Monuments in Berlin

Strausberger PlatzfillErnst-Reuter-Platz

Strausberger Platz
residential and office buildings 1952/53 according to
a design by the Hermann Henselmann Collective

square according to the design by Bernhard Hermkes 1955-57

Post-War Memorials

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Listing as Protected Historic Monuments

The most well-known symbol of the radical new beginning after 1945 is the "Stalinallee" in the eastern part of Berlin. The monumental street corridor, begun in 1951 modeled after a Moscow archetype, demonstrated the urban developmental visions in the first few years of East Germany: "Palaces for the workers" should be created where the destroyed rental apartment buildings once stood. The "National Building Tradition", elevated to the level of dogma, was seen as the East's answer to the modern style, "the brutal, hypocritical international style of the American influence", according to Walter Ulbricht in 1950 at the German Socialist Unity Party's third party conference. But the long row of high-rise residential buildings captures the spirit of Soviet architecture more, while the "National Tradition" seems to be limited to classicist settings. At Strausberger Platz, the boulevard extends into an impressive oval plaza. The corners of the plaza are accentuated by the dominant features of 10-story tower-like buildings - the "Haus Berlin" and the "Haus des Kindes", erected in 1952/53 based on designs by the Hermann Henselmann Collective. A circular fountain with several fountain jets was added to the middle of the original, simply designed plaza in 1967.

One response from the west to the socialist-style monuments was the redesign of Ernst Reuter Platz in 1955 in a more relaxed, open concept: Individual, varyingly designed high-rises frame a very broad square that has nothing closing off the plaza area. The design of the high-rises is oriented towards the international post-war modern style. In contrast to the centralized open space at Strausberger Platz, two asymmetrically grouped pools were created here, enclosed by geometric paved areas and flower borders. Both urban development concepts were in agreement in their technical optimism: The traffic circle meant for cars determined the layout of the square.

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