Berlin, a city with a rich history, has its past symbolized and remembered through the multiple influential and inspirational structures built around it, at different frames of time. With monuments which were built and rebuild before and after the war and the falling of the Berlin wall, and the works of architects like Daniel Libeskind and Peter Eisenman, this city has a wide range of architecture to showcase, and here are 15 such places every architect must visit, when in Berlin.
- THE BRANDENBURG GATE:
This neoclassical monument in Berlin was built as a city gate to mark the start of the road to Berlin. It was designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans and built as one of the eighteen gates within Berlin and not as a part of the Berlin fort. The gate consists of twelve Doric Columns, forming 5 passage ways. Atop the gate is a Quadriga, a chariot drawn by 4 horses. The design of this gate is based on the Propylaea, the Acropolis gateway in Athens.
- CORBUSIERHAUS BERLIN OR UNITÉ D’HABITATION:
Corbusierhaus Berlin or Unité d’habitation is a modernist residential housing design principle developed by Le Corbusier, with the collaboration of painter-architect Nadir Afonso. This was a part of Le Corbusier’s large scale residential project which was aimed to provide communal housing for millions of people displaced after the war. This property was equipped with a kindergarten, medical facility and a garden, demonstrating the Swiss French architect’s goal of creating a city within a city. This structure was meant to be a symbol of German modernization in the post war period and remains a landmark example of post war modernist architecture in the German Capital. The apartments were equipped with Built-in furniture, specially designed storage walls, cupboards with sliding doors, steel staircase and aluminum kitchen counters.
The Reichstag is the seat of the German Parliament and a historic landmark. A fire in 1933 and air raids during the Battle of Berlin in 1945 caused a great deal of damage. The Reichstag sits near the Brandenburg Gate and was not fully restored until after the deconstruction of the Berlin Wall and the German reunification. The original building was designed by several architects and the mix of style in the completed structure was somewhat controversial at the time, but now is appreciated by thousands of visitors each year. The glass dome at the top of the building provides a 360 degree magnificent view of the city. The main hall (debating chamber) of the parliament below can also be seen from inside the dome, and natural light from above radiates down to the parliament floor. A large sun shield tracks the movement of the sun electronically and blocks direct sunlight which would not only cause large solar gain, but dazzle those below. Construction work was finished in 1999 and the seat of parliament was transferred to the Bundestag in April of that year. The dome is open to visitors by prior registration.
- HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL:
The Holocaust Memorial is a memorial to the Jewish Victims of the holocaust, and is designed by architect Peter Eisenman and Engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000-square-metre (200,000 sq ft) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or “stelae”, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field.The first provisional stelae were erected in May 2001. An international symposium on the Memorial and the Information Centre together with historians, museum experts, art historians and experts on architectural theory, was held by the Foundation in November 2001.
- OBERBAUM BRIDGE:
The Oberbaum Bridge is a double-deck bridge crossing Berlin’s River Spree, and is considered as one of the city’s landmarks. It links Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, former boroughs that were divided by the Berlin Wall, and has become an important symbol of Berlin’s unity. The lower deck of the bridge carries a roadway, which connects Oberbaum Straße to the south of river with Warschauer Straße to the north. The upper deck of the bridge carries Berlin U-Bahn lines between Schlesisches Tor and Warschauer Straße stations.
- NEUES MUSEUM:
The museum that houses a collection of Egyptian and multiple prehistoric artifacts including the artifact of iconic bust of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti was built by Friedrich August. The museum was closed at the beginning of World War II and was heavily damaged during the bombing of Berlin and was rebuilt and opened in October 2009. This represents neoclassical architecture and testifies for the museums of the 19th century. The interiors of the museum, previously of Glyptothek and Alte Pinakothek, set examples for the interior layout of this period in Germany and plays an important role in the History of technology.
- JEWISH MUSEUM BERLIN:
The Jewish Museum Berlin (Jüdisches Museum Berlin) was opened in 2001 and is the largest Jewish museum in Europe. It consists of three buildings, two of which are new additions specifically built for the museum by architect Daniel Libeskind. German-Jewish history is documented in the collections, the library and the archive, and is reflected in the museum’s program of events. The Museum consists of two buildings – a baroque old building, the “Kollegienhaus” (that formerly housed the Berlin Museum) and a new, a deconstructive-style building by Libeskind. The two buildings have no visible connection above ground. The Libeskind building is a twisted zig-zag and is accessible only via an underground passage from the old building.
- VICTORY COLUMN:
Designed by Heinrich Strack to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War, this monument stands at 27ft in height and weighs 35tonnes. This monument is built on a base of polished red granite, and sits on a hall of pillars with a glass mosaic designed by Anton von Werner. The column is inspired by the “lighthouse of Brescia” which stands in the Cimitero Vantiniano, the monumental cemetery of Brescia, and consists of four solid blocks of sandstone, three of which are decorated by cannon barrels captured from the enemies of the aforementioned three wars. A fourth ring is decorated with golden garlands and was added in 1938–39 when the whole monument was relocated to its present position. The entire column, including the sculpture, is 67 meters (220 ft) tall.
- BERLIN CATHEDRAL CHURCH:
It is located on Museum Island in the Mitte borough. The current building was finished in 1905 and is a major work of Historicist architecture of the “Kaiserzeit”. The term Dom denotes a collegiate church however, as most cathedrals are also collegiate churches, the term “Dom” has become the common term for a cathedral in German, though they are not synonymous. Berlin Cathedral has never been a cathedral in the actual sense of that term since it has never been the seat of a bishop. The bishop of the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg (under this name 1945–2003) is based at St. Mary’s Church and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin.
