The Schwerbelastungskörper (Heavy load-bearing body) (a.k.a. Großbelastungskörper – GBK) is a hefty concrete cylinder in Berlin, Germany located at the intersection of Dudenstraße, General-Pape-Straße, and Loewenhardtdamm in the northwestern part of the borough of Tempelhof. It was erected in 1941-1942 by Hitler’s chief architect Albert Speer to determine the feasibility of constructing large buildings on the area’s marshy, sandy ground, specifically a massive triumphal arch on a nearby plot. The arch was to be about three times as large as the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and was one component of a plan to redesign the center of Berlin as an imposing, monumental capital reflecting the spirit of the Third Reich as envisioned by Hitler.
Under the direction of his architect Albert Speer, Hitler wanted to redesign Berlin as “Germania”, the capital of the new German world capital. According to Hitler’s vision, two main highways, the so-called “East-West Axis” and the “North-South Axis” would have traversed the new world capital in the form of a cross. During the planning, the stability and load-bearing capacity of the Berlin construction site was tested. By building the heavy load-bearing body, the city received a gigantic structure weighing over 12,000 tons in preparation for Hitler’s triumphal arch.
After the Second World War, measurement tests were still being carried out on the pressure chamber until it was entered onto the list of historic buildings in 1995. The structure has been the property of the Tempelhof-Schöneberg district since 2002.