Brutalist architecture in Berlin by Le Corbusier
For years I thought brutalist architecture was awful. I grew up in Cumbernauld with a monstrosity for a shopping centre, so it was embedded into my DNA that brutalist/modernist/architecture was crap. But something happened over the years and I began to appreciate the curves, the angles, and the design to actually now appreciate Cumbernauld Town Centre.
My name is Emma and I love Brutalism!
I’ve grown to love the crazy shaped concrete chunks and am especially a fan of Le Corbusier and Gillespie Kidd and Coia (I’ve an old website about them here)
Anyway, back to Le Corbusier. Post-war Berlin needed housing and Le Corbusier had created Unite d’Habitation in Marseille.
Then in 1958 he created a version of this apartment building for Berlin. Constructed in béton brut (rough-cast concrete), hence the name ‘Brutalism’, this could be the first example of pre-fabricated concrete panels. These were made popular throughout Europe with the Plattenbau style of high-rise housing (favoured in Eastern Europe especially).
Now known as Corbusierhaus, the original name of the building was Unité d’Habitation, type Berlin. It is part of the international residential housing exhibition in Berlin in 1957, the (Interbau) 57 or IBA 57. This is where leading international architects of the modernist era were invited to design and build residential housing units in the Hansaviertel area of West Berlin. (I’ll get round to sharing our pics of there one day).
On 17 Floors there are 530 apartments consisting of 173 one-bedroom, 267 two-bedroom, 85 three-bedroom and 4 four-bedroom units. One unit has five bedrooms.
The building has been protected by the Berlin Denkmalschutz since 1996. This is the organisation that protects memorials and buildings. Originally for rent, the apartments were privatised in 1979. The building is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The colors of the exterior were designed by Corbusier together with the painter Fernand Léger. Original plan drawings of the building can today be found in the archive of the Corbusierhaus, the Berlin Building apartment and the Foundation Le Corbusier, Paris.
These are private apartments so you can only really admire the outside, unless you rent one, so that’s my next holiday accommodation sorted!
Flatowallee 16, Berlin
Nearest station – S Bahn Olympiastadion.
More Berlin Sights