If you are interested in architecture, then Berlin is the right place for you. Here, you can find impressive buildings constructed by expert builders from the imperial era as well as various architectural styles paying homage to the cities history of division and reunification. The eight routes in this Collection will guide you to our personal architectural highlights throughout Berlin. Instead of the typical tourist hotspots such as the TV Tower, Berlin Cathedral, Potsdamer Platz or Gendarmenmarkt, we have selected a few real insider tips for you.
Our routes are as varied as Berlin's history and the architectural styles that characterize the German capital. We will take you to residential concepts from the Weimar Republic in the Hufeisensiedlung (horse shoe building) and the Fliegerviertel (pilot's quarter). In Dahlem, you will find one of the largest self-supporting steel and glass constructions in the world in the Botanical Garden. In Hansaviertel in West Berlin and on Karl-Marx-Allee in the former GDR, you will discover the various building designs of divided Berlin first hand. Meanwhile, in Charlottenburg, you will marvel at magnificent architectural styles from the last hundred condensed into a small space.
You can easily reach all the routes by S-Bahn. And, best of all: they are all quite short — so after one route you can jump into the S-Bahn and visit another architectural highlight on the same day.
Around the former Tempelhof airfield, two architectural highlights await you on this tour. First and foremost, of course, is the enormous building of the airport, which in its curved form still ranks among the largest buildings in the world today. Not at all big - but rather small-scale and interlaced - is the garden city Neu-Tempelhof, which is also affectionately called "the aviation district". If you stroll through the streets here, you can see the three different sections of construction as in the rings of a tree: the big bourgeois tenement houses from 1911, the garden city from the 1920s and the lax development of smaller apartment buildings from the 1950s. In particular, the garden city with its small terraced houses and idyllic front gardens and parks is one of the most popular residential areas of Berlin.The starting point of your tour is the Tempelhof S-Bahn station, which you can reach with the S-Bahn lines S41, S42, S45 and S46. From here it goes on the Tempelhofer dam only in the direction of the airfield. At the second intersection, turn left and walk through a double archway into the aviation district. Here you leave the hustle and bustle of the Tempelhofer Damm behind you and as you stroll along the pretty front gardens you forget that you are still in the middle of Berlin.At Adolf-Scheidt-Platz, the center of the aviation district, turn right and zigzag through the quiet streets to the airport. At the main entrance you can still look at the head of the old imperial eagle and take a look at the terminal. This is normally closed, but as part of a guided tour, you can also visit the airport from the inside. Here you can find all information: thf-berlin.de/fuehrungen/mythos-tempelhof.Via the Columbiadamm it goes to the entrance of Tempelhofer Feld. Here, our route takes you on a wonderful view over the runways before you get back on the S-Bahn at the S-Bahn station Hermannstraße.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Berlin had grown enormously within just a few years - from almost 900,000 inhabitants in 1875 to more than two million Berliners by 1900. Especially for the poorer people, the living conditions in the hurriedly built tenements were appalling - and various architects developed new living concepts. One of them was Bruno Taut, whose most famous building project is probably the Hufeisensiedlung in Berlin Britz. Not only the unusual shape, but above all the restrained language of form, the modern equipped apartments and the relation to shared green spaces was absolutely revolutionary in the 1920s. The horseshoe settlement has lost nothing of its charm and still enjoys great popularity among its inhabitants. Thanks to the open design, you can take a close look at them on this tour.Starting point of your tour to the Hufeisensiedlung is the S-Bahn station Neukölln. With the lines S41, S42, S45, S46 and S47 you come to the starting point. Via the bustling Karl-Marx-Straße, head towards Teltowkanal. After you have crossed the channel, it is slowing down. You walk through the park on the bush jug and a little later you reach the Hufeisensiedlung.Particularly worthwhile is a visit to the Café Infostation. There are not only steaming hot drinks and delicious cakes, but also interesting exhibitions about the horseshoe settlement and a bookstore with architecture books. The focal point of the exhibition is the living-room unit with original furnishings belonging to the café. All information about the exhibition can be found here hufeisensiedlung.info/foerderverein/projekte/cafe-und-ausstellung-in-der-info-station.html.From the Hufeisensiedlung it then goes on another route over the Teltow Canal back to S-Bahn station Hermannstraße.
