In 1953 as part of the Interbau International Building Exhibition, new types of buildings were designed to eliminate the acute post-war housing shortage. International architects of the calibre of Oscar Niemeyer, Arne Jakobsen, Alvar Aalto, Pierre Vago and Walter Gropius wanted to revive the building tradition of the 1920s.
The Swiss architect Corbusier, who had previously completed unités d’habitation (residential units) in Marseille (1947-1952) and Nantes-Rezé (1953-1955), was also involved, creating the design for the new unité d’habitation, Berlin style. Due to the size of the new residential complex, the “olympischer Hügel” (Olympic Hill) next to the Olympic Stadium on the edge of Grunewald Forest was selected as the site. The construction phase lasted from 1956 to 1958. The high-rise building, with a height of 52.94 metres (174 ft), a length of 141.20 metres (463 ft) and a width of 22.96 metres (75 ft), contains 530 apartments, each with between one and five rooms. In 1979 they were turned into owner-occupied apartments. Along with a large store on the ground floor, there is also the washhouse, which serves as a cinema and the club apartment, which is used to hold exhibitions – amongst other things. In 2004, the Förderverein Corbusierhaus Berlin (Friends of the Corbusier House) e. V. was formed for the purpose of organising cultural and scientific events along with maintaining and caring for the community facilities. For those interested in architecture, conducted tours provide an extensive insight into the listed building and the park grounds. In addition, the tour also includes the history of the building, its construction and the life of Corbusier himself.