Horseshoe Housing Estate

Tillmann Franzen, / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.


  • 1925 — 1933
  • Bruno Taut, Martin Wagner, Leberecht Migge


  • 1984 — 2015

The Horseshoe Housing Estate is one of Bruno Taut’s pioneering large-scale social housing projects. Working together with Martin Wagner, Berlin’s planning director at the time, he designed nearly 2000 apartments built between 1925 and 1930 on the site of the former Britz manor in the Neukölln district of Berlin. The housing estate got its name from the unusual shape of its main building.

After the end of the First World War, Berlin suffered from a housing crisis, as living in dark tenements was no longer acceptable. The solution was to build large housing estates at relatively low cost, and thus a new form of housing developed during the Weimar Republic in the form of social housing projects. The aim was to offer affordable dwellings with private bathrooms and gardens while also promoting the notion of community. The Horseshoe Estate in Britz is one of six outstanding ensembles that were jointly listed in 2008 on the UNESCO World Heritage List as the “Berlin Modernism Housing Estates”.

At the centre of the estate is a horseshoe-shaped building surrounding a small pond that dates back to the ice age. Radiating from this are single rows of two-storey row houses with tenant gardens, which are in turn framed by three-storey blocks of flats. Here Taut combined a large housing estate with a garden city. In the spirit of cost-effective construction, he developed four standardised floor plan types and two house types for the single-family homes.

Though the buildings here follow classic modernist style with a pragmatic and functional formal language, they do not at all appear monotonous. Each street is given its own character through an alternating pattern of projecting and recessed building clusters as well as the use of strong colours in both interior and exterior areas, a cost-effective design feature typical of Taut.

In the horseshoe-shaped central building, a faithfully renovated storefront flat with garden today serves as an information centre and café. Here visitors can learn about the Horseshoe Estate and the five other Berlin housing estates on the UNESCO World Heritage List. [KS/DK]


Map legend

  • UNESCO world heritage site

Contact and opening hours


Hufeisensiedlung (Informationsbüro)
Fritz-Reuter-Allee 44
12359 Berlin

conveying formula

Britz Housing Estate, Berlin Modernism Housing Estate
Horseshoe Housing Estate, Berlin
Anja Steinmann.
Horseshoe Housing Estate, Berlin
Tillmann Franzen, / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.

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