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Interesting Buildings in Berlin # 2 – A colourful building in Kreuzberg – Zossener Straße near corner Gneisenaustraße

April 9th, 2012

In the late 19th century, Berlin turned from a courtly seat of an upstart principality into a bustling and modern city – Berlin was nothing short of boomtown in the later part of the 19th century. It was the court of the Hohenzollern family that dominated the city in the 1880s and the era was also referred to as “Wilhelmine Berlin”.

Berlin neighbourhoods had become just one colorful aspect of a varied and pulsating metropolis that would turn into a sophisticated society on the eve of an epoch that Germany would dominate culturally, scientifically and even partially politically.

Many cultural historians have addressing this rapid and unique rise of Berlin from a medium-sized Prussian residence-stad to a world-class metropolis during this period between 1871 and the WWI.

In 1910 the population of Berlin was circa 2 million. Most Berliners lived in the 555,000 multi-family developments which translates into a density of about 4 persons per apartment.

Berlin was then more or less the “inner city” area within todays S-bahn and then those developments outside of this ring.

From the middle of the 19th century, private real-estate and construction companies reacted to this enormous population growth and the related extreme housing shortage in Berlin by setting up and erecting profit-oriented densely built tenement buildings.

From 1900 onwards both building and housing cooperatives/associations or “ Bau-und Wohnungsgenossenschaften” were established by an increasingly socially conscious citizenry.

This in turn provided strong development growth for the great number of factory workers being drawn to Berlin by an almost mini industrial-boom.

The mass residential developments needed to house this population from this period came in a range of standard building and lot forms. The varying degrees of density and enclosure were in the main – as today – determined by the rent that was to be expected to be derived from the property.

The revitalisation of both East and West Berlin urban neighbourhoods since 2000 has meant improving and upgrading of a neighbourhood’s quality and the residential environment.

One very distinct way has been to add colour to the outside of the façade of pure simple typical 1900 Berlin type box buildings.

While it would not look very good if every old apartment building was thus changed – once every kilometer or so is very attractive.

We will show in future photos how both ingenious architects and artists have added colour to the monotonous and drab endless Berliner streets of late 19th century residential housing.

See also previous blog about BLACK MAZE building at Rosa Luxemburgplatz -http://www.ota-berlin.de/blog/05/02/%E2%80%98black-maze-building-berlin%E2%80%99-am-rosa-luxenburg-platz-berlin-mitte-entfernt-50m-von-ota-berlin-serviced-apartments/

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