Carl Legien Housing Estate

Carl Legien Housing Estate, Berlin
Carl Legien Housing Estate, Berlin © Anja Steinmann.



  • 1995 — 2004

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. [KS/DK]


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  • UNESCO world heritage site

Contact and opening hours


Wohnstadt Carl Legien
Erich-Weinert-Straße 102
10409 Berlin

Opening hours

This housing estate of private houses and private rental apartments is only accessible from the outside.
A number of commercial providers also offer guided tours through this Berlin Modernism Housing Estate (UNESCO World Heritage Site).

conveying formula

Directions by local public transport:

S-Bahnhof Prenzlauer Allee (S41, S42, S8, S85)

Book: Bauhaus 100 Sites of Modernism

Extraordinary sites associated with the Bauhaus and modernism can be found throughout Germany—pioneering architecture that has enduringly shaped our understanding of life and work, learning and living. This travel guide brings the historical and architectural traces of over 100 examples of Neues Bauen building to life, making tangible the impact of the historical Bauhaus beyond the school, its sites and its time.

Carl Legien Housing Estate, Berlin
Anja Steinmann.
Carl Legien Housing Estate, Berlin
Carl Legien Housing Estate, Berlin
Anja Steinmann.
Carl Legien Housing Estate, Berlin

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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Tillmann Franzen, © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau