Early modern architecture of west Berlin. Some rare survivors.

Berlin is weirdly similar to ancient Rome. Both have ruins. Rome has layers of history, many different faces that speak of its long story. Berlin has these too, but the span of time it covers is much, much shorter.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Berlin wanted to rebuild to reflect a new future after the great metamorphosis it had undergone. Huge social and economic change had reached the capital. Germany had been unified, Imperial rule in the form of the Kaiser had collapsed, democracy and industrialisation washed over the city, and WWI would lost.

In the late 1920s and early ’30’s economic instability would help the rise of Hitler, who’s regime would eventually see Berlin destroyed. After the war, the dream of the new, modern city was resurrected in the massive rebuilding plans of the late ’40s and 1950s. Politics got in the way here, in the form of the Berlin Wall – meaning two cities and not one would have to be constructed. Only in the last 20 years has a unified Berlin been achieved.

Early modern architecture (best known under the label ‘Bauhaus‘) is rare in the Berlin.

Not much was built before WWII destroyed the city. In this short video we explore the surviving examples and their background.

AEG Turbine Hall, architect Peter Behrens 1909