Garden City Colony „Reform“
Also known as: Garden City Kolonie-Reform, Reform Housing Estate
Magdeburg’s Reform Housing Estate, which was built in several phases between 1911 and 1938, is an early example of Germany’s garden city movement. Besides master builder A. Glimm, its architecture stems from Franz Hoffmann, Bruno Taut and Carl Krayl – all proponents of the Neues Bauen, or New Architecture. Like he had already done at Berlin’s Falkenberg Estate, Taut used colour as an architectural design feature here, too.
With Magdeburg’s increasing industrialisation, the demand for housing also rose at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1909, workers from the Krupp-Gruson Factory who were keen on Germany’s garden city movement founded the cooperative „Gartenstadt-Kolonie Reform”. Its aim was to provide an alternative to tenement blocks by building affordable social housing in green surroundings. Two years later, along a street dubbed “Verlorener Grundstein” (Lost foundation stone), master builder Glimm began work on the first group of houses.
From 1913 onwards, Bruno Taut and Franz Hoffmann were entrusted with further planning. The Marienhof ensemble was then built, followed by the terraced houses on Fliederweg, Heckenweg and Bunter Weg. The small flats had functional layouts and kitchen gardens that allowed residents to grow their own food, and there were also stalls for keeping small farm animals. Except for the stalls, the dwellings still exist today in their original form.
Later, Carl Krayl – who Taut had brought to Magdeburg in 1921 when he was municipal planning director – also joined the group. Together with Krayl, who was a member of the cooperative and lived at Bunter Weg 3, Taut implemented his ideas for using colour to give architectural expression to the buildings. This expressive façade design is particularly evident in the northern section of the estate, completed between 1926 and 1928.
The last section to be built according to Taut’s plans was completed in 1930 on Lilienweg and Asternweg. Unlike the previous buildings, the terraced houses here have flat roofs. A final expansion was completed in 1938. Thanks to the conscientious and historically accurate refurbishment of its façades, this garden city, which now belongs to the non-profit housing cooperative „Gartenstadt-Kolonie Reform eG”, can still be seen in almost its original form. [KS/DK]