Horseshoe Housing Estate

Tillmann Franzen, tillmannfranzen.com © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

  • year of construction / construction time 1925 — 1930
  • architect Bruno Taut, Martin Wagner

  • year of construction / construction time 1984 — 2015

building typology

Also known as: Britz Housing Estate, Berlin Modernism Housing Estate

The Horseshoe Housing Estate is one of Bruno Taut’s pioneering large-scale social housing projects. Working together with Martin Wagner, Berlin’s planning director at the time, he designed nearly 2000 apartments built between 1925 and 1930 on the site of the former Britz manor in the Neukölln district of Berlin. The housing estate got its name from the unusual shape of its main building.

After the end of the First World War, Berlin suffered from a housing crisis, as living in dark tenements was no longer acceptable. The solution was to build large housing estates at relatively low cost, and thus a new form of housing developed during the Weimar Republic in the form of social housing projects. The aim was to offer affordable dwellings with private bathrooms and gardens while also promoting the notion of community. The Horseshoe Estate in Britz is one of six outstanding ensembles that were jointly listed in 2008 on the UNESCO World Heritage List as the “Berlin Modernism Housing Estates”.

At the centre of the estate is a horseshoe-shaped building surrounding a small pond that dates back to the ice age. Radiating from this are single rows of two-storey row houses with tenant gardens, which are in turn framed by three-storey blocks of flats. Here Taut combined a large housing estate with a garden city. In the spirit of cost-effective construction, he developed four standardised floor plan types and two house types for the single-family homes.

Though the buildings here follow classic modernist style with a pragmatic and functional formal language, they do not at all appear monotonous. Each street is given its own character through an alternating pattern of projecting and recessed building clusters as well as the use of strong colours in both interior and exterior areas, a cost-effective design feature typical of Taut.

In the horseshoe-shaped central building, a faithfully renovated storefront flat with garden today serves as an information centre and café. Here visitors can learn about the Horseshoe Estate and the five other Berlin housing estates on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Map

Map legend

  • UNESCO world heritage site

Contact and opening hours

Address

Hufeisensiedlung/Britz
Fritz-Reuter-Allee 44
12359 Berlin

conveying formula

Anja Steinmann
Tillmann Franzen, tillmannfranzen.com © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

This place is part of the tour:

Tour 1

Discover Bauhaus

Weimar, Erfurt, Jena, Gera, Dessau-Roßlau, Magdeburg, Elbingerode, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Berlin, Potsdam, Caputh und Bernau

Experience the beginnings of the Bauhaus in Weimar and admire its outstanding legacy, which spreads from Dessau-Roßlau to the striking residential buildings in Berlin.

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Tour 2

Discover Bauhaus

Weimar, Erfurt, Jena, Gera, Dessau-Roßlau, Magdeburg, Elbingerode, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Berlin, Potsdam, Caputh und Bernau

Experience the beginnings of the Bauhaus in Weimar and admire its outstanding legacy, which spreads from Dessau-Roßlau to the striking residential buildings in Berlin.

Show tour details
Tillmann Franzen, tillmannfranzen.com