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Urban space and housing types for the young metropolis 1890-1940

Übersetzung des abgebildeten Archivplans in eine Neuzeichnung
© Archiv der BWV zu Berlin eG, Zeichnungen Kilian Bruns, Collage Vivien Nowak
Start date:
Research project
Design ∙ Build ∙ Preserve

The design and future of the European city are central issues of the present. Especially in large cities, the search for solutions to the question of compact living and the question of appropriate large-scale and sustainable further development of the built environment is omnipresent. In this context, findings from projects that have already been realised are highly significant: they confirm the continuing relevance of our artistic and cultural tradition for understanding the past and its further development in the future.

The BLOCK.REFORM.BERLIN project aims to document, reflect and debate the architectural and urban cultural traditions of reform housing in the European metropolis through built projects. The research field is related to the period 1890-1940 and the location Berlin and deals with three central themes: the morphology of the block, the reform of urban planning and housing, and the architecture of the big city. By processing these three themes, the aim is to gain new knowledge about contemporary urban design by examining selected exemplary examples at different scales. Therefore, the research will be conducted using the tools of the design architect: historical and bibliographical research, analysis of urban morphology, typological classification, and tracing of case studies at a uniform scale.

The research will address the ongoing question of qualitative solutions for living in the big city by creating liveable urban spaces and at the same time affordable, modern, safe and sustainable housing without neglecting the search for morphological difference and at the same time producing sustainable construction. Many aspects will be addressed: a renewed attention to urban planning as an overall discipline, the debate between urban texture and architectural object, dealing with the differentiation between public and private spaces, and a functional and social mix. In addition, topics such as the land issue and parcelling, resource optimisation, the role of housing cooperatives and societies in creating affordable housing and, last but not least, health (light / air / green / noise protection), the common good and services of general interest will again be brought to the fore.

Specifically, the research aims to link the experiments of that time with today's culture of conversion, procedure and participation, with the strategies of redensification and urban repair, and thus to show new development perspectives for rich, diverse and qualitative housing.

The first interim results were presented at a conference in September 2021.

Funding partner

  • Carsten Sellschopf
  • German Building Law Day e.V.
  • Deutsche Wohnen SE
  • Hansgrohe Germany Sales GmbH
  • Hubertus Negwer
  • Association of Berlin Brandenburg Housing Companies (BBU)

Cooperation partner

  • Berlin-Brandenburg Association of Architects and Engineers (AIV)

  • Federal Foundation for Building Culture

  • Berlin State Monuments Office

  • Berlin State Archive

  • Cooperative Forum Berlin e.V.

  • Civil Servants' Housing Association Berlin eG

  • Berliner Baugenossenschaft eG

  • Berliner Bau- und Wohnungsgenossenschaft von 1892 eG

  • Charlottenburger Baugenossenschaft eG

  • Erbbauverein Moabit eG

  • Vaterländischer Bauverein eG

  • Wohnungs-Bauverein Neukölln eG
  • degewo AG

  • HOWOGE Housing Association mbH

  • Deutsche Wohnen SE

  • Vonovia SE

  • Nicolas Berggruen Holdings GmbH


Project management

Prof. Dr. Silvia Malcovati

Prof. Dr. Silvia Malcovati

Professor of Design and Urban Planning

Project coordination

Vivien Nowak

Vivien Nowak, M. A.

Academic Staff Member of "P³Dual"

Project partner