Berlin's amazing architecture - the new risks, the old history and everything between!
Mark Twain remarked after visiting Berlin in 1891 “Berlin is the newest city I’ve ever seen.” Whether due to wars, fires, or simply aggressive building policies Berlin has been in a constant state of renewal for much of its history. It can be read as a series of experiments in restoration and rebuilding. Some have been more successful than others. Today there is a conflict between those who want to rebuild entirely demolished historical structures from scratch, those who want to preserve existing structures and those who advocate further demolition of much of the 60s and 70s architecture to make way for experimental contemporary projects.
You will be met by your driver who will take you through the countryside of Germany and bring you to Berlin, where you'll meet your personal guide. Your guide will be a real character of the city, someone who studied history or architecture, has years of experience in guiding and is eager to show you his hometown in a vivid and in-depth conversation. If there is something specific you would like to see or a part of history you are keen to learn more about, please let us know beforehand or tell your guide upon arrival. Your guide will organize your lunch break according to your wishes.
There is an amazing amount of experimental architecture in the city of Berlin. This legacy can be traced all the way back to a motto of Frederick the Great “Jeder nach seiner Facon” or “live and let live.”
Berlin has been and continues to be a city of tolerance – also architecturally. All of the experimental projects may not be succesful or suit everyone’s personal taste, but it says a lot that Berlin is willing to take architectural risks in a period when most cities make it impossible for avant garde architects to realize their visions.
- Hotel Adlon
The hotel (now the Adlon Kempinski) was the first building to return to the Paris square next to the Brandeburg Gate in 1997. Although often mistakenly cited as so it is not an exact replica of the 1907 original. Instead developers from Cologne added another story, lowered the ceilings to create more space, and cut down on ornamentation to save costs.
- DZ Bank
The bank building was completed in 2000 by Frank Gehry. He faced the restraint of a façade with a wall to window ration of 1:1. The pillar like elements of his design are intended to create a dialogue with the Brandenburger Tor. The tilted windows on the ground floor and the fourth floor are a subtle deconstructivist touch. The most famous aspect occurs in the interior atrium where a large asymetircal “blob” structure of glass and metal surrounds an auditorium.
- Brandenburg Gate
It was designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans in 1791 with the figure group on top - so called 'Quadriga' - by Gottfried Schadow. The entire structure was once connected to the city wall and stood as the most elaborate of the 18 city gates.
- The Reichstag
In 1882 a competition was held and the design by Paul Wallot, a private architect from Frankfurt am Main, was selected. However he had to make many alterations and arguements with the Emperor and the authorities before the structure was finally completed in 1894.
Built on land originally cleared by the Nazi’s to make way for Germania, it is a portion of Hans Scharoun’s vision of a cultural strip stretching from Museum Isle to Palace Charlottenburg. The Berlin Wall put an end to that vision. In addition to his buildings and Mies’ iconic structure, the other buildings include Rolf Gutbrod’s controversial Museum of Arts and Crafts, the Copper Engravings Museum, the Kunstbibliothek and the Paintings Gallery all by Christoph Himpler and Heinz Sattler after a 1985 competition.
Hans Scharoun’s concert house project, completed in 1963, is designed from the inside out from 5 offset pentagons. It is considered the architect’s most important work and also one of the foremost models of “organicism” – a concept in which a building develops naturally from its inside out without any formal restrictions.
- Sony Center
Helmut Jahn is regarded by some as an exponent of the commercial architecture which Frank Gehry’s “Deconstructivism” opposes (although many would argue that Frank Gehry is now the most commercial of all architects). However, Jahn’s buildings are subtly different from the mass of “utility architecture” and this has made him a much sought-after designer. The 2000 Sony-Center is no exception, although the innovative elements are not so subtle. The plaza roof is a particularly sensational design with its tent structure that is lit with changing colors at night.
- Humboldt Universität
Thebuilding was finished in 1766 under the direction of Johann Boumann and later Karl Ludwig Hildebrandt. The newly founded Friedrich Wilhelm University acquired the building in 1773 and officially moved in in 1810. The formerly rich adornment was reduced over time. The Corinthian column structure of the central portal provides a visual link with the Opera House across the street.
- If you wish to organize your tour more around the Unesco-World Heritage Monuments built according to the principle of the Bauhaus”, or discover the Karl-Marx-Allee, former Stalin-Allee, central boulevard of the former GDR, which erected in the unique Soviet "sugar bakery" style, please let your guide know about it at the beginning of the tour.
- You will receive a complimentary beverage in the vehicle on the way to Berlin. Additional beverages and snacks will be available for purchase.
Mercedes E Taxi
Mercedes E - mid-size luxury car with nice leg room
Mercedes S - large, luxury car
Standard van - such as a VW
Luxury van - such as a Mercedes
Standard bus - regular tourist bus
Luxury bus - such as a Mercedes
- Please note it takes approximately 2.5 hours to drive between Rostock and Berlin.
- Your driver will speak little to no English. We do provide a way to communicate during your ride. Once you arrive into Berlin, you will meet your English-speaking guide.
- Lunch is not included in the price of this tour, but your guide can recommend a great place to suit your tastes.
- Not all the places mentioned can be visited during a tour. This depends on the guide and the schedule, as well as the pace you and your travel companions set for yourselves. In case one or several places are of particular interest to you, please let ShoreTrips know at the time of booking.
Days offered: 7 days a week