10 Architectural Highlights In Berlin

by | 07. Jul 2014


Potsdamer Platz at night. Photo by Spreng Ben/CC

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.

DZ Bank by Gehry Partners, LLP, in Berlin, Germany, interior columns and hall, Photo: Thomas Mayer
DZ Bank
Gehry Partners, LLP

Photo @Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz David Chipperfield Architects Photo: Christian Richters Staircase Hall
Neues Museum
David Chipperfield Architects

Academy of the Jewish Museum by Daniel Libeskind in Berlin, Germany. Photo © Bitter Bredt
Academy of the Jewish Museum
Daniel Libeskind

Olympic Velodrome and Swimmingpool by Dominique Perrault in Berlin, Germany. Top view Photo courtesy Dominique Perrault Architecte
Olympic Velodrome and Swimmingpool
Dominique Perrault

Museum for Architectural Drawing. Photo © Patricia Parinejad
Museum for Architectural Drawing
Sergei Tchoban & Sergei Kuznetsov

Field of Stelae
Eisenman Architects

The Embassy of the Netherlands by OMA in Berlin, Germany. Corner. Photo: Christian Richters
Netherland’s Embassy

The Norwegian Embassy

Quartier Schützenstrasse
Aldo Rossi

Daimler Chrysler by Richard Rogers Partnership in Berlin, Germany. Exterior facade. Photo: arcspace
Daimler Chrysler
Richard Rogers Partnership