Am Großen Wannsee 39, Zehlendorf; country house, 1901-02 by Alfred Messel
The house at the address Am Grossen Wannsee 39 was designed 1901/02 by the famous architect Alfred Messel for the publisher and businessman Ferdinand Springer. Located in the middle of a large garden with a farm, it was conceived of as a country manor in keeping with the English model. It is one of the earliest examples of the influence that the modern English country architecture of the time had on German upper class, single-family homes. It was constructed even before Hermann Muthesius made the English manor type popular in Berlin with an abundance of grand models around 1910. The Springer house already shows all characteristic features of this type, such as the street level location, the asymmetrical form linked with extended symmetrical elements, the surface effect of natural building materials such as wooden shingles and rough-hewn shell limestone as well as a broken mansard roof containing complete stories. The high gables and chimneys add to the English effect. All of these architectural media produce an impression of comfort and coziness. There is a conscious effort to abandon the formal, rigid representation customary during the imperial era. Despite its high artistic and architecturally historic significance, the house was converted to a hospital in 1956; later it was deemed of no further use and fell into a state of neglect. Ultimately, the exterior was largely restored from 1979-80 with the construction of five apartments.