Opening Info-Lounge + Premiere of the exhibition

UNESCO World Heritage "Estates of Berlin Modernism" (DE/EN)

Friday, 11.10.2019, 10 a.m.
Opening of Festival Headquarters and Info Lounge
Premiere and vernissage of the touring exhibition on the
UNESCO World Heritage "Estates of Berlin Modernism"

Location: BHR OX bauhaus reuse
Centre island Ernst-Reuter-Platz, 10587 Berlin-Charlottenburg
Directions: U2 to Ernst-Reuter-Platz;
Opening hours: Fri - Sun 11 - 13 Oct, 10 am - 6 pm;
Partner: zukunftsgeraeusche GbR (running festival headquarters and info lounge)

Ben Buschfeld, - graphic and interface design (exhibition)

The exhibition was supported by the Oberste Denkmalschutzbehörde
at the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe. It is a contribution to the
the Sharing Heritage programme in the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.
and will be shown at changing exhibition venues.




Greetings and introductions


  • Greeting: Gerry Woop,
    State Secretary in the Senate Department for Culture and Europe
  • Introduction to the exhibition: Ben Buschfeld,
    Designer, author and initiator of the exhibition +
    Designer, co-curator and communications officer of the Triennial
  • Introduction to Triennial: Robert K. Huber, zeitgeraeusche GbR,
    operator and co-initiator of BHR OX bauhaus reuse, curator of the Triennial


The concept of the exhibition

In July 2008, six Berlin sites Estates were jointly inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are emblematic of the social, economic and political environment of the early Modernism and provide historical answers to questions that many metropolises in Europe are still asking today: How do we want to live? How can liveable living space be created? And what can politics contribute?

In all these respects, reform-oriented housing construction in Berlin provided entirely new standards. The housing estates, which are spread across seven districts, can therefore rightly be considered Berlin's most important contribution to international architectural history. A travelling exhibition is dedicated to them, presenting all six Estates individually. It is being presented for the first time as part of the Triennial of the Modernism and represents (in addition to various tour offers) the Berlin World Heritage of the Modernism, the communication of which was also the reason for launching the "Triennial of the Modernism" as a new format in 2013.

The easily transportable exhibition is realised bilingually (in German + English) and consists of a set of six illustrated exhibition panels that will subsequently travel through the various districts and other European centres of New Building. As an alternative to the fixed exhibition panels shown here, there is also a version made of easily transportable roll-up banners. The exhibition has a modular structure and can establish cross-references to local counterparts in other cities, special anniversaries or similar cross-cutting themes by means of one or more additional thematic panels. This is also done within the framework of Triennial, for which a special module with contextual references to the Bauhaus anniversary in 2019 has been created.

The exhibition was funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe as part of the EuropeanCultural Heritage Year and the Sharing Heritage Programme. Additional third-party funding was contributed by Deutsche Wohnen SE, which today owns a large part of the stock in four of the six World HeritageEstates sites.



Historical background

At the beginning of the 20th century, what is now Berlin grew dramatically. Since 1850, the population had doubled about every 25 years in the course of industrialisation. The "Greater Berlin", which only came into being in 1920 by uniting several adjoining municipalities, had become the third largest metropolis in the world virtually overnight with 3.8 million inhabitants.

This influx was contrasted by a dramatic shortage of housing. Especially in the high-density workers' quarters, hygienic conditions were catastrophic. The dominant type of housing was five-storey buildings in "block perimeter development". The interior of these complexes, often referred to as "tenements", was accessed via staggered backyards and was often dark and poorly ventilated. Flats were hopelessly overcrowded, and diseases such as tuberculosis were common. The need for new housing was estimated at around 350,000 units. A task that demanded completely new models from the politicians.

Urban building societies were supposed to provide a remedy. They were often organised as trade unions, non-profit organisations or cooperatives. With the introduction of the "house interest tax", wealthy private property owners were involved in financing public housing. However, the allocation of funds from the new tax was - politically clever - linked to compliance with clearly defined minimum standards that determined the size, layout and equipment of the flats. Under the motto "light, air and sun", large numbers of two- to three-storey Estates were built, especially in the green peripheral districts. They usually had carefully planned open spaces and often their own house gardens. In order to keep building costs low, rational floor plans, standardised components and modern building site logistics were used.

