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Berlin Modernism

Architecture and Urbanity

Bauhau-Archiv, building
Bauhau-Archiv © Bauhaus-Archiv, Foto: Karsten Hintz

Discover the architectural highlights and upcoming events to mark the centenary of Bauhaus. Berlin Modernism presents Berlin's architectural diversity. Find out more about the history and architects of the Bauhaus movement like Gropius, Taut and van der Rohe and what Berlin Modernism is all about.

Modernism has had a lasting impact on the cityscape of Berlin. In 2008, some six Berlin Modernist housing estates were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Numerous other buildings such as the Lemke House, the ADGB Trade Union School and the Bauhaus Archive itself bear witness to the groundbreaking power of these ideas, which spread all over the world.

Rethinking the world - All about the Bauhaus year

Who built what where? We have put together exciting information about the history of the Bauhaus movement and its most important architects for you. In celebration of the Bauhaus centenary, the Bauhaus Association has devised a nationwide Grand Tour of Modernism. Follow in the footsteps of the Bauhaus architects and discover their continued influence on Berlin's architecture from the post-war period to the present day. You will find all the events surrounding the Bauhaus anniversary in our events calendar.

Bauhaus and Modernism

Bauhaus is a movement of diversely shaped modernism. The term modernism unites all avant-garde anti-historicist movements in architecture after 1919. What all these schools of thought have in common is the renunciation of the purely decorative and the embracing of functionality.

The large-scale use of new, industrially manufactured building materials such as steel, concrete and glass, the play with colour surfaces and the multiple use of cubic forms characterise the buildings of Classical Modernism. However, there are also curved and even expressive shapes. 

Locations of Berlin Modernism

Discover modern architecture

Grosssiedlung Siemensstadt
Wohnstadt Carl Legien
© Landesdenkmalamt Berlin, Foto: Wolfgang Bittner

Carl Legien housing estate

With the Carl Legien housing estate, the architect Bruno Taut once again demonstrated the full extent of his skills: modern living on the edge of the city.

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Falkenberg Garden City
© Landesdenkmalamt Berlin, Foto: Wolfgang Bittner

Falkenberg Garden City

A little piece of England in Berlin: Bruno Taut’s design for the Tuschkastensiedlung, or Paintbox Estate, was based on the garden towns of Britain.

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The large Siemensstadt housing estate
© Landesdenkmalamt Berlin, Foto: Wolfgang Bittner

The large Siemensstadt housing estate

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and to this day a paragon of modern urban development: the large Siemensstadt housing estate in Spandau and Charlottenburg. A consortium of several architects, including Hans Scharoun and Walter Gropius, was formed for the construction to design the 1,370 flats in the estate. Each architect was able to design individual housing blocks, with the result being a varied neighbourhood with different forms of building on display.

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Horseshoe Estate - view from the air
© Oliver Lang

Hufeisensiedlung Britz (Horseshoe Estate )

The Hufeisensiedlung (Horseshoe Estate) was built according to the plans by Bruno Taut and Martin Wagner in 1925-1933, on a former manor estate in what is now the Neukölln district of Berlin. Even today, the horseshoe formation visible from the sky harks back to the site's former use. The functional and modest design gave the direction for housing estate architecture in the 1920s and 1930s. The asymmetrical architecture arranged in a staggered fashion gave way to a new form of urban design.

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Siedlung Schillerpark
© visitBerlin, Foto: Angela Kröll

Schillerpark housing estate

The housing estate in the English Quarter was built 1924-1930 by Bruno Taut close to Schillerpark from which the name is derived. Taut follows the example of modern baked brick-architecture of Holland. The enlargement was carried out by Hans Hoffmann 1954-1959 in Corker Straße.

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White City - Schillerpromenade housing estate
© Landesdenkmalamt Berlin, Foto: Wolfgang Bittner

Weiße Stadt (White City)

Three architects created a residential complex in north-west Berlin that became a worldwide symbol of modernism.

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Mies van der Rohe Haus in Berlin
© visitberlin, Foto: Philip Koschel

Mies van der Rohe house

It was the last building that Bauhaus architect Mies van der Rohe designed in Berlin. Now it’s a gallery exhibiting modern art.

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AEG Turbine Factory, Huttenstraße
© Landesdenkmalamt Berlin, Foto: Wolfgang Bittner

AEG Turbine Factory

The AEG turbine factory is a turning point in architectural history: architect Peter Behrens and engineer Karl Bernhard were the first to apply stylistic elements to an industrial building. However, instead of just using stone and chisels, the …

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© visitBerlin, Foto: Philip Koschel

Bauhaus Archive / Museum of Design

Discover the world’s largest collection on the history of the Bauhaus in the Berlin Bauhaus Archive.
You will find "The temporary Bauhaus Archive" at Knesebeckstraße 1-2, Berlin-Charlottenburg.

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Kulturforum Berlin with Neue Nationalgalerie, St. Matthäus Church, Philharmonie, Kunstgewerbemuseumr infront of Potsdamer Platzes
© visitberlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien


Paintings, instruments, books, outfits, one of the world’s most famous concert halls and much more besides can be found in Berlin at the Kulturforum at Potsdamer Platz.

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Hansaviertel Berlin
© Landesdenkmalamt Berlin, Foto: Wolfgang Bittner


West and East go head to head: in response to the grand buildings of the Stalinallee, the Hansaviertel was made the stage for new design.

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Ahrensfelder Terrassen
© visitBerlin, Foto: Angela Kröll

Ahrensfelder Terrassen

Umbau statt Abriss: Im Norden von Marzahn-Hellersdorf wird ein Plattenbauviertel zu einem Vorzeigeprojekt in der Stadtentwicklung.

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Strausberger Platz at Stalinallee (Karl-Marx-Allee)
© visitberlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien


Modern apartments with historical facade decorations – the GDR builds workers’ palaces in the Stalinist wedding-cake style.

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Top events for the Bauhaus year

In just 14 years, the Bauhaus movement revolutionised the architectural language, helped to create the foundations of modern functional design and dared to adopt a new way of thinking. Bauhaus is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2019. You can find more events on the Bauhaus year in the events calendar.

Berlin: the Bauhaus city

Berlin was the place of work, centre of life and artistic medium for a large number of prominent Bauhäusler. The social and cultural centre of Germany fascinated and challenged the key players of the Bauhaus movement. Berlin, the mythical city of modernism, with its social and political contrasts, a dazzling cultural life and its own ambivalence and gruffness, served as a source of inspiration for the ideas of modernist Bauhaus artists in Berlin.

Modernism has had a lasting influence on Berlin's cityscape. In 2008, some six Berlin Modernist housing estates were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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5 reasons why you should travel to Berlin for the Bauhaus anniversary

  • Berlin was home and the place of work for many famous Bauhaus architects
  • The Lemke House and the Nationalgalerie in Berlin are the last two buildings of Mies van der Rohe in Germany
  • At Schokoladen Hamann in Wilmersdorf you can buy chocolate in the Bauhaus-style shop
  • In the Siemensstadt housing estate, visitors can experience a unique architectural diversity of classical modernism in a very confined space
  • In Berlin alone, six large Berlin Modernist housing estates have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites


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