Einstein Tower

Einstein tower, Potsdam
Einstein tower, Potsdam

  • year of construction / construction time 1920 — 1922
  • architect Erich Mendelsohn

  • year of construction / construction time 1997 — 1999
  • architect Helge Pitz

building typology

Begun in 1919, work on the Einstein Tower on Potsdam’s Telegrafenberg hill was completed in 1922. The structure is an icon of the new spirit in architecture as well as the working housing for the meticulous requirements of an astronomical observatory. The tower was built collaboratively by the architect Erich Mendelsohn, the astrophysicist Erwin Finlay Freundlich, and Albert Einstein, after whom it was named. The observatory is a now part of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics.

Freundlich, an employee at the Babelsberg Observatory near Potsdam, sought a practical means to validate Einstein’s work on the theory of relativity through observations. He initiated a fund-raising drive and convinced his friend Mendelsohn to plan a suitable structure for the observatory. In 1919, all German newspapers featured an appeal on behalf of the “Albert Einstein Donation Fund.” This publicity ensured the funding, to which the Prussian State and German industry contributed.

The Einstein Tower project represented Mendelsohn’s professional breakthrough, bringing him international recognition. While the scientific requirements of the observatory required a separate foundation for the telescope, the architect had a free hand in designing the architectural shell. He gave the outer façade an organic form with the curves of Expressionism and Art Nouveau. Mendelsohn planned the tower as a pure reinforced, cast-in-place concrete construction. However, because the technique and the materials were not yet advanced enough, a mixed building technology of concrete and plastered brick masonry had to be used. The effect of a homogeneous concrete structure was achieved with the aid of a fine-grained, ochre-colored plaster finish.

Construction was completed in 1922, and the technical instruments were installed by 1924. While the verification of the shift of spectral lines in the sun’s gravitation field was not possible, findings in the field of solar research have been achieved at the Einstein Tower, where Potsdam’s astronomers now measure the sun’s magnetic fields. The tower underwent an elaborate renovation in 1997–99. Due to the active research being carried out in the Einstein Tower, the interior can only be visited in conjunction with a guided tour. The exterior can be viewed at any time. [KL/HY]


Contact and opening hours


Albert-Einstein-Straße 1
14473 Potsdam

Guided tours are usually organized by the Urania Potsdam.

Interested parties please contact:
Urania-Verein "Wilhelm Foerster" e. V.
Gutenbergstr. 71/72
14467 Potsdam
Telefon +49(0)331 291741
Fax +49(0)331 29 36 83
E-Mail: verein@urania-potsdam.de

Opening hours

Der "Wissenschaftspark Albert Einstein" ist tagsüber für Besucher geöffnet, Gäste müssen sich am Eingang anmelden. Eine Außenbesichtigung des Turmes ist jederzeit möglich und sehr empfehlenswert. Der Besuch des Inneren ist nur im Winterhalbjahr möglich, da Teleskop und Optiklabor in ständiger Benutzung für aktuelle Forschungsaufgaben sind. Generell kann eine Innenbesichtigung nur im Rahmen von Führungen erfolgen. Dabei werden Einzelheiten zum Gebäude, zum Teleskop und zu den gegenwärtigen Aufgaben erläutert.

conveying formula

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.

conveying formula

Die Sanierung des Gebäudes wurde gefördert von der Wüstenrot-Stiftung und dem Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kultur des Landes Brandenburg.

Einstein tower, Potsdam
Einstein tower, Potsdam
Einstein tower, Potsdam
Einstein tower, Potsdam

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.

Show tour details
Tillmann Franzen, tillmannfranzen.com © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau