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The original church on the site was built in the s. It was badly damaged in a bombing raid in The present building, which consists of a church with an attached foyer and a separate belfry with an attached chapel, was built between and The damaged spire of the old church has been retained and its ground floor has been made into a memorial hall.
The Memorial Church today is a famous landmark of western Berlin, and is nicknamed by Berliners "der hohle Zahn" , meaning "the hollow tooth". The construction of the church was part of a Protestant church-building programme initiated by Kaiser Wilhelm II and his consort Augusta Victoria to counter the German labour movement and socialist movement by a return to traditional religious values.
Schwechten, a native Rhinelander , planned for a large church to be built in a Neo-Romanesque style modelled on the Bonn Minster with a Tuff stone facade. The foundation stone was laid on 22 March , which was Wilhelm I's birthday. At that time, the entrance hall in the lower section had not yet been completed; that part of the church was not opened and consecrated until 22 February In World War II , on the night of 23 November , the church was extensively damaged in an air raid.
A remnant of the spire and much of the entrance hall survived intact, as did the altar and the baptistry. The new church was designed by Eiermann and consists of four buildings grouped around the remaining ruins of the old church.
The initial design included the demolition of the spire of the old church but following pressure from the public, it was decided to incorporate it into the new design. The plan of the church is octagonal while the plan of the tower is hexagonal. These components are sited on a plateau measuring metres long and 40 metres wide.