10 Architectural Highlights In Berlin
Berlin has many things – but above all, it has history. Layer upon layer of history. In fact, no other city has the 20th century’s European history encased in its urban fabric like the German capital.
The complete and utter devastation left behind by the bombings of World War II quickly turned Berlin into a battleground of competing ideologies, culminating in the construction of one of the most controversial and politically charged works of architecture of all time, the Berlin Wall. Even though this physical manifestation of the Cold War is now almost entirely torn down, you still feel the east-west divide. Wherever you are in the city, the buildings you see are not just buildings – they are political statements.
In the 1920s, Berlin came to be the home of the architectural avantgarde and a breeding ground for new radical ideas in architecture, with prominent names such as Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, as well as his Modernist contemporaries Alvar Aalto, Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier all competing to make their own distinct imprint on the city’s urban fabric.
With the fall of the Iron Curtain, Berlin immediately sought to embrace the new world order and a number of prominent post-modernists such as Richard Rogers, Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas and Aldo Rossi were invited in order to hurl the city into the 21st century.
However, Berlin has not been able – or willing – to let go of its haunting past as demonstrated by powerful memorials by Daniel Libeskind and Peter Eisenman that shines as powerful reminders of the bleak chapters in the city’s dramatic and tumultuous history.