The keeper of the maps and plans of the Science City Adlershof: In conversation with Heike Böhme

02. March 2021

The keeper of the maps and plans of the Science City Adlershof

In conversation with Heike Böhme

Heike Böhme © WISTA Management GmbH

The face behind the Adlershof plans: Heike Böhme knows every stone of the Science City © WISTA Management GmbH

In the late 1980s, she was well on her way to becoming an inventor. Today she is the keeper of the maps and plans of the Science City Adlershof. During the post-reunification period, the 420-hectare area was the last of six development areas to be launched in 1994. Heike Böhme has since then created and revised more than 4,000 plans for sites, orientation, land use, zoning, and development. She quips that, as a Berlin native, born in Berlin-Niederschöneweide, she is “part of the old guard of the Berlin-Johannisthal/Adlershof development scheme”. She never stopped learning new things and her experience is now incorporated in many other such projects in Berlin.

Adlershof Journal: 4,000 plans for the Johannisthal/Adlershof development area in 26 years. That’s an average of three plans a week. Is Adlershof still changing that fast?

Heike Böhme: Adlershof continues to see dynamic growth. New research, office, and commercial buildings are being built; old ones expanded. Many flats are being built. Day care, schools, gastronomy, commerce, culture follow. For me, this means constantly adjusting, for example, the orientation plan, drawing streets and buildings into the site plan, revising distribution plans, and updating the cadastre.

Is it worth keeping all these plans?

Absolutely. Not only for documentation purposes. Completed projects must be accounted for. Old plans are useful to understand what things looked like before.

How has digitisation changed technical drawing?

People involved in technical drawing must go along with software development. When I was still doing technical drawing in engineering, I worked at a drawing board with a pencil and ink, where accuracy in the millimetre range was imperative. I learned how to use the first computer programmes at university. Since 1994, I have been working with MapInfo and other geographic information software.

Were you involved of the Johannisthal/Adlershof development measure from the beginning?

Yes, I first worked for the JAAG (Johannisthal-Adlershof Aufbaugesellschaft), which became BAAG (Berlin Adlershof Aufbaugesellschaft), and was then turned into Adlershof Projekt GmbH (today: WISTA.Plan) in 2003. My workplace is now at WISTA.Service GmbH. My everyday tasks have ultimately stayed the same.

What are your tasks exactly?

I am in charge of three areas. Firstly, there are georeferenced site plans from surveys. Secondly, geographic information systems for plans and maps for property management. The third area consists of classic graphic design, for example, posters, flyers, and other printed materials.

You also have aerial photographs of the site in your collection?

They’re super. We use them to document the area’s development. People interested in buying properties can use them to have a look at the neighbourhood. The first flights took place as early as 1994 and have been done regularly since. They fly at about 400 metres.

WISTA and its subsidiaries are active all across Berlin. What does that mean for your range of duties?

I am involved in several projects. I am drawing up the plans for the FUBIC Innovation Centre in Dahlem, the CleanTech Business Park Marzahn, the premises of the former Tegel Airport, and the former freight station in Köpenick.

How did your professional career start?

I trained to become an engineering designer at VEB Steremat, an East German public enterprise in Alt-Treptow, and returned there after studying at the University of Rostock as a design engineer in general engineering. I designed component groups for erosion and crystal growth systems among other things. My colleagues and I had filed four patents before 1990. After the fall of the Wall, I became unemployed and didn’t have the money for the examination fee, so the patents expired. I already had two children when I qualified for surveying and evaluation tasks through ABM, a job creation scheme. Since then, I have been in charge of designs and drawings for Johannisthal/Adlershof.

Who is your role model?

I don’t really have a role model, but I think MacGyver from the TV series of the same name is pretty cool. I was always impressed by the way he found simple technical solutions for problems using ordinary objects.

What do you do in your spare time?

I ride my bike a lot. About 3,000 km a year. I look after my mother together with my sister. Baking is my hobby. I sometimes make elaborate cakes. I learnt this from my dad who was a pastry chef.

Interview by Sylvia Nitschke for Adlershof Journal

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