Most of the Estates survived the war relatively unscathed and are still regarded today as a blueprint for social, varied housing construction close to the city. From the end of the 1970s, scientific inventories began, which then led to the first restoration work and numerous ensemble entries in the Berlin monument list from the mid-1980s onwards. In the summer of 2008, six particularly outstanding complexes from the period between 1913 and 1934 were jointly designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites "Estates of Berlin Modernism":


  • 1. Falkenberg Garden City (1913 - 16)
    [Falkenberg Garden City]
  • 2nd Schillerpark Estate (1924 - 30)
    [Schillerpark Estate]
  • 3. large housing estate Britz / Horseshoe Estate (1925 - 30)
    [Large Housing Estate Britz / Horseshoe Estate]
  • 4. Carl Legien Housing Estate (1928 - 30)
    [Carl Legien Housing Estate]
  • 5th White City Reinickendorf (1929 - 31)
    [White City Reinickendorf
  • 6. large housing estate Siemensstadt (1929 - 34)
    [Siemensstadt Large Housing Estate]

Various guided tours are offered as part of the Triennial of the Modernism .
You can find more information in the programme for the Berlin Triennial weekend 11-13 October 2009.

Extension options

The touring exhibition has a modular structure, i.e. it can be expanded with additional panels according to the theme. Further translations into the national languages are also possible on the basis of corresponding third-party funding. Meaningful and important references are/would be, for example:
- the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus in 2019
- the amalgamation of Greater Berlin in 1920
- the heritage of industrial culture, the so-called "electropolis" of Berlin
- the housing construction of the 1950-70s (Hansaviertel, Gropiusstadt, etc.)
- the challenges of housing construction today
- other centres of New Building, e.g. Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Magdeburg
- comparable developments in Europe, e.g. Vienna, Rotterdam, Wroclaw
- international relatives: International Style, Tel Aviv, Russ. Modernism
- the exile years and activities of individual protagonists (e.g. Bruno Taut in Japan)


English summary

In July 2008, six social housing projects from the 1920s were jointly registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site entitled "Berlin Modernist Housing Estates". They symbolize the social, economic and political environment of the emerging modern movement in Europe and provide historical answers to questions that still arise in many European metropolises today: How do we want to live? How can we make living space worth living in? What can politics contribute to this?
The erection of these housing estates is considered to be Berlin's most important contribution to international architectural history. This is why, a bilingual (German + English) and lightweigth travelling exhibition has been designed. It consists of a set of comprehensively illustrated exhibition boards and banners, which might wander through various international centres of emerging modernism that share a simular history. The exhibition has a modular structure and can create cross-references to the ideas and architectural history of local counterparts in other cities, special anniversaries or similar topics by means of additional theme panels.
The exhibition was funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe and is part of the Sharing Heritage programme that formed an integrated part in the European Cultural Heritage Year. It has been designed and written by the long-term designer and co-curator of this year's programme of the Triennial der Modernism.


Further offers on the subject

Handy guide to architecture and monuments

The bilingual architectural and monument guide, designed to match the style of the period, brings together around 150 illustrations, including many previously unpublished contemporary and historical photos as well as aerial photographs and plans. It offers insight into architectural, building and social history, guides through the individual building phases, draws attention to interesting details and presents the biographies of the most important architects, planners and the first generation of residents. Current issues and projects of recent years concerning the preservation of listed buildings are also addressed. A comprehensive appendix is dedicated to the other five Berlin World Heritage sitesEstates . The book provides valuable tips for self-organised tours and is available at Amazon and elsewhere.

Ben Buschfeld
Bruno Taut's Horseshoe Settlement
and the UNESCO World Heritage "Estates of Berlin Modernism"

bilingual German | English
144 pages, 13 x 21 cm, 154 illustrations, incl. 18 plans
ISBN 978-3-89479-923-6 - Softcover with flaps, 16,95 €
with a greeting by Senate Building Director Regula Lüscher


If you are interested in the topic
please also note the two events