It’s sooo 1914!

At the bookstore in the Hauptbahnhof we discovered an exceptional Berlin guide: Berlin – The Architecture Guide, by Verlagshaus Braun. It’s a pillar of our bookshelf in Berlin.

Thanks to this book we were able to understand how Berlin went from trading post to capital at the end of 1700, which development logic drove the decision-makers and how the single villages “melted” into Berlin, decade after decade. We were also in the position to understand better to which architectural fashion our Altbau belongs.

The most interesting chapter for me is the Historicism period, from 1876 to 1918, when Berlin became the political, economic and cultural centre of Germany. The most representative architect of the time is Ludwig Hoffmann, who built in Berlin more than Schinkel and whose motto was:
“All those of us who have dedicated our lives to building are unified by the same goal: we wish to give form to the yearning for beauty”. Cool, uh?

The chapter also explains the genesis of the typical berlinese tenement building and helps a lot in understanding the structure of the majority of Berlin’s flats, with their inter-connecting yards.

“Wilmersdorf and Schoeneberg also saw breathtaking growth in new street networks, interspersed with decorative squares (Viktoria-Louise Platz)”.  In the same period also the Reichstag and the Berliner Dom were built. “The drive for the decorative saw a blooming in the city (…) These novelties are often described as a preliminary stage for the Modernist era of the 1920s”.

This book is a must-have for flat-hunters and urban trekkers, as it spans from baroque to plattenbauten, from interbau to Renzo Piano…

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