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FU-BEST 12: Architecture in Berlin from the 19th Century to today

InstructorDr.-Ing. Gernot Weckherlin
Credit Points6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits


This course provides an overview of the development of public and private architecture in Berlin during the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Following an introduction to architectural terms and an examination of the urban development and architectural history of the Modern era, the Neo-Classical period will be surveyed with special reference to the works of Schinkel. This will be followed by sessions on the architecture of the German Reich after 1871, which was characterized by both modern and conservative tendencies, and the manifold activities during the time of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s. The architecture of the Nazi period will be examined, followed by the developments in East and West Berlin after the Second World War. The course concludes with a detailed review of the city’s contemporary and future architectural profiles, including an analysis of the conflicts concerning the re-design of "Berlin Mitte", Potsdamer Platz, and the government quarter and other recent developments, i.e. the housing problem. We will critically examine architectural examples in Berlin by famous international architects like Norman Foster, Frank O. Gehry, Daniel Libeskind and many others.

As a complement to the lectures, formal field-trips to historically significant buildings and sites constitute an integral component of the course and will give you the possibility to discover the city in a unique way. We will visit, for example, Berlin’s baroque boulevard Unter den Linden, the 18th century Gendarmenmarkt, the newly built Federal Chancellery, the Potsdamer Platz area, the Jewish Museum by Daniel Libeskind, and the Holocaust Memorial by Peter Eisenman. The course aims to offer a deeper understanding of the interdependence of Berlin’s architecture and the city’s social and political structures. It considers Berlin as a model for the development of a European capital in modern times.