Kabelwerk Köpenick looms over the River Spree, hauntingly beautiful with a lengthy and proud history. Two years ago marked the 100th anniversary of the factory, built in 1916 by Julius Vogel and his sons, the cable factory now has sadly been reclaimed by nature.
Access was suspiciously easy and we realised why pretty quickly. We wandered quietly through the damp halls coming out into a beautiful paradise. Birds tweeted, trees were thriving and sunlight poured in, creating a greenhouse feel to the factory hall. We were in awe and our guard was down as we giggled at how beautiful this place was. I took a panoramic picture and upon finishing it I spied the security guard. We ran, we clambered and we had minor heart attacks but luckily came out unscathed.
After some heavy breathing and a brief cooling off period outside, we went back in. This time we were quiet and careful, sticking to the more dense areas of this indoor forest. We soon realised that the only way into the neighbouring building was past the security guard’s hut or by climbing out and going around the back. I stood under the 10ft wall and took a deep sigh before my urbex partner and I did some dodgy parkour moves to scale the wall and land safely on the other side. My arms ache as I am typing this.
The factory was originally called CJ Vogel Draht- und Kabelwerk AG until 1939 when the Siemens company took the site over. At this time 1600 people worked at the factory and the production of electric lighting and power system cables began. The factory survived through GDR times and saw it’s end around the same time that many of the buildings in East Berlin did – after the wall came down. Abandoned since the late 90s this collosol factory is now forgotten, a sad remainder of East Berlin.
Strangely a couple had wandered in off the street straight past the security hut while he was doing his rounds – they were unfortunately now our buffer. While exploring a dark room with a tiny doorway the security dude heard the clicking of my camera (Nikon – the silent mode has been tried and tested and has failed my expectations). We stood with our backs against the wall hardly breathing as he circled the room and stood outside the doors at either end. He knew we were there but whether he was truly bothered we will never know.
After Kabelwerk Köpenick closed its doors, part of the area was briefly used as a skate park for BMX riders and skateboarders. Remains of ‘Mellowpark’ are still visible with a small structure and an Adidas logo emblazoned on the asphalt.
About two years ago Deutsche Wohnen purchased the 70,000 square meter site and made plans for more than 1,000 upmarket apartments to be built. The brick wall surrounding the factory and the two large buildings at the entrance are listed and preserved therefore will need to be maintained.
After attempting to enter the Mellowpark building close by we decided to call it a day. As I stood looking at the building, clear as day in a wide open space something caught my eye. I watched blatantly as the security guy cycled past me his blue helmet bobbing along, my body twisting to follow him. My exploration companion, completely oblivious was still looking at something behind me. This game of cat and mouse was about to come to a sticky end. We ran as fast as we could and scrambled over the eight-foot fence tumbling down onto the other side. A group of four friends had to stop to allow us to land and they laughed as we apologised for our abrupt and ridiculous entrance into their lives. We then strolled past the front gate and nodded at the security guard who just stared back at us, still in action pose with his bike.
I will give it a 2 because we did see two explorers in there but I think the presence of the guard makes it a lot less accessible and doable. You have to really be on the lookout and aware of your surroundings.
Disclaimer: I do not claim to have ever trespassed on this property nor do I condone doing so.
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