- TOPOGRAPHY OF TERROR:
This is an outdoor and indoor history museum in Berlin on the site of buildings which, during the Nazi regime was the main security office. The open-air exhibition in the trench alongside the excavated segments of cellar walls on Niederkirchnerstraße (formerly Prinz-Albrecht-Straße) was retained and sheltered with glass. The room for the permanent exhibition is 800 cubic meters and presents the development and functions of the security apparatuses during the Nazi regime. A room for events at the back of the building can accommodate 200 participants. In the southern part of the area, outside, are a copse of robinia and the remains of “Harrys Autodrom” from the 1970s, whereas the rest of the open space is covered with greywacke. Around the flat-roofed building is a façade made of metal lamellae, which opens the building in a way that it is possible to look out of it to the surroundings anywhere on the ground floor of the building. In the basement is the seminar centre, a library with about 25,000 volumes, the memorial department and offices for 17 employees of the Topography of Terror Foundation.
11. FERNSEHTURM BERLIN:
This is a television tower in central Berlin, constructed between 1965 and 1969. It was intended to be both, a symbol of Communist power and of the city, and to stand as one of the tallest structure in Germany and the third-tallest structure in the European Union.
- BERLINER PHILHARMONIE:
The Berliner Philharmonie is a concert hall in Berlin, Germany, and home to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The Philharmonie lies on the south edge of the city’s Tiergarten and just west of the former Berlin Wall. The Philharmonie is on Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße, named for the orchestra’s longest-serving principal conductor. The building forms part of the Kulturforum complex of cultural institutions close to Potsdamer Platz. Hans Scharoun designed the building, which was constructed over the years 1960–1963. It opened on 15 October 1963 with Herbert von Karajan conducting Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. It was built to replace the old Philharmonie, destroyed by British bombers on 30 January 1944; the eleventh anniversary of Hitler becoming Chancellor. The hall is a singular building, asymmetrical and tent like, with the main concert hall in the shape of a pentagon. The height of the rows of seats increases irregularly with distance from the stage. The stage is at the centre of the hall, surrounded by seating on all sides. The so-called vineyard-style seating arrangement (with terraces rising around a central orchestral platform) was pioneered by this building, and became a model for other concert halls, including the Sydney Opera House (1973), Denver’s Boettcher Concert Hall (1978), the Gewandhaus in Leipzig (1981), Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (2003), and the Philharmonie de Paris (2014).
- KAISER WILHELM MEMORIAL CHURCH:
The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is a Protestant church affiliated with the Evangelical Church in Berlin, Brandenburg and Silesian Upper Lusatia, a regional body of the Evangelical Church in Germany. It is located in Berlin on the Kurfürstendamm in the centre of the Breitscheidplatz. The original church on the site was built in the 1890s. It was badly damaged in a bombing raid in 1943. The present building, which consists of a church with an attached foyer and a separate belfry with an attached chapel, was built between 1959 and 1963. The damaged spire of the old church has been retained and its ground floor has been made into a memorial hall. The Memorial Church today is a famous landmark of western Berlin, and is nicknamed by Berliners “der hohle Zahn” , meaning “the hollow tooth”. The new church was designed by Eiermann and consists of four buildings grouped around the remaining ruins of the old church. The initial design included the demolition of the spire of the old church but following pressure from the public, it was decided to incorporate it into the new design. The four buildings comprise of, on the west of the ruins, the new church with a foyer to its west, and to the east of the ruins, a tower with a chapel to its northeast. The plan of the church is octagonal while the plan of the tower is hexagonal. These components are sited on a plateau measuring 100 meters in length and 40 meters wide. The new buildings are constructed of concrete, steel and glass. The walls of the church are made of a concrete honeycomb containing 21,292 stained glass inlays. The glass, designed by Gabriel Loire, was inspired by the colors of the glass in the Chartres Cathedral. The predominant color is blue, with small areas of ruby red, emerald green and yellow. The church is 35 meters in diameter and 20.5 meters high with a capacity of over 1,000. Because of the distinctive appearance of the new buildings, it is sometimes nicknamed “Lippenstift und Puderdose” (the lipstick and the powder box) by Berliners.
- POTSDAMER PLATZ:
Potsdamer Platz (literally Potsdam Square) is an important public square and traffic intersection in the centre of Berlin, Germany, lying about 1 km (1,100 yd) south of the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag (German Parliament Building), and close to the southeast corner of the Tiergarten Park. It is named after the city of Potsdam, some 25 km (16 mi) to the south west, and marks the point where the old road from Potsdam passed through the city wall of Berlin at the Potsdam Gate. After developing within the time frame of little over a century from an intersection of rural thoroughfares into the most bustling traffic intersection in Europe, it was totally destroyed during World War II and then left desolate during the Cold War era when the Berlin Wall dissected its former location. Since German reunification, Potsdamer Platz has been the site of major redevelopment projects.
- BERLIN STATE OPERA:
The Berlin State Opera is a German opera company based in Berlin. Its permanent home is the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, commonly referred to as Lindenoper, in the central Mitte district, which also hosts the Staatskapelle Berlin orchestra. Originally the Hofoper (court opera) from 1742, was named Königliches Opernhaus (Royal Opera House) in 1844, and Staatsoper Unter den Linden in 1918. From 1949 to 1990 it housed the state opera of East Germany. Since 2004, the State Opera Company belongs to the Berlin Opera Foundation, like the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Komische Oper Berlin, the Berlin State Ballet, and the Bühnenservice Berlin (Stage and Costume Design).