Inside Tempelhof Airport

Photographer Christopher Dodd gets accidentally locked inside Tempelhof Airport…

Tempelhof airport drew me in from the start. I drove past it one Sunday afternoon and didn’t have a clue what it was. After a bit of research I discovered it was the abandoned Tempelhof airport constructed by the Nazi regime. Being British, it always strikes a chord with me and was at first nervous but exceptionally intrigued to take the tour.

A daunting building, it looms over you as you approach the front entrance. I took the tour with my producer and 20 other wide-eyed people. The structure from the outside has this hard, solid appearance, but you can’t help but want to see behind the 9,000 offices inside.

The tour not only opened my eyes to the obscene visions of the Nazi regime; it also opened my eyes to what an airport actually is thanks to visiting the areas the public just don’t usually see. It may not be in use any more, but nothing has changed since it was a functioning airport. It feels like one day the management simply closed the doors and left it as it was: it’s far more than an empty shell.

Following WWII, the airport was occupied by American military and then became a commercial airport until it closed in 2008. The structure inside is daunting in scale, especially in the arrival and departure lounges, and walking onto the plane forecourts is a unique experience that’s difficult to articulate: usually I’m rushing  too much to get a seat on a Ryanair flight to really take in the expanse of any airport grounds.

This tour allowed me to take my time and open my eyes. I have to admit, I was the straggler of the group. I didn’t listen to a single word the tour guide said and ambled at the back waiting for the people to clear the room so I could get that perfect shot. As a result, my producer and I got locked it for 40 minutes. But I loved every minute of it, wandering the corridors, opening doors (sometimes tentatively), drooling at obscure items and sights that might pass most people by. My producer stuck to the edges of the walls.

This airport/venue is a must-see. Enjoy the photos below but please take the tour because they don’t do it justice. Just be careful not to get locked in…

You can see more of Christopher’s work at his website here. 

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