Horseshoe housing estate (Hufeisensiedlung)

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Hufeisensiedlung is a housing project located in the southern part of Neukölln district, on the U7 U-Bahn line. It gets its name after the shape of its main building, surrounding the central lake.

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The complex was built in many stages between 1925 and 1933, supervised by Bruno Taut.

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It is one of the best examples of modernist housing estates, springing up in the interwar periods, as the lavish styles on Art Nouveau and Art Deco gave way to more simple and practical forms, championed by architects like Le Corbusier or Walter Gropius.

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According to the style’s premises, buildings lack ornamentation, have mostly straight lines, and are designed with practical every day issues of the inhabitants comming to forefront, with esthetic impressions taking a back seat.

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The complex itself consists of the “horseshoe” as well as surrounding buildings, including around 200 apartments in all.. Many of them seem not to match each other in style or in colouring. This helps to break the monotonny created by getting rid of all decorations, that were practically necessary in all styles proceeding modernism.

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The inner pond and a small park surrounding it are meant to provide space for leisure activities for the inhabitants of Hufeisensiedlung; this feature, combined with proximity of various forms of public transport, created an all round full day experience, from work through free time, to sleeping and eating, all without having to leave the estate.

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Since 2008 the object has a UNESCO World Heritage Site status, togerher with five other modernist housing projects in Berlin.

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