in progress...

Berlin City Hall: The Rotes Rathaus

 

In spite of previous efforts to replace the structure, the old city hall of Berlin stood, in the location of the present city hall,  until 1860:

 

Old City Hall

Old City Hall

 

The architect, Hermann Friedrich Waesemann, chose a bright, redish clinker brick to sheathe the entire structure. 

 

At work on the new Rotes Rathaus -- from a print by Theodor Hosemann, 1861

At work on the new Rotes Rathaus -- from a print by Theodor Hosemann, 1861

 

Unlike other architects of most German city halls, Waesemann chose to look to Italy and France for his inspiration:

 

Details of the Laon Cathedral and Thorn city hall towers

Details of the Laon Cathedral and Thorn city hall towers

 

By 1870, the new city hall — known by its nickname, the Rotes Rathaus (red city hall) housed the city’s main administrative departments intil 1933, when the ruling Nazi regime moved the city council to other quarters. The building was heavily bombed during the Second World War:

Berlin 1945, with the Rotes Rathaus in the background

 

 But the East German government restored the structure completely by 1955:

 

Reconstruction of the Rotes Rathaus, 1953

Reconstruction of the Rotes Rathaus, 1953

 

After reunification, the city of Berlin has continued the restoration process — during which process the builders have uncovered the remains of some parts of the old city hall, and hope to maintain the excavation site as a permanent exhibit.

 

The new city hall derives much of its electrical power from a photovoltaic system charged by a series of solar panels.

more to come...