Rob Krier and others, Rauchstrasse

See main IBA page for full list of architects/buildings.

Another beautiful sunny day in Berlin, and while normal Berliners headed for ice cream, beer and ping-pong on the city’s many artificial beaches, I headed off to to feed my odd yearning for more IBA buildings.

Those who share this obsession (I know you’re out there – looking at my blog stats is my other obsession) will recall that I was quite taken with aspects of the Krier-masterplanned IBA developments over at Ritterstrasse, so was expecting more of the same.

It’s very different from the Ritterstrasse blocks.  For a start, the neighbourhood is much wealthier, set in the leafy embassy district just south of Tiergarten; a weird mix of the best of european late modernism next interspersed with buildings clearly dating from the Nazi era (the designation of this area as an embassy district was a realised part of Speer’s masterplan).  And the blocks themselves appear to be entirely privately owned.  Ritterstrasse is at least in part social housing.

The focal point of the ‘estate’ is Krier’s own block, which directly faces Berger + Parkinnen‘s exquisite copper wrapping of the Nordic embassies (worth a visit in themselves).  And it’s a queer fish.  Over the entrance archway is a frankly creepy sculpture, the overall effect being quite unsettling.  The villa blocks behind are competent italian-inflected affairs, well built and well maintained, but strangely I would have felt more comfortable had the architecture been, well, a bit cheaper.

Perhaps I just have a negative reaction to wealth of this kind; I like my dwelling place a bit run-down, preferably with a kebab shop at the front of the block.

The covered staircases of Krier’s design strike me as a little odd too, as do the small windows (how do these work in the flats?)

The rear/side elevation:

Hans Hollein:

No.6, by Hubert Herrmann and Francy Valentini

No.10, also by Rob Krier

19-20 Rauchstrasse, across the road. These were not a part of the IBA, and appear to slightly predate the Krier-masterplan on the other side of the street.


Here’s a not very good image of the Aldo Rossi block. I didn’t know what it was at the time, so took only a cursory picture.  Clearly I wasn’t impressed.  I think I was looking at the wrong side of it.  Need to go again, I think.

Some time later, I did go again, but this time didnt have a camera, so taken on my phone (you’d think I’d get a better one by now…)

The Aldo Rossi again, same view then the rear, just about showing the tower, which makes the block something slightly less ordinary:

Klaus Theo Bremner & Bendict Tonon:

The back of the Hans Hollein:

The flank and rear of the smaller Krier building:

and Giorgio Grassi, Henry Nielebock (not sure, but in that order I think):

Post post script:

A guy called Giuseppe Bianco, who is obviously a far better photographer than me, has posted some moody black-and-whites on Flickr here – including the much more interesting side of the Aldo Rossi block as well as other Rauchstrasse and IBA buildings.


(Giuseppe, if you’re reading this, hope you don’t mind me showing one here, as it’s not for commercial gain…).


4 thoughts on “Rob Krier and others, Rauchstrasse

  1. Hi! I’m Ana from Argentina, I’m studying architecture.. and right now I’m working on Rob Krier’s work in Rauchstrasse. These pics saved my life.. there are no many info about him here im libraries.. so, thx soooooo much for this!!

    • Hi, somehow missed your comment, like 2 years late, sorry! Not a lot still in print. Best thing is to look for secondhand copies of the IBA 1987 guide books published 1987 with revisions into the early 1990s. Also Harold Bodenschatz’s more recent book on the IBA.

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