Berlin Monument Authority  

 

Residential Buildings

Haus Rathenau


Haus Rathenau

Haus Rathenau, Koenigsallee 65, Wilmersdorf;
1910 by Walther Rathenau and Johannes Kraaz


At the northern edge of the curve the Koenigsallee describes before entering the Grunewald, a yellow, two-story cubic structure with a mansard roof rises into view: the Villa Rathenau. The symmetrically designed villa was constructed by the former AEG architect Johannes Kraaz in 1910/11 as the Berlin residence of the later AEG president and Imperial Minister of Foreign Affairs after the First World War, Walther Rathenau. Little known today is that, despite no formal artistic training, the architect of the Rapallo Treaty was also the co-architect of his home ten years earlier and also a distinguished painter. As the contemporary architectural critic Max Osborn related, he "not only specified details for the façades and entire décor on a large scale, but designed alone, defined to the last detail, tested, monitored and often fashioned materials, shaped and painted with his own hands during construction". Certain similarities with the former manor at Steglitz are no coincidence, including the windows deeply set into wall surfaces, the dormer window with circular segmented panes located on the centerline as well as the frieze around the circumference between the ground and upper floors. Walther Rathenau considered the distinguished simplicity and cool elegance of Prussian classicism around 1800 as exemplary. Accordingly, he acquired and renovated David Gilly's Schloss Freienwalde as his country residence.
The Weimar Republic's Imperial Minister of Foreign Affairs drove in an open-air carriage from the little house on Koenigsallee to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wilhelmstrasse on a daily basis. He was the hopeful ambassador of a peaceful solution between the victorious powers of the First World War. On June 24, 1922, just one kilometer away from his home, he was hit by the bullets of fanatic, right-wing-radical murderers.