Carl Legien Housing Estate
Also known as: Wohnstadt Carl Legien, Berlin Modernism Housing Estate
Starting in the mid-1920s, a housing programme led to the construction of many new housing estates. They were meant to counteract the housing shortage that prevailed at the time and to offer an alternative to cramped tenement housing. One of the most famous of these estates is the Carl Legien Housing Estate, known in German as Wohnstadt Carl Legien, in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district. It was built between 1928 and 1930 according to plans by Bruno Taut and Franz Hillinger, and is named after Carl Legien, the first German trade union leader.
Taut had already built three large housing estates in Berlin, and this, his fourth project, is the most centrally located. Due to the central location and the resulting higher cost of land, higher density development was needed. Taut responded with six long, U-shaped housing blocks of four to five storeys each. Starting from the narrow grid of the Hobrecht Plan, which had defined Berlin’s built fabric since 1862, he used linear buildings and perimeter block development to create ample living space in a limited area.
Planted, semi-public inner courtyards nevertheless made the estate seem inviting rather than cramped. This feeling was emphasised by Taut’s typical use of colour. While the street façades are pale yellow and thus visually expand the space of the street, the façades on the opposing sides of the courtyards each have their own colour scheme. The idea was to avoid monotony and to also create a contrast to the greenery.
All the flats are oriented to the quiet inner courtyards, and as a remarkable feature for the time, each flat had not only a kitchen and a private bathroom, but also a loggia facing the courtyard. On the buildings at the ends of the rows, the loggias are designed as curved balconies, which softens the otherwise right-angled architecture.
In 2008, the Carl Legien Housing Estate was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List together with five other housing estates in Berlin. They are all outstanding examples of the housing projects of the Weimar Republic, which set new standards in the 1920s.
- UNESCO world heritage site
Contact and opening hours
AddressWohnstadt Carl Legien
Directions by local public transport:S-Bahnhof Prenzlauer Allee (S41, S42, S8, S85)
Related Events nearby
This place is part of the tour:
Discover BauhausWeimar, 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.