Mauerstraße 80. Schaltwerk in the Elektrizitätswerk (E-Werk), Berlin Mitte.
From powerplant, to transformer plant, to battleground, to derelict ruin, to the most influential techno club in the 90s and at present to multifunctional structure including events space, residential and office uses and even once again electricity facility functions (for the BVG lines 2 and 6) the story of this building tracks the story of Berlin during the last 150 years.
In 1886 a power plant was erected at Mauerstraße 80 by Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG). Initially the plant provided the street lighting for Unter den Linden and Leipziger Straße. The plant grew in size and a decade later in 1896 it also supplied the power for Berlin’s first electrical trolley. In 1912, a converter was added to supply the S-Bahn, Berlin’s suburban train line.
In the early 1920s technological innovations allowed for the transportation of higher-voltage current over longer distances, thus liberating large sites in the city centres from having to be occupied by power plants which moved to the outskirts of the city. The electricity voltage was increased and transformed to lower voltage at smaller transformer plants spotted within the city. In 1926 the facility in Mauerstraße 80 was demolished except for the building that you can see to the left of the photograph (this is ewerk building C). The purpose of the demolition was to allow for conversion of the site into a transformer plant. In Berlin 40 transformer facilities where built by Berliner Electricitäts-Werke BEWAG. The construction work was supervised by its chief architect Hans-Heinrich Müller and his assistants Julius Posner and Egon Eiermann. The interesting structure on the right side of the image is part of the Buchhändlerhof transformer facility, which was completed in 1928. This building has a rectangular plan but because it was difficult to locate the main control units within its area, these were “plugged” adjacent to the building resulting in the interesting pile of cylinders. The interior has been refurbished in a way that preserves its original layout, some nice photos can be found here
and in this YouTube video
The transformer’s service area included Friedrichstraße, the complex of government buildings on Wilhelmstraße, and the area around Potsdamerplatz and Leipzigerplatz which were populated by large department stores.
To learn the rest of the story of this building I recommend you to head to the ewerk website
which has an excellent write up in English and German.