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The Schwerbelastungskörper (German: "heavy load-bearing body") (a.k.a. Großbelastungskörper - GBK) is a large concrete cylinder in Berlin, Germany. It was built by Dyckerhoff & Widmann AG in 1941 at a cost of 400,000 ℛℳ. It was built to study the feasibility of constructing a massive triumphal arch on the site, and of constructing large buildings on the area's sandy ground in general.[1] It stands 18 m (59 ft) high and has a mass of 12,650 tonnes. Because of nearby apartment buildings the structure could not be demolished with explosives at the end of World War II, and since 1995 it has been protected as a historic monument.

The structure is located at the intersection of Dudenstraße, General-Pape-Straße, and Loewenhardtdamm in the northwestern part of the borough of Tempelhof.

If the structure were to sink less than 6 cm (2.5 in) the soil would be deemed sound enough for further construction. It sank 18 cm (7 inches) after three years, but Adolf Hitler disregarded the findings.[1] Construction of the arch would probably have been feasible if the ground underneath had been compacted, a technique available at the time. Even in the 1940s the difficulties of disposing of such a massive concrete edifice were recognized; the solution would have been to simply bury it underneath other future construction works, as this part of Berlin was supposed to get raised by more than the above-ground height of the cylinder.[2]

View from inside the Schwerbelastungskoerper depicting current state of neglect.
A poster inside the Schwerbelastungskoerper giving information about Albert Speer's construction plans for the new Triumphal Arch.


  1. ^ a b "Hitler's Underground Lair". Cities of the Underworld. Season 1. Episode 3. 2007-04-30. History. 
  2. ^ Mythos Germania. Berlin: Edition Berliner Unterwelten. 2008. pp. 60–61. ISBN 978-3-86541-290-4. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Roger Moorhouse, Berlin at War: Life and Death in Hitler's Capital, 1939-1945, Bodley Head, 2010.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°29′2.5″N 13°22′18″E / 52.484028°N 13.37167°E / 52.484028; 13.37167