Berlin Architect Tours

WAF Architect Tours of Berlin

WAF is pleased to annouce that following the success of the WAF 2016 Tour Programme, we have added new tours available for WAF 2017.

Berlin has a unique architectural landscape.  The moving history of the capital city even today defines the built environment. Berlin’s vacant spaces made the city a pioneering place for visionary architecture and development is always ongoing.

This year, WAF presents the best art spaces and most intruiging building projects, exciting protagonists and iconic urban locations.

Tour places are inclusive in the Premium Plus Delegate Pass and accomodation package. Why not make the most of your visit to Berlin and include one of our unique tours in your trip by booking your pass now. Click here to book.

Once your pass is booked, our Customer Care team will be in contact to confirm which tour you would like to attend. Tours will be available to book onto on a first come first served basis and spaces are limited.

Less than 100 tour places remain for this year's festival. Book your festival ticket soon to ensure you can reserve you first choice tours.


niche Art & Architecture Tours Berlin present must-see art and architecture locations aside from the more established sites. The guided tours are geared towards art and architecture enthusiasts looking for competent insider knowledge. Rather than renowned galleries or well-known buildings, they present new discoveries, key figures and the whole context of Berlin’s art and architecture scenes. The focus of the niche Art Tours Berlin is on artist-run project spaces, newer galleries with unusual programmes and other unconventional exhibition sites. The niche Architecture Tours Berlin present innovative structures and creative reuses of buildings. The niche Art & Architecture Tours combine both aspects.

Niche have curated a bespoke tour programme for WAF 2017

Below is an overview of the 2017 tour scheudle:

Tuesday 14.11.17 ​

  • 2 - 6 pm Introduction Tour 
    The role of architecture as a projection screen for ideological messages is exemplified in East and West Berlin between 1945 and 1989. In both parts of the city there arose symbolically-charged state, residential and cultural buildings. As a result of this architectural arms race, one can still recognise a doubling of building types and different centres in East and West. With stops at:
    • TEMPELHOF AIRPORT & AIRFIELD (1934) by 1934 Ernst Sagebiel
    • AKADEMIE DER KÜNSTE (1960) by Werner Düttmann
    • NEUE NATIONALGALERIE (1968) by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
    • UNESCO World Heritage Site
    • MUSEUMSINSEL with Alte Nationalgalerie (1876) by Friedrich August Stüler
    • Altes Museum (1830) by Karl Friedrich Schinkel
    • The renovation of Stüler’s Neues Museum (1841) by David Chipperfield in 2009

Wednesday 15.11.17

  • 10 am - 12.30 pm Smart Conversions
    The Berlin art and performance scene is well known for their investigative sensibility in finding unused spaces with a strong character and atmosphere. The tour looks at refurbished cultural venues and how these buildings were fitted to meet the needs of modern production spaces. With stops at:
    • RADIALSYSTEM V (2006) Gerhard Spangenberg
      The cultural centre was once Berlin’s largest pumping station. Built for the implementation of a new wastewater management system in 1900, the refurbished pumping station is now home to the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and the dance ensemble Sasha Waltz & Guests.
    • UFERSTUDIOS (2010) Anderhalten Architekten
      The depot for electrical trolleys built in 1913 was used by Berlin’s public transport company (BVG) until 2007. In 2008 Uferstudios GmbH rented the buildings on the former island on the river Panke for 25 years and had them converted into dance studios.
    • PIERRE BOULEZ SAAL (2017) Frank O. Gehry
      The depot of the opera house Staatsoper Unter den Linden is currently undergoing renovations to house the Barenboim-Said Academy and the Pierre-Boulez Saal – a unique concert hall, designed by Frank Gehry.
  • 1.30 - 4 pm Modern Urban Visions  
    Hansaviertel is a showcase of modernist architecture. Severely destroyed during WWII, the area was rebuilt for the International Building Exhibition (IBA ‘57). The »city of tomorrow« consists of 35 projects, which comprise 1.160 living units. They were realized by star modernists like Oscar Niemeyer, Arne Jacobson or Hans Schwippert.
  • 1.30 - 4 pm Materials In Good Shape
    Evergrowing building regulations and energetic standards often come with functional and aesthetical compromise within the design. More and more architects make a broad statement against these restrictions with smart re-dedication of materials or bold structures. With stops at:
    • C13 (2013) Kaden + Lager
      C13 is one of the highest low-energy houses in wooden frame construction in Berlin. It was awarded with national and international architectural awards for its innovative construction and the representation of the urban structures within the building.
    • CHRISTINENSTRAßE 39 (2014) zanderroth Architekten
      The 7-storey building in Christinenstrasse is a habitable monolith made of in-situ cast concrete. The modern lightweight material was used to provide load-bearing properties as well as high-quality thermal insulation.
    • BRUNNENSTRASSE 9 (2010) Arno Brandlhuber
      This mixed-use building not only represents a practical way of living but it also defies the overregulated German construction laws. The façade consists of fixed glazing, the rest is finished with a R 50 (2013) ifau + Jesko Fezer + HEIDE & VON BECKERATH
      The 7-storey house in Ritterstraße is the latest version of new social living in Berlin: 19
      owner-occupied flats, with basic utilities such as washing and recreation confined to
      community areas. It is an economical construction, at only 2,000 € per sqm.translucent polycarbonate facade.               

Thursday 16.11.17

  • 10 am - 12.30 pm Urban Spectacle Part I: West Berlin
     Unusual shapes and bold statements – long before Berlin discussed the concept of critical reconstruction and its effects on the urban structure, the architectural community in both parts of divided Berlin produced confident stand-out pieces to showcase their visions for their city of the future. With stops at:
    • UMLAUFTANK II (1974) Ludwig Leo
      The Research Institute for Water and Naval Architecture was built for the Technical University of Berlin. Instead of hiding the colossal circuit pipe system with a diameter of 8 meters behind a facade, Ludwig Leo decided to feature it prominently in the exterior design.
    • BIERPINSEL (1976) Ralf Schüler / Ursulina Schüler-Witte
      The 46-m high icon of futuristic 1970s architecture has housed restaurants, pubs and a discotheque in its four levels until it was shut down for renovations. The tower is said to reopen in 2017 after its refurbishment.
      FEHRBELLINER PLATZ (1972) Rainer G. Rümmler
      The retro-futuristic building at Ferhbelliner Subway Station was added in the 1970's, when the original subway station from 1913 was extended by a second line.
  • 1.30 - 4 pm Archiving Knowledge 
    Extraordinary public spaces with a clear design statement that are dedicated to printed and digital media can be found all over Berlin. The tour aimsto explore how