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Berlin map: Architecture

Updated Monday, 19th October 2009

Berlin is a city of social as well as architectural experimentation. Find out how architects creatively make use of the buildings and spaces in Germany's capital.

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Berlin TV Tower [Image: MatHampson on flickr] Creative commons image Icon MatHampson via Flickr under Creative-Commons license

Discover old buildings that have become unlikely locations for living and entertainment. Explore how strategies for the rebuilding of vital parts of the city are developed and put into practice.

Here, you can investigate how the changes in the character and role of Berlin, in the German political landscape, resulted in changes to the city's architecture.

Sights

  1. The Hackesche Höfe
  2. The Stadtschloss
  3. The Regierungsinsel and the Reichstag
  4. The Jewish Museum

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Theme: Architecture
Location: Rosenthaler Strasse 40-41 & Sophienstraße 6, 10178 Berlin

The Hackesche Höfe [Image: Manfred Brückels on Wikimedia] Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: ManfredBrückels via Wikimedia This striking series of courtyards represents the architecture of the Art Nouveau period in Berlin. Discover this vibrant centre of city life, entertainment and shopping, which has become a major tourist attraction.

The Hackesche Höfe are the largest intact courtyard complex, consisting of eight inter-connected courtyards with stunning architectural features. Here, artists exhibit their work, concerts take place and people can meet, stay overnight, eat, drink and see the latest national and international films.

The Hackesche Höfe are in the vicinity of the attractive Rosenhöfe and the Sophienstrasse arcade.

[Image: Manfred Brückels on Wikimedia]

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Theme: Architecture
Location: Mitte, 10178 Berlin

The Stadschloss [Image: Allie_Caulfield on flickr] Creative commons image Icon Allie_Caulfield via Flickr under Creative-Commons license The history of the Stadtschloss – the Royal Residence – is a telling example of the city's eventful past, and of how the people of Berlin are dealing with their history today. The site has always been a symbol of the power and significance of the city and its respective rulers. From the 18th century onwards, the residence symbolised the supremacy of the Prussian state.

After the destructions during World War II, the East German government erected a palace for the socialist republic on the same site, which was to symbolise the power of working classes.

After the reunification, however, a prolonged debate about the future of this site in the German parliament ended with a compromise: the Royal Residence is to be partially recreated in order to retain the old 'face' of the original building. This reflects the ongoing dispute amongst Berliners over whether it is better to guard the heritage of their city through re-building, or to foster new architecture. The actual site is currently a piece of grass land waiting to be re-used.

[Image: Allie_Caulfield on flickr]

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Theme: Architecture
Location: Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin

The Reichstag [Image: Wolfgang Staudt on flickr] Creative commons image Icon WolfgangStaudt via Flickr under Creative-Commons license The buildings of the new government precinct, near the old Reichstag, are a symbol of the new, reunited Germany and the renewed importance of its capital city.

The Bundesband (ribbon of government), is situated on a stretch of land that used to be no-man's-land along the Berlin Wall, in the very centre of the city, up to 1989. Rather poignantly, in 1991, the government decided to build its new home on this site, to signify the importance of the German re-unification.

Discover the Federal Chancellery at the heart of the development, which was the biggest building site in Europe in the early 1990s. This construction is hailed as almost certainly the most ground-breaking of the new buildings.

[Image The Reichstag: Wolfgang Staudt on flickr]

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Theme: Architecture
Location: Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin

The Glass Courtyard [Image: Stefan Kemmerling on Wikimedia] Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: StefanKemmerling via Wikimedia The Libeskind Bau of the Jewish Museum epitomizes a novel approach to museum buildings and to dealing with the gruesome past of the Holocaust.

Its architect is Daniel Libeskind, who also won the commission for the re-development of Ground Zero in New York. Explore the series of buildings that are as much a sculpture as a museum. The construction was widely discussed among Berliners even before its opening in autumn 2001.

This museum provides a unique experience of remembrance and can pride itself on a series of ground-breaking and thought-provoking exhibitions. Libeskind also designed the Glass Courtyard, the third constructional extension to the museum, which opened to the public in 2007.

[Image: Stefan Kemmerling on Wikimedia]

Useful links

Architecture: further cultural references

Book

Find out more about the city's many famous architectural landmarks in 'Highlights in Berlin', by Clemens Beeck, 2008, Jaron Verlag

Film

Sonnenallee (1999) – this feature film, directed by Leander Haußmann, is based on the novel 'At the shorter end of Sonnenallee', by Thomas Brussig (Berlin: Volk und Wissen, 1999). It is a light-hearted treatment of the lives of teenagers on the Eastern side of the Berlin Wall for whom 'life with the Wall' is an every-day routine full of monotony but also of many forbidden pleasures.

Personality

Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841) – some call him the 'last great architect' who shaped the face of Berlin as the Prussian capital. Many of the most famous buildings in the city such as Neue Wache or Altes Museum are neo-classicist Schinkel buildings.

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