Buildings & Architecture in Berlin

"Berlin is a city condemned forever to becoming and never to being." Karl Scheffler, author of „Berlin: destiny of a city”, 1910

Themes of our private guided tour Architecture in Berlin: overview of the architectural masterpieces of Berlin’s architecture over the last 100 years, from the prefabricated buildings of the architect Schinkel (Plattenbau) to the contemporary ones…. (you can select topics or get an overview of us).

Tour description

Berlin’s heritage of artistic innovation and chaotic political change has produced a fascinating architectural cityscape. Both neoclassical and baroque masterpieces line the streets of Berlin’s historic city center.

2.1.6 O1 - Fernsehturm - private Stadtführung
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The unexpected exchanges between East and West Berlin neighborhoods reflect the varying levels of progress that took place in the postwar reconstruction period. Monstrous structures of kings and dictators, and relics from tyrannical dictatorships demand your attention. In many places, ordinary everyday building are to find side by side with the most impressive architectural experiments of modern times.

Discover Berlin’s diverse architecture and accompany us on a tour to some world-famous buildings of the city. We offer you an excellent overview on one of Berlin architect on an itinerary compiled with much effort.

Your personal guide

Our private guide will make your stay a special Berlin experience. They not only impress with their expertise (all are academics, many are trained historians) and personality, but have a very strong connection with the region (many were born in Berlin, all at least 15 years living in Berlin)!

Some places of interest on your Private Berlin Architecture Tour

You will discover many places of interest on your Private Berlin Architecture Tour. Here a small selection.

Cultural Forum

2.1.6 Berliner Kulturforum - private Besichtigungen
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When Mies van der Rohe left Germany for the U.S. in 1938, he didn’t’ know that he would design only one more building in Germany after 1945, the New National Gallery where his idea of ‘less is more’ was realized in its most genuine way.

Another Bauhaus architect, Hans Scharoun, built his stunning asymmetric Philharmonic here, as well as the state library. The Cultural Forum is the place for post-war German architecture.

Karl Friedrich Schinkel

2.1.6 Neue Wache - Berliner Sehenswürdikeiten
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It is impossible to see Berlin without the buildings of Schinkel, the Prussian neoclassical architect now considered to be the inspiration for almost all German architects since. Some even say he was ancestor of the Bauhaus!

Many of his restored buildings can be seen in the city center: the Old Museum, the New Guard House, and the Theater House, just to name a few, are studied around the world.

Plattenbauten

2.1.6 Berliner Plattenbauten - Berliner Sehenswürdigkeiten
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The unique architectural style of the GDR socialist government, based on pre-fabricated concrete slabs, transformed East Berlin’s suburbs. The monumental block steel structures may appear monotone today, but they were popular and highly sought after by GDR citizens due to their hot running water, central heating and ensuite bathrooms.

Isn’t uniformity an equivalent for equality, the main principle of communism?

Potsdamer Platz

2.1.6 Potsdamer Platz - private Führungen
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In the 1920 heavy traffic made this intersection dangerous for pedestrians, until the first Berlin traffic light was constructed here. A replica of the old traffic signal now stands in the middle of the place. The square also boasts of innovative state-of-the-art architecture, including Berlin’s only skyscrapers, which transformed the skyline of an area that was bombed flat during World War II and remained a desolate waste just west of the Berlin Wall for the entire period of the city’s division.

British Embassy (international embassies in Berlin)

2.1.6 Britische Botschaft - privater Stadtspaziergang
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From the iconic British Embassy designed by Michael Wilford to the astonishing design talent displayed by Rem Koolhaas at the Dutch Embassy, Berlin’s 150 foreign missions have led the way in architectural experimentation. In 2008 the newly built American embassy, designed by Moore Ruble Yudell, will open after years of intense debate about security measures around the building.

Jewish Museum

2.1.6 Jüdisches Museum - private Führung
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During the construction of Daniel Libeskind’s new Jewish Museum with its zinc-clad exterior – seen from above it looks like a silver lightning-bolt – two children were overheard discussing the site. “This is not a building”, the boy said. “Of course it’s a building”, the girl replied,” look at all the construction vehicles, over there the truck and there the bulldozer. It just has to be a building.” Still, the boy was doubtful: “I’ve never seen a building like that.”

The Reichstag

2.1.1 Der Reichstag - privater Stadtspaziergang
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Built as a parliament building for the 2nd German Empire, now the seat of the German parliament. THE central place of German history: from the proclamation of the republic in 1918 to the  “Reichstag Fire” of 1933, to the storming of the building by the Red Army in 1945.

Behind the building stood the wall until 1989. Today, after a fundamental renovation of the building, a glass dome symbolizes the new, transparent Germany. And what happened to the two masters that did create the lettering above the main entrance: “To the German People”?

Karl-Marx-Allee

Formerly known as Stalin Allee: In the 1950s, when the communist ideal was still fresh in East Germany, many labourers volunteered to built the first big avenue of the so called ‘workers paradise’. The resulting buildings are another example of political architecture. The monumental scale of the buildings and the luxury of materials used here were intended to portray the new society. What looked like houses for the rich were actually the homes of the workers who built them. This street has many stories to tell…

DZ Building

2.1.6 - DZ Gebäude - private Stadtführung
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Occupying the site of Albert Speer’s main office and tastefully meeting the building codes of Berlin’s famous Pariser Platz, this work by contemporary legend Frank O. Gehry casts off all external constraints for its interior design. A four-story structure resembling an enormous prehistoric horse’s head rests at the center of the conference hall. The architect refers to this mesmerizing structure as “the finest form I have ever made”.

Reichsbank

In 1933 the directorate of the national bank of Germany called for designs for a new building for the bank. Bauhaus architects’ proposals were rejected; instead, Heinrich Wolff won the competition. His building became a typical example of Nazi architecture: gargantuan in scale, with cold, strict lines, it was a frightening demonstration of power. It’s now of Berlin’s many examples of politics expressed through architecture.

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