The Locomotive hall at Natur Park Südgelände is, along with the water tower and the Brückenmeisterei, part of the listed complex and one of the largest and most important witnesses to the former use of the area as a railway site. The hall, which is more than 100 years old, is still almost 5,000 square metres in size today. Originally, there were three such halls before the Second World War, which were used for the maintenance and repair of locomotives. Remains of the destroyed halls can still be found in the Moosgarten area.
With the opening of the Natur Park Südgelände, theatre, art and music moved into the Locomotive hall for many years and breathed new life into the building. But the ravages of time have left their mark, and so since 2005 the Lokhalle could only be used on a limited basis with individual permission for various events. After several repair works, it had to be closed completely in 2016 for safety reasons. In the coming years, it will be sustainably renovated and carefully qualified.
As a cultural and creative location that fits harmoniously into the overall site and the special character of the nature and landscape conservation area, the Locomotive hall is to offer plenty of space for creative growth in the future. The type and scope of events are to do particular justice to the existing character of the site. In principle, cultural and artistic events such as concerts, dance performances, film screenings, readings or theatre performances are to take place in the Locomotive hall. Exhibitions (together with the tenants of the artists' studios) or Christmas markets are also planned.
The entire project will be realised under the claim of "sustainable building". This means that the existing, historic building fabric will be preserved and renovated as far as possible in accordance with the guidelines for the protection of historical monuments. The new roof will be implemented as a 4,500 square metre, climate-friendly, "extensive" green roof. This retains the rainwater before it seeps away via infiltration trenches on the property. The green roof has an insulating effect that compensates for temperature fluctuations, minimising heat loss in winter and overheating inside in summer. It also creates additional habitat for animals and plants high above the ground. By installing a modern air-to-water heat pump, the ambient air is used as a heat source to supply the locomotive hall with heat. The design of the planned artists' studios is also sustainable, counteracting the displacement of artists from central city locations: Wood, a renewable resource, will be used as a building material. And the clever positioning on the south façade of the Lokhalle will simultaneously strengthen the stability of the hall. This eliminates the need for the otherwise required costly structural strengthening of the existing façade.
Planning for the renovation and conversion of the Locomotive hall began in spring 2019. The first preparatory measures, such as soil investigations and work for a new service yard and logistics area, have already been underway since autumn 2021. In December 2021, the walkway in the southern part of the Locomotive hall was dismantled and the ground prepared for the subsequent laying of cables. In this context, the new grid station is being built at the Prellerweg access road to ensure the power supply in the area. The actual construction work is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2022. The total investment for the project amounts to around €17 million, which will be provided by the state of Berlin and the Special Infrastructure Fund for the Growing City (SIWA). The plan is for the new Locomotive hall to open its doors again in 2025 and to delight visitors with art, theatre and music in its new guise.