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In development:
App-Tourguide “World heritage”

Discover at any time and at your own pace:

A UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Weimar Republic

The app is in preparation and will be available for download soon.
Start your tour whenever you want and at your own pace. The offline function allows you to listen to the tour anytime and anywhere.

Werbebanner für die App
This tour is a slightly different and reduced version of my tour “Living in a World Heritage“.
At the start it will be available in german language only.
Also I am still looking for a sponsor 😉

Planned content:
The housing estates represent a new type of social housing from the period of classical modernism and subsequently exerted considerable influence on the development of architecture and urban planning. Six representative housing estates are even UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the “Siemensstadt large housing estate (Ringsiedlung)” is one of the largest.

Architects gave an urban and architectural answer to the housing question of the imperial era at the highest level:
Rationally cut, modernly equipped and affordable apartments with kitchens, bathrooms and balconies, in houses without backyards and side wings, but with light, air and sun.

The high-quality architecture, the modern formal language, the functional apartment floor plans and the urbanistic figures of the settlements provided internationally discussed and adapted models for the entire 20th century.
The planning and construction of the settlements marked a historical turning point in urban planning and housing, as it could perhaps only be possible under the unique political and social conditions of the period after the First World War?

As a counter-model to the private-sector building speculation with its tenement blocks, they were to realize a new architecture for a new city in a new society. Aesthetic ideas of the avant-garde in art and architecture were combined with the social ideas of the political left.
Trade union, cooperative and municipal construction companies became the carriers of this built utopia. The housing estates represent a new architectural type. The modern settlement structures stood out strongly from the contemporary tenement blocks and enabled a healthier, higher standard of living for the poorer classes of the population as well.

In the period that followed, the facilities exerted great influence on the development of social housing and thus on architecture, urban planning and landscaping.

If you want to understand why six housing estates in Berlin have been declared World Heritage Sites, you can’t just look at the facades.
It is less a matter of acknowledging bold building aesthetics than of honouring an idea, the idea of cooperative housing construction. Not to make money with rental income, but to create living space, living space for the many who crowded into the backyards, that was the idea. The social idea par excellence.

In the years of the Weimar Republic, the settlements became larger, more urban, even monumental. But they always kept to the idea of a green urban space. At the same time, the architecture of Neues Bauen was determined by consistent functionality, sequence and objectivity.
This resulted in building complexes of great persuasive power and timeless modernity.

The centenary of the Bauhaus movement will be celebrated in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin in 2019. Many interested people are unaware that Siemensstadt in Spandau can make a significant contribution to this.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site “Großsiedlung Siemensstadt” has a large stock of excellently preserved Bauhaus architecture from 1930, in addition to the so-called organic architecture.
An almost unique opportunity to compare the two directions in a building project.

Walking through a monument the size of many football fields?
You can actually do that during a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Siemensstadt Settlement’.

It is not only about the architectural highlights, there are also many interesting facts about Berlin around 1930 explained.

Who was the settlement designed for, who actually lived here?
Did the architects forget the shopping facilities?
What did Siemens have to do with the project?
And isn’t in fact the housing estate located in Charlottenburg?

These and other questions will be answered during a guided tour lasting 90 Minutes.

We also look at the initial situation and background of ‘Berliner Modernism‘ and the construction of the settlement.


Text: © Christian Fessel