Falkenberg Garden City

Falkenberg garden city, Berlin
Mangan2002 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons;
Falkenberg garden city, Berlin

construction

  • 1913 — 1916
  • Bruno Taut

repair

  • 1992 — 2002
  • Brenne Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH

extension

  • 2001 — 2018

building typology

Housing Estate/settlement

Tuschkastensiedlung, Berlin Modernism Housing Estate

Falkenberg is a garden city estate in Berlin’s Treptow-Köpenick district that is striking due to vividly contrasting, starkly colourful façades that earned the community the nickname “Tuschkastensiedlung”, or “Paintbox Estate”. Built between 1913 and 1916, this early design by Bruno Taut did more than just demonstrate his bold use of colour – it revolutionised housing construction in Berlin.

Taut’s scheme originally envisaged a housing estate with roughly 1,500 dwellings. But the start of the First World War and limited finances meant the plan could only be partially implemented, and only 128 units were realised. While the buildings of the first construction phase are grouped around a short cul-de-sac – named Akazienhof after the double row of acacia trees planted along it – those of the second phase line a nearby road, Gartenstadtweg as clusters of terraced houses.

Like the three housing estates Taut later designed for Berlin, the Falkenberg estate exemplifies the groundbreaking social housing of that time. In this early work, the architect sought to devise an ideal layout for small residential buildings while creating a new way of living with ideas far removed from dismal tenement housing. His urban planning model was the garden city scheme of Englishman Ebenezer Howard.

At that time, Taut was developing his colour theory and increasingly using colour as a design tool. Thus, rather than decorate the estate’s buildings with costly ornaments and architectural sculptures as was then customary, he gave them distinctive details in contrasting expressive colours. This gave each individual house a unique look while also giving the estate a unifying visual concept. Although the design initially drew criticism, it has become the ensemble’s hallmark.

From 1992 to 2003, the complex was renewed and restored in a historically authentic manner by the Berlin firm of Brenne Architekten. Great care was taken, especially to restore the paintwork to its original state, and the estate now shines once again in its distinctive colours. In 2008, Falkenberg was placed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with five other modernist housing estates in Berlin, four of which were also designed by Bruno Taut. [KS/DK]

Map

Map legend

  • UNESCO world heritage site

Contact and opening hours

Address

Gartenstadt Falkenberg
Am Falkenberg 116
12524 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).

Falkenberg garden city, Berlin
OTFW, Berlin [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Falkenberg garden city, Berlin
Falkenberg garden city
Mangan2002 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Falkenberg garden city

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