Hermannplatz has always acted as a border to some extent. At the time of its formation as a square in the mid-18th century and its official naming in 1885, it still marked the border between Berlin and its suburb, Rixdorf. As a result, the western side of the square belonged to Berlin, while its eastern side was part of Rixdorf.
Since Hermannplatz was the sole connection between Berlin and Rixdorf, there was a lively amount of traffic here, particularly in the morning and evening rush hours. In an effort to shed its village character, Rixdorf was renamed “Neukölln” in 1912. Neukölln then became a part of Berlin in 1920. As a result, Hermannplatz became a border between two separate districts, Kreuzberg and Neukölln.
In 1926, Karstadt acquired the 12,500 square-metre Neukölln plot bordering directly on the Kreuzberg side of Hermannplatz. The square’s central location in south-eastern Berlin in particular, as well as the junction station there, meant it offered perfect preconditions for a department store. As a result, it became a communal site for people of both districts, a space where locals of “KreuzKölln”, as the area has become known, would get together. The publicly accessible, planted roof garden, some 4,000 square metres in size, was particularly popular amongst locals and visitors alike.