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Culture

Six Berlin Housing Projects Declared World Heritage Sites

UNESCO has added six Berlin housing projects to its World Heritage List. The homes, built in the early 1900s, served as a model of social housing that improved living conditions for low-income residents.

Facade of a Siemensstadt apartment building by German architect Hans Schorun in Berlin

Berlin apartments became models for social housing projects around the world

The Berlin Modernism housing projects "testify to innovative housing policies from 1910 to 1933," the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said in awarding the designation on Monday, July 7.

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee made the decision at its annual meeting in Quebec City. It brings the total number of UNESCO sites in Germany to 33.

The housing project, built during the Weimar Republic, met a need for working class housing.

"The property is an outstanding example of the building reform movement that contributed to improving housing and living conditions for people with low incomes through novel approaches...," the UN agency said.

Avant-garde for the masses

The project influenced the development of social housing around the world.

Berlin's housing was designed by avant-garde architects Bruno Taut, Martin Wagner, Walter Gropius and Hans Scharon. What they built were some of the world's first modern apartments with kitchens, bathrooms, balconies and ample windows.

Of the 850 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Berlin apartments are among ony 21 sites from the modern era.

Arial view of a UNESCO housing project in Neukoelln

Apartments in Neukoelln were designed to be affordable

Facade of a Schillerpark apartment building in Berlin Mitte

Schillerpark was built in the 1920s

Entryway to a Gartenstadt Falkenberg apartment by architect Bruno Taut

The entryway is an example of modernism

Facade of a Siemensstadt apartment building in Berlin

The Siemensstadt development is one of six added to the list

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