A building named The Snake

Credits: bloomchen

The housing complex The Snake was build in the 70s. It´s in the Schlangenbader Straße in Berlin. Schlange is the german word for snake and therefore everyone only says snake to this building. It is about 600 meters long and underneath the entire building is a highway tunnel going all the 600 meters. Actually the complex was build on top the highway – what a strange idea. So strange that several people uploaded a video on youtube with a title referring to driving through a building. The building itself has more than 1700 appartments and about 3500 residents. It´s a huge complex but almost hidden in his environment. Meaning if you happen to come across the street from the east side of the building it might happen you don´t take notice of it. Coming from the other side it might be different because looking to the left you can see the left wing of the complex.

The left side of the complex.

Because it is so huge it´s (almost) impossible to capture the whole building on one shot. So when I went there I asked an elderly woman where I could possibly get a good view on the entire building. She told me to go down the street on the western side of it but being far away wasn´t exactly what I wanted. I wanted pano shots with no sky and no ground but only windows and balconys. I went in the direction she told me anyway and noticed that just behind the building there is a playground with a huge rope-pyramid to climb up. So did I. The first shots (those with the trees in front) were taken on top of the pyramid.

View from the playground rope-pyramid.

But I wasn´t satisfied because of the trees that ate a lot of the building on the shots. So I went down and tried to walk alongside the building. I met a landscaper assistant on my way who had seen me on the pyramid and he stated that obviously the rope-pyramid is good for more than just one thing. I talked to him and told him what I was aiming for and he took his keys and went with me to a patio on the one end of the building where I had a good overview of the complex. I took some shots from there.

Credits: bloomchen

But still I wanted this one shot. As on one side of the complex there is a smaller building complex with balconys just across the big one I thought it would be great to get on one of the balconys. And only a few meters away there was a painter on a balcony and I gues the resident who ordered him. So I was shouting loud towards them but with the highway on my back only about 50 to 80 meters away it was too loud and they could not hear me. So I went downstairs to get to the other side and find out if I´m lucky enough to find somebody who could help me. The problem was that I could not get inside the building without a key. Lucky me I saw an elderly turkish couple being inside so I quick knocked on the door and the woman opened the door. I asked them if there is any chance to get to the rooftop to take pics. They said the door is surely closed but there is a terrace on the right side of the building anyone can go to. They explained me how to get there and so I went upstairs. But as it´s only few meters airline distance – maybe 30 meters – away from the terrace I was before I did not have any expectations. You can see the terrace on the left side of this shot:

The platform on the left is the terrace.

But being up there I was happy because I got the shot I wanted. Not exactly how I had it on my mind but still.

Credits: bloomchen

When I was leaving I noticed another terrace on the left part of the complex being about on the 2nd floor level. So I asked another woman how to get there and she told me that the company taking care about the cleaning and other stuff has a key and I should asked there. Unfortunately I didn´t have time left to go there but I think it can be an interesting spot to get a capture from a nice angle. Well, maybe I´ll return there.

Here are some more shots taken during the walk there:

I´m proud the multiclick did turn out so well. It´s the first time I get a nice shot with this technique. The 4th shot here is the right wing of the building. View from the rope-pyramid. On the last shot here you see all on the right that there is a gap. Actually there is a overbridge for the residents because another street is going through the building there. There are many different levels as you can see if you closer to the shots.

Some data of the building:
14 floors
600 meters long
46 meters high
1752 appartments (in the entire complex) that are based on
120 (!!!) different floor plans
about 3500 residents

Thanks for reading!

à la… bloomchen

written by bloomchen on 2013-09-24


  1. saidseni
    saidseni ·

    I think my whole neighborhood would fit there!

  2. bloomchen
    bloomchen ·

    @kekskonstrukt @seladon here you go! ;)

  3. kibs
    kibs ·

    Very cool looking building!!

  4. seladon
    seladon ·

    cool project and very good and interesting description! Can´t wait for your next results !

  5. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Ja cool! Erinnert mich ein bisschen am Oly-Dorf Komplex in München, auch von den 70er und unglaublich riesige Gebäude, die Strassen sind auch unter den Wohnhäusern (aber keine Autobahn)...

  6. deepfried_goodness
    deepfried_goodness ·

    Cool backstory.