In the early 1950s, the West Berlin Senate decided not to rebuild the inner-city Hansaviertel, which had been destroyed by the war. Instead, intended for the exhibition grounds, this quarter now offered space for examples of modern, including social housing. The urban living of the future was left to a selection of ideas by German architects as well as the designs of the most renowned architects in the western world.
The designs by Le Corbusier, Oskar Niemeyer or Alvar Aalto met that of a colleague with whom they had already discussed the same questions in the prewar period, Walter Gropius. For his part, he met friends from Berlin such as Wils Ebert, Egon Eiermann and Wassili Luckhardt.
You can also visit our guided tour to the former Stalinallee: Let yourself be guided through Friedrichshain in this unique competition of ideological positions, for example through the “16 principles of urban development” according to Soviet influence, just as you can see the anti-urban advantages of the relaxed, green, airy city in Tiergarten can encounter. The tenants came and stayed, the architects raved and capital followed suit.
The significance of this project can only be fully understood in view of the parallelism to the representative building activity along the old Grosse Frankfurter Strasse, 1949-61 Stalinallee, since then Karl-Marx-Allee, which was the responsibility of the Magistrate of Greater Berlin. There, the desire for “palaces for workers” became a battle cry, hygienic, comfortable and social living for everyone with the highest quality craftsmanship. The second construction phase corrected this aesthetic, which was dedicated to the national spirit of reconstruction, in favor of a strict modern, internationally understood industrial construction method.
The architectural collectives involved never achieved hero status like their western colleagues, but the works by Richard Paulick, Josef Kaiser and Hermann Henselmann, which are well worth seeing, are part of the legacy of German architectural history.The "two sides of the same coin" are now entering the second application phase for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
in cooperation with the Bauhaus Archive / Museum of Design.