The site of the former Romanische Café, which was once the meeting-place of the world’s literary greats, became ‘the stain on Berlin’s calling card’, as one local journalist put it, after the Second World War.
“I often walked passed”, remembered Karl Heinz Pepper, “and, like many other Berliners, felt very unhappy about it.” So, in 1961, he finally decided to find help and persuade the individual landlords and a whole host of investors of his plans.
The construction of the Europa Center, according to the plans of Professor Helmut Hentrich and Dipl.-Ing. Hubert Petschnigg began in 1963. The architectural team received advice on artistic matters from Professor Egon Eiermann, who had completed the construction of the new Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in 1961. On 2nd April 1965 the 103 meter high, glass and aluminium structure was finally opened by the then City Mayor Willi Brandt (SPD).
Until 1979, the Europa Center even had its own ice skating rink. This however had to be left out during the second round of modernisation and refurbishment works on grounds of cost and efficiency. Today, Tiffany’s terrace café and the Lotus Fountain are located on the site of the former ice rink.
The Europa Center covers around 80,000 m². It consists of the retail park with its 70 odd shops, numerous restaurants, bank and Die Stachelschweine Cabaret; Office Tower with its 13,000 m² of office space spread out over 21 floors; and Hotel Palace with its renowned restaurant ‘First Floor’. In the adjacent car park, 1100 parking spaces are available. Each day, some 25,000 to 40,000 people visit the Europa Center.
The builder of the Europa Center, Karl-Heinz Pepper, passed away in October 2003. Right up until the time of his death, he was always there, adding new impulse to the now listed building through numerous modernisation projects, conversions and extensions. His son, Christian Pepper, remains true to his father’s ethos.