Keywords Change this

New Objectivity, Berlin Modernism Housing Estates, Social Housing, UNESCO Cultural World Heritage

Project timeline

1929 – 1931



Location Change this

Aroserallee 153
13407 Berlin

Current state


Also known as Change this

Weisse Stadt, Schweizer Viertel

Architect Change this


Bruno Ahrends
Wilhem Büning
Otto Rudolf Salvisberg
Friedrich Paulsen
Ludwig Lesser (Landscape)
Martin Wagner (Urban Planning)

Client Change this

Gemeinnützige Heimstättengesellschaft Primus mbH der Stadt Berlin

White City Berlin Change this

Aerial view

1 of 12

Description Change this

The White City in Berlin, also known as Swiss Quarter, in reference to the street names in the vicinity of the complex, was commissioned by the head of city planning at the time, Martin Wagner. Wagner was also responsible for other social housing projects in Berlin. Three of his projects, the Ring Settlement, the Horseshoe State and the White City have made it on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The masterplan and the design of the White City were carried out by the architects Bruno Ahrends, Wilhelm Büning and Otto Rudolf Salvisberg, the landscape design came from Ludwig Lesser, who was the first freelance landscape architect in Germany.

The plans for the large settlement "Schillerpromenade" began long before the First World War, but the final urban concept was first developed for the Building Exhibition of 1931. The Schillerpromenade, now the Arosa Avenue was completed together with the surrounding road network until 1914.

The White City, the name is reminiscent of the white facades, was constructed from 1929–1931. It comprises 1,286 flats in three to five-storey buildings. The average surface of a flat is only 50 square metres, but this includes a bathroom, WC and a loggia. At the time of construction almost all flats had a central heating. The estate was built according to the principles of the New Objectivity movement. The planners put a lot of emphasis on the infrastructure: two community laundry rooms, a nursery, a medical center, a thermal power station, pharmacies and 24 local shops.

One of the most distinctive buildings of the estate is the "Brückenhaus" (Bridge House) built across the Aroser Allee and designed by Otto Rudolf Salvisberg. It is a five-storey building with access balconies, a common feature for social housing complexes at the time.



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