travel, before terminals transformed into luxury malls, with terraces of lounges and every conceivable concession. By modern standards, Tegel was ultra-compact, opening with a central hexagonal hub and control tower in 1974. Just five miles from the city centre, the internal distances were gentle strolls compared to the endurance hikes of modern multi-terminal hubs.

Open page of photography of Tegel Airport in book by Andreas Gehrke

(Image credit: Andreas Gehrke)

Gehrke shows the listed main buildings, which will survive the site’s transition into a new business and science park, as well as the forlorn sights of frozen departure boards and superfluous specialist equipment and infrastructure. 

The handsome volume is limited to 600 copies and is also available in a slipcased edition.

Open page of book on Tegel Airport by Andreas Gehrke

(Image credit: Andreas Gehrke)

Flughafen Berlin-Tegel, Andreas Gehrke, €55, Drittel Books,

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.