Saturday, 29 August 2009

Modernist Housing Estates in Berlin - Großsiedlung

Berlin has six modernist housing estates that were listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2008. The estates were built between 1913 and 1934 and are representative of the progressive attitude towards social housing in Berlin during those years, which aimed to provide a green and healthier living space for people on low incomes.

The estate at Großsiedlung Siemensstadt was built between 1929 and 1934 to provide homes for the workers at the nearby Siemens electrical factory. The architects were Hans Scharoun, Walter Gropius, Hugo Haring, Otto Bartning, Fred Forbat and Paul Rudolf Henning – part of a group called Der Ring, which later evolved into Bauhaus. The architects were each allocated a different area of the estate to design, which resulted in the varied appearence of the buildings.

After 1919, according to the Weimar constitution, all new apartments built in Berlin had to include a separate bathroom and kitchen, as well as a balcony. The Großsiedlung Siemensstadt estate features particularly attractive circular balconies, this block designed by Häring.

The block designed by Scharoun, with its south facing circular balconies.

Green spaces were provided between buildings and original trees were conserved to provide a pleasant living environment - compare to the overcrowded tenement blocks common at the time. This is the block called Langer Jammer designed by Otto Bartning.

Volkspark Jungfernheide to the north of the estate provided an extension to the green spaces. Still a pleasent and popular area, it has a wildlife enclosure, play areas and an open air swimming pool.


for photographs see also:
Grosssiedlung Siemensstadt, Berlin, Germany I
Grosssiedlung Siemensstadt, Berlin, Germany II