Alexanderplatz: 1930s modernism meets socialist city planning

Alexanderplatz pre-war survivors

Love or loathe the stark architecture in and around Alexanderplatz, it's a well-known fact that this famous Berlin landmark is almost entirely the work of ex-GDR planners.

Or is it?

In fact, although the square was almost completely rebuilt by the East Germans in the early 1960s, two of its most prominent buildings date from 1929-32.

Not that you'd necessarily know it: the geometric lines of the Berolinahaus and Alexanderhaus blend so perfectly with their surroundings that it's easy to overlook their pre-war status.

Designed by the modernist architect Peter Behrens, the twin, eight-storey buildings at the centre of the precinct were originally conceived as part of a plan to radically overhaul the predominantly 19th-century square.

Alexanderplatz, Berlin; early 20th century photograph of the famous city square

Although this projected was never fully completed, war damage and subsequent redevelopment eventually changed Alexanderplatz entirely. And since today's square is almost certainly one Behrens would approve of, it's fitting that his buildings remain at its heart.

See also: an industrial design classic

Behrens architecture, Alexanderplatz Berlin

Berolinahaus / Alexanderhaus: Alexanderplatz, 10178 Berlin

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