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Buildings made of steel and glass - that's when you first think of skyscrapers from New York or Tokyo. But one of the largest self-supporting steel-glass constructions has been in Berlin Dahlem for more than 100 years: the large tropical greenhouse of the Botanical Garden. 60 meters long, 30 meters wide and proud 25 meters high - in the vast interior actually grows a complete tropical rainforest. Architect Alfred Koerner had the visionary plan for the tropical house and for further showhouses. Together with the cactus houses, the small tropical houses and above all the freestanding Mediterranean house, the tropical house forms a splendid ensemble, which is not only interesting for plant lovers. Our tour takes you to the tropical houses and of course in a big round through the botanical garden.The starting point of your tour is the S-Bahn station Botanischer Garten, which is served by the S1 line every 20 minutes. From here you will pass the stately houses of Berlin Dahlem and the entrance to the botanical garden on the street Unter den Eichen. Over the wide promenade you first stroll directly to the greenhouses. Give yourself plenty of time for the round - and do not forget your camera. Here you can take exciting photos of extremely rare and fascinating plants.The trail leads past cacti and succulents of various shapes, to carnivorous plants, to tropical crops and of course into the vast tropical hall. The shines after their renovation in 2009 in a new light. After the tour through the greenhouses you walk through the Alpinarium and the Arboretum back to the S-Bahn station.
A few years after the German partition developed completely separate architectural languages in the eastern part and in the western part of the city. Among the highlights was the West Berlin Interbau in 1957, which was positioned as an alternative to the GDR boulevard - the Karl-Marx-Allee. In contrast to the representative and neoclassical workers' palaces on the Karl-Marx-Allee, architects from all over the world designed buildings for the Interbau in the West Berlin Hansaviertel. No two buildings resemble each other - but still the spirit of departure and the language of the Bauhaus school unites the individual designs. If you stroll through the quiet streets here, the buildings will take you on a mental journey into the late 1950s. Clear forms, unfussy façades, modern materials, large windows and open-plan structures are a symbol of modern architecture and are still shaping the style to this day.Starting point of your tour is the S-Bahn station Bellevue, which is served by the lines S3, S5, S7 and S9. From here it goes in a wide loop through the Hansaviertel and past the individual buildings of Interbau 1957. Star architects such as Alvar Aalto, Egon Eiermann, Walter Gropius, Arne Jacobsen, Oscar Niemeyer and Max Taut worked on the overall planning and the individual Buildings with - here the crème de la crème of the architects of the western world was the honor.In addition to the residential high-rise buildings stand out three buildings in particular: the Catholic St. Ansgar Church with the small-scale window facade, the Kaiser Friedrich Memorial Church with the open bell tower and the huge concrete molds and finally the Academy of Arts.After the round through the Hansaviertel you walk along the banks of the Spree, once again enjoy the view of the House of World Cultures - better known as the "pregnant oyster" - and finally reach the destination of the route, the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. From there it goes back home with the S-Bahn.
A stroll through Charlottenburg is a must, if you are interested in architecture. The center of the City West around the Breitscheidplatz has been the flagship of Charlottenburg for more than 100 years - and at that time the city was not even part of Berlin. Until its incorporation into Greater Berlin in 1923, Charlottenburg was the rich neighbor of Berlin - you can still see that today in the magnificent buildings along the Ku'Damm. During the Berlin partition, Charlottenburg became the new center of West Berlin and buildings such as the Bikini building, the Zoopalast, the Europa-Center and, of course, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church shaped the character of Breitscheidplatz for decades. With the turnaround, Charlottenburg fell into oblivion next to Alexanderplatz, but City West has been booming for a few years now. The skyscrapers Waldorf-Astoria, Upper West and Neues Kranzler Eck stand for a new self-confidence of the Charlottenburgers and give the Breitscheidplatz a special touch of international metropolis, which you only feel in a few places in Berlin.Starting point of the architectural excursion is the Zoologischer Garten station - during the German division of the railway station of West Berlin. You can reach it comfortably with the lines S3, S5, S7 and S9. From here you first walk in the direction of Breitscheidplatz. You pass the renovated Zoopalast and the newly designed Bikini-Haus, which today houses the most unusual mall in Berlin. Directly opposite is the striking Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church: in the middle stands the ruins of the old church tower as a memorial to peace, framed by the new bell tower and the octagonal church by architect Egon Eiermann. Our tip: It is absolutely worthwhile to see the new church - also called Puderdose in the vernacular - from the inside. In the twilight of the countless blue windows, you will experience an unexpected place of peace and contemplation in the middle of bustling Charlottenburg.Afterwards it continues on the Kurfürstendamm. On the broad boulevard, palatial townhouses from the Wilhelminian era and spectacular new buildings are lined up. Particularly noteworthy: The Steel and Glass Palace "Neues Kranzler Eck" by Helmut Jahn. Along the shop windows you walk on to Grolmanstraße. Here you turn right and come to the cozy Savignyplatz. If you like, you can take a break here in one of the cafes or restaurants before returning home from the S-Bahn station Savignyplatz on lines S3, S5, S7 and S9.
The Karl-Marx-Allee in East Berlin's Friedrichshain district is the perfect counterpart to the Interbau 57 in the West Berlin Hansaviertel. The magnificent boulevard, which runs from Alexanderplatz to the Frankfurter Tor, was planned as a figurehead for the success of socialism - even today, the workers' palaces between Strausberger Platz and the towers at Frankfurter Tor do not miss their effect. The impressive facades, meter-high arcades and ornate decorations simply have a special charm. As impressive as the buildings are, they were so expensive in construction - the dream to build such palaces for all GDR residents was soon over. Instead followed in the 1960s between Strausberger Platz simple ten-story prefabricated buildings. Standardized, unadorned, functional - there was little left of the flair of the socialist upheaval and the GDR planners had to come to terms with the harsh reality and the weakening economy.Starting point of your tour is the Alexanderplatz station, which is served by the S-Bahn lines S3, S5, S7 and S9. From here it goes past the world clock directly over the Alexanderplatz. You walk past the congress hall with its distinctive dome and then stand on Karl-Marx-Allee. Appropriately, it goes from here almost backwards through time: First, expect the prefabricated buildings from the 1960s. Between the unadorned skyscrapers, there are also two special buildings from the GDR era: the Kino International and directly opposite the Café Moskau. Cinema International takes you to a different time with a panoramic café and wood paneling - and you can enjoy a first-class selection of films here. Maybe you'll make a stop here on the way back?Shortly thereafter, it passes between the two towers of Strausberger Platz - a great sight! From here begins the section of the workers' palaces from the 1950s, which are also referred to as "sugar confectionery" due to the filigree, decorated tiles. On the wide sidewalk, you stroll along the road, maybe treat yourself to an ice cream in the Italian ice cream parlor "Il Viale" and admire the magnificent buildings. At the domed towers of the Frankfurter Tor, you finally turn around and walk across the street under sweeping trees back to the Alexanderplatz station.
On a hill next to the Olympic Stadium, a huge box juts into the West Berlin sky: Le Corbusier's living machine. The impressive high-rise residential building was built as part of the Interbau 1957 in the West Berlin Hansaviertel. Due to the immense dimensions it did not fit into the development plan and was instead built on an open space in Charlottenburg. Apart from the colorful façade surfaces, the skyscraper presents itself extremely reserved - and thus conceals its ingenious concept. The revolutionary architect Le Corbusier was concerned with the low-cost construction of high-quality apartments for all people. Standardized layouts, modern materials and built-in furniture such as kitchens and wall cupboards were just as much a part of the concept as common areas, a supermarket and a rooftop swimming pool - a "vertical city". The Berlin building regulations for social housing, however, fell victim to several ideas. In the end there was only a laundry room and a self-service shop. Residents can only breathe a sigh of relief with one regulation: The originally planned ceiling height of 2.26 meters had to be increased to 2.50 meters. The Corbusierhaus regularly hosts exhibitions where you can also visit individual apartments: corbusierhaus.org.With the S-Bahn S3 and S9 you drive to the S-Bahnhof Olympiastadion, where your round trip begins. From here it is only a few steps to the Corbusierhaus - which also bears the name Wohnmaschine or in French "Unité d'Habitation". The huge dimensions are still impressive today, even though the house has gotten a bit old in the meantime. After all, it has been a listed building since 1996 and therefore it is partially restored to its original state. Particularly exciting is the meter-high stand, on which the building is perched.From the living machine, it goes over the army road to the Dragon Mountain in Grunewald. The greened Trümmerberg with its broad summit plateau offers you a wonderful view of Berlin and above all a new perspective on the living machine. Up here, it becomes clear what a view the residents of the upper floors enjoy every day.Over beautiful forest roads our route leads you finally to the bell tower at the Olympic Stadium. If you fancy another view, you can climb up here. Otherwise, it's about the stadium back to the S-Bahn station.
The Zeiss Großplanetarium in Prenzlauer Berg is probably the most recently built representative building of the GDR. For the 750th anniversary of the Berlin GDR design director Erhardt Gißke designed a dream of ornate concrete facade and shiny metal ball. In keeping with the interplanetary demonstrations inside, the building looks like a landed UFO. After a major refurbishment in 2016, the planetarium is today considered the most modern science theater in Europe - so bring enough time for your tour to see one of the screenings. The program can be found here planetarium.berlin.Our short tour starts at the S-Bahn station Greifswalder Straße, which is served by the lines S41, S42, S8 and S85. A few steps you follow the Greifswalder Straße until it then goes into the Ernst-Thälmann-Park. Incidentally, the distinctive prefabricated buildings and the associated skyscrapers on the edge of the park are also the work of Erhardt Gißke. Even if they look rather bleak from the outside, the residents of the upper floors enjoy a first-class, unobstructed view of Berlin.After a detour to the monumental Ernst-Thälmann monument, you stroll through the park to the planetarium. Even if you do not want to watch a performance, it's worth taking a look into the foyer. There is an interesting photo exhibition about the construction and renovation of the planetarium. Afterwards we will drive over the Prenzlauer Allee to the Prenzlauer Allee S-Bahn station, where you can start your journey home by train.