When the Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg Flak bunker was first constructed in 1942, its sole purpose was to withstand attacks from the ground or the air during World War II. Now, the long abandoned, deeply utilitarian structure is getting a rather unexpected second life, this time serving as a public memorial, a center for renewable energy, and a fancy cafe. Located in Hamburg, Germany and designed by local studio IBA Hamburg, the dour-looking fortress—newly called the Energy Bunker—is fitted with solar panels along the roof and southern wall, and—at its core—houses a system in which heat is generated with the use of a large reservoir and industrial waste. In the place of an old aircraft turret at the top of the building is the so-called Vju Café—an odd choice due both the building's past life as a Nazi bunker, as well as, uh, the whole power plant thing.
Much of the interior of the place was demolished by the British army in 1947, so the cafe area, which offers panoramic views from its 98-foot-high perch, is newly designed but created to look rather stark and industrial—with steel barrel fixtures and charcoal walls. So basically, this whole building has pretty much cemented its place at the top of the least romantic Valentine's Day date spot list. Design Boom has the full story, this way.