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Guided Tour:
Living in a world heritage site

A guided tour in Berlin Spandau & Charlottenburg:

Bauhaus next to organic architecture.

Six architects, one garden architect and 14 different rows of housing.

Built 1929-31.

Far ahead of its time.

It’s even a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Duration:2.5 hours
Distance:Approx. 2,5 Km
Meeting point:“Goebelplatz”
(details below)
If you are interested in the development of Siemensstadt, the eponym of this World Cultural Heritage Site, I would like to mention these additional guided tours:
The development of the Siemensstadt, the industrial heritage, as well as the residential and recreational development will be intensively discussed during the guided tour “Siemensstadt 1.0“.
The so-called Siemensbahn, as well as the local traffic situation and development between 1897 and 1930 is the subject of the guided tour “The Siemensbahn“.
I also offer a special guided tour to the sacred buildings of Siemensstadt.
Siemensstadt, UNESCO World Heritage Site "Berlin Modernism", Hans Scharoun
Spandau-Siemensstadt, UNESCO World Heritage Site “Berlin Modernism”, Hans Scharoun

The UNESCO – World Cultural Heritage.

Some housing estates of the Weimar Republic represent a new type of social housing from the period of classical modernism and exerted considerable influence on the development of architecture and urban planning in the subsequent period.

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 backyard and side wings, but with
Light, Air and Sun.

The high-quality architecture, the modern design language, the functional apartment floor plans and the urbanistic figures of the settlements provided internationally discussed and adapted models for the whole 20th century.
The planning and construction of the housing estates 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 building societies became the bearers 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 landscape design.

If you want to understand why six housing estates in Berlin have been declared a World Heritage Site, you can’t just look at the facades.
It is not so much a matter of acknowledging bold building aesthetics as 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.

A guided tour in Berlin:
Spandau ? Siemensstadt ? Charlottenburg ?

In Weimar, Dessau and Berlin, the centenary of the Bauhaus movement was celebrated in 2019. Many interested people are unaware that the North of Charlottenburg as well as the Siemensstadt in the Berlin district of Spandau can make a significant contribution to this.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site “Großsiedlung Siemensstadt” in Spandau and Charlottenburg has a large stock of excellently preserved Bauhaus architecture from 1930.
This is also in alternation with the so-called organic architecture.
The tour offers an almost unique opportunity to compare the two directions in a building project.

Walking through a world heritage site that is the size of many football fields?
You can actually do that, on a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Siemensstadt Estate” in Spandau and Charlottenburg.
The tour is not only about the architectural highlights, but also explains many interesting things about Berlin around 1930.

Question after question

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?
What does the name “Ringsiedlung” (Ring settlement) mean?
And isn’t the housing estate located in Charlottenburg instead of Siemensstadt ?

These and other questions will be answered during a guided tour lasting about 2.5 hours.
During this tour there are also many partly hidden special features to discover on the buildings and green spaces.
In addition, we will look at the starting situation and background of the “Berlin Modernism” and the construction of the housing estate.


Hans Scharoun created the overall concept for this settlement and also lived here himself! But did you know that 25 years later he also built the settlement “Charlottenburg-North”? The one with the high-rise building at Goebelplatz.
He lived here until his death. His studio is preserved as a museum and can be explored with me.
You can find more details in the tour description of “Charlottenburg-North“.

Newspaper & Radio

There was a full-page article
on this tour in the german newspaper
Berliner Morgenpost

About the architect Fred Forbat and the Bauhaus
there is a small feature on the German-language rbb kulturradio with me:

The times of the guided tours mentioned in the article change in 2020.
Please note the calendar, which will be online at the end of February.

Please also note the other media reports on the References page.

Meeting point:Goebelplatz, next to the Bus stop.
Address:Goebelplatz, 13627 Berlin
Public transport:U7 “Halemweg” Station + 8 minutes walking or
Bus 123, “Goebelplatz” stop + 30 Meter.
End of tour:It’s a one-way trip.
We’ll end the tour at the underground station.
CarSharing:Rides with WeShare & ShareNow can be terminated at Siemensdamm. Best near the S-Bahn bridge, from there it is then about 8-10 minutes walk to the meeting point.
Car:Normally there are sufficient free parking spaces in the immediate vicinity of the starting or end point.
Bicycle:There are a few lamp posts at the starting point,
and some bike spaces at the end point.
ImportantParticipation of the guided tours is at your own risk.
Photographs or video recordings may be taken, which may be used for publications relating to “Man with Hat Tours”.
By participating, you agree to this (legal notice HERE).
Of course I am always happy to receive photos/videos sent to me by participants. Please tell me the name that should appear next to the photo and use this email: or Hashtag #MmhtBln
Thanks a lot.

Was Teilnehmer sagen:

(…) Fessel’s guided tour is very well received by the participants in the group. “I’m very enthusiastic and honestly didn’t know the settlement before,” says Christoph Ronner, himself an architect. (…)

Quote from a full page article on the tour in the german newspaper “Berliner Morgenpost”. July, 6th 2019

The Ringsiedlung is a very exciting testimony to the social housing construction of the 1930s. You get a great overview of the progressive ideas of the architects. The guided tour through the housing estate was really exciting. Many background information.

Georg Charmbalis (on Google)

After the tour I went home with enormous knowledge! Great.

Leonie Spitzer (on Google)

Discovered Siemensstadt with infostation! I learned so much, Christian was a great guide and super interesting. Wonderful.

Umberto (Guestbook entry)

Inspired by the interest on the Bauhaus subject of my weekend visitor I had contacted Christian Fessel in advance.
At his Infostation Siemensstadt on Goebelstrasse, he prepared us with a lot of knowledge and his incredible enthusiasm for the interesting tour through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Siemensstadt.
We have been thrilled (thanks again to C.F.)

Angelika V. (on

Text and all photographs on this page: ©

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