The restoration of this heritage building completed in 1997, was a central factor in the emergence of one of Berlin’s liveliest quarters since reunification. Since the 1990s the area around Hackesche Höfe has been synonymous with the vibrant urban renewal of the New Berlin, combining a mix of business and offices, residential housing, entertainment venues, art galleries, boutiques, bars and restaurants – the unmissable urban mix of the New Berlin which emerged in the 1990s. The energy of post-unification Germany, a quest for renewal and reinvention, found expression in cutting-edge creativity in the arts and fashion and state-of-the-art design. The result is an original, new entrepreneurial spirit characterised by an exuberant convergence of life with lifestyle. The Höfe are an example of how this spirit was realised.
Historically, development of the Höfe went hand in hand with the growth of Berlin as a thriving urban centre. The expansion started around 1700 from an outer suburb known as Spandauer Vorstadt, located outside the Spandau City gate which already had its own church, the Sophienkirche as early as 1712. Friedrich Wilhelm I built a new city wall here and the former suburb became a new urban district belonging to Berlin. Today’s Hackescher Markt takes its name from the market built here by a Spandau city officer, Count von Hacke.
The influx of Jewish migrants and the exiled French Huguenots gave the district the cosmopolitan diversity which it never lost. The first synagogue was built in this area and the first Jewish cemetery established on the Grosse Hamburger Strasse. Another name for the area, the Scheunenviertel (barn district) is associated today with up and coming art galleries and the more bohemian side of Berlin. The largest synagogue in Germany was built in nearby Oranienburger Strasse in 1866.
The SMAD (Soviet Military Administration) requisitioned the property in 1945. The building became communally resident-owned in 1951 after a tenants’ association opposed the destruction of its original Jugendstil façade by Endell. Restoration began in 1995 under a consortium including a residents’ association, private investors, local authorities, and was carried out by Berlin architects Weiss and Partner. The façade was fully modernised including the new completely new addition of the Arch at the entrance.
The main attractions are the Chamäleon Variety Theatre housed in the original wine tavern, an original ceiling from one of the banqueting rooms in the large Hackescher Hof Restaurant immediately to the left of the entrance.
Found on berlin.de – Hackesche Höfe. Read more on hackesche-hoefe.com (Geerman) and Wikipedia Hackesche Höfe. Photos by Wikipedia Commons.
The boulevard was named Stalinallee between 1949 and 1961 (previously Große Frankfurter Straße), and was a flagship building project of East Germany’s reconstruction programme after World War II. It was designed by the architects Hermann Henselmann, Hartmann, Hopp, Leucht, Paulick and Souradny to contain spacious and luxurious apartments for plain workers, as well as shops, restaurants, cafés, a tourist hotel and an enormous cinema (the International).
The avenue, which is 89 m wide and nearly 2 km long, is lined with monumental eight-storey buildings designed in the so-called wedding-cake style, the socialist classicism of the Soviet Union. At each end are dual towers at Frankfurter Tor and Strausberger Platz designed by Hermann Henselmann. The buildings differ in the revetments of the facades which contain often equally, traditional Berlin motifs by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Most of the buildings are covered by architectural ceramics.
De-Stalinization led to the renaming of the street, after the uncontroversial (in the GDR) founder of Marxism, in late 1961. Since the collapse of Eastern European communism in 1989/1990, renaming the street back to its prewar name Große Frankfurter Straße has periodically been discussed, so far without conclusive results.
The boulevard later found favour with postmodernists, with Philip Johnson describing it as “true city planning on the grand scale”, while Aldo Rossi called it “Europe’s last great street.” Since German reunification most of the buildings, including the two towers, have been restored.
Read more on kma-portal.de (German) and Wikipedia Karl-Marx-Allee. Photos by Wikipedia Commons.