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FU-BEST 12: The Architecture of a Metropolis: Berlin from the 19th Century to Today

InstructorDr.-Ing. Gernot Weckherlin
Credit Points6 ECTS


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 Karl Friedrich 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 the “divided city” 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 more recent developments, i.e. the housing problem and concepts for a more sustainable architecture in a growing city. We will critically examine architectural examples in Berlin from well-known and less prominent architects like Aldo Rossi, Norman Foster, Frank O. Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, David Chipperfield 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. Learning on site will give students the possibility of discovering the city in a unique way. The course aims at offering a deeper understanding of the complex interdependence between Berlin’s architecture and the city’s social and political structures. It considers Berlin as an example for the development of a modern European capital.