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Berlin Spandau, Germany
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The center of the Berlin section of the German Life Saving Association (DLRG) was built from 1969 to 1971 by the German architect Ludwig Leo. The 30-meter high triangular tower is presented towards the street front as a powerful block in rust-colored concrete wall with lateral sides, crowned by the monumental letters DLRG and the high transmission tower used as a weather station and for the transmission of emergency calls.

On the water side, the building is clad in metal and inclined at 44 degrees. The ground floor metal facade can be lifted entirely to provide easy access to the main workshop for boats in need for repair. The water side facade also features a boat lift which made it possible to store up to 80 life boats on five building floors. The height of the building is unusual in the suburbian lakeside surroundings. It was only attained due to a loophole in Berlin's building regulations whereby buildings whose facade has an inclination of less than 45 degrees is defined as a "zero-strorey" building.

The floors had a triple function and were used as boat a storage, workshops and sleeping quarters for the life saving teams. However as the weight of the boats increased singificantly over time and the boat lift was unable to sustain the new heavier boats, the original building configuration was altered only shortly after the completion of the building. Today the boats are stored at a different location and the boat storage facilities in the building are used as meeting and leisure rooms.

Furthermore the building includes an eight meter high diving tower which is unique in Europe to this day used as a diving research and test center. Its pressure chambers allow to simulate diving conditions in a depth of up to 50 meters.

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sveneggers, December 24th, 2013
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