Berlin Monument Authority  

 

Residential Buildings

Haus Konschewski


Haus Konschewski

Haus Konschewski, Gottfried-von-Cramm-Weg 33/37, Wilmersdorf;
1922-24 by Oskar Kaufmann


North of Koenigsallee on the banks of the Hundekehlesee is a yellow castle of a two-story structure with a high mansard roof. It was designed by the theater architect Oskar Kaufmann for the Pomeranian paper mill director Dr. Moritz Konschewski from 1922-24. Every detail, from the stairway through the sculpted ornamentation to the fence gates and lattices, is subordinated to a total theatrical effect. The structure represents one of the most impressive examples of Berlin's Expressionism, the school which determined architectural design for a short time after World War I. Connections to the Rococo school are intentional rather than coincidental. A prominent central projection contains the main entrance and staircase as well as the reception hall oriented toward the lake behind it. Elliptically sweeping out to either side of this section are two wings with shortened extensions connecting toward the garden, where the remaining representative rooms such as the dining room, buffet, winter garden and library/tearoom, parlor and music room were located. Part of their décor has survived to this day. The lively lakeside front is complemented by curved Baroque staircases and terraces in the garden. A nymphaeum with adjoining orangerie wings on either side is half-embedded into the slope there. Julius Posener emphasized in Berlin und seine Bauten ("Berlin and its Buildings") that the theatrical applied not only to the architect Oskar Kaufmann, who built the Volksbühne ("Stage of the People") and the Hebbel Theater in Berlin, but also to the owner, a business man of the German hyperinflation period in the early 1920's, who was more interested in conjuring an illusion than in making a "strictly business" impression.
The building's interior was presumably never completed and was probably never inhabited by its builder and owner. Today it is partitioned into a number of smaller apartments, and the lateral, similar structure of the gatekeeper's house and tavern wing was replaced by a new building in the mid-1980s. Nevertheless, the total impression remains overwhelming.