The street art in at Cuvrybrache in the Kreuzberg neighborhood have caught the eye of Berliners and tourists alike since they were first painted by Italian street artist Blu in 2007 and 2008.
They are often listed among the top street art sites to visit in Berlin.
One shows a headless man straightening his tie with gold watches on either wrist, connected by chains – a commentary on modern employees’ enslavement to time.
The other is of two men struggling to demask each other, one representing East Berlin and the other West Berlin, making a statement about the formerly divided city’s troubled past.
But construction plans by architectural firm Langhof and investor Artur Süsskind would tear down the buildings on which the murals are painted to build 250 apartments, a kindergarten, a supermarket and an open-air terrace facing out onto the River Spree.
The online petition, by resident Jascha Herr, wants to place the murals under monument protection. As of Friday morning, the petition had collected 4,669 signatures and seeks to obtain 5,000.
“The city of Berlin loves to promote its alternative scene – and more precisely the cultural value of its artists – but it simultaneously discards them,” Herr said in his petition. “It is simply about selling to investors, who only see personal profit in the alternative landmarks of the city. But the cultural identity of the city belongs to all of us.”
Spokeswoman from the Senate Department for Urban Development, Petra Rohland, told Der Tagesspiegel last week that buildings and artworks must demonstrate historical, urban or cultural significance to be protected as monuments. Rohland also noted that the most recent monuments in Berlin are from the 1970s.
“Perhaps this streetart is simply too young,” Rohland told Der Tagesspiegel.
The construction site was also home to one of Berlin’s biggest squats of around 150 refugees, Roma and others until a recent fire burned it down. The fire at the Cuvrybrache squat on Cuvrystraße was started September 18th during an argument between some of the squatters.
By Emma Anderson
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