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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - bologna.lab - Neue Lehre. Neues Lernen

Re/Inventing Berlin – Architecture after 1945

Taught by Alessa Paluch

Tuesday, 14:00 - 16:00, Hausvogteiplatz 5-7, Room 008

Course taught in English (with parts in German, depending on language level)

Course description

As destroyed as the former capital of the Third Reich was, many architects and urbanists saw a chance to rebuild Berlin in a visionary, proto-modern way. The in places area-wide ruins of Berlin seemed to those a great chance for a tabula rasa recommencement. But reality took a different turn: Last but not least the division of the city and the building of the wall brought the visionary city plans to an end. The reconstruction of Berlin took place in a fragmented way and is still in progress. Through all times architecture in its plans, visions and realisations was a political statement, sometimes more and sometimes less exposed, but always with a great impact on the social conditions of the inhabitants.


Methodology and learning objectives

Using examples such as Karl-Marx-Allee, Hansaviertel, Gropiusstadt and Potsdamer Platz the seminar is going to retrace the stations and phases of Berlin's reconstruction with a focus on political and cultural developments. In addition the seminar aims to be an exercise in architecture critic.



A constant participation and reading is obligatory. Short Presentations should be held. Every participant is obliged to write an architecture critic (1-2 pages) which standards and form will be subject of at least one session. Assignments (5 pages) can be submitted in German and English.

This seminar suits especially students of art history, history, culture studies, urban and metropolitan studies and geography. Invited to join are all interested students of humanities and social science.



  • Barnstone, Deborah Ascher: A transparent state. Architecture and Politics in Postwar Germany. London 2005.
  • Bodenschatz, Harald: Berlin Urban Design. A brief history of a european city. Berlin 2010.
  • Diefendorf, Jeffrey M.: In the wake of war. The Reconstruction of German cities after World War II. New York 1993.
  • Englert, Alfred: Berlin Modernism. Berlin 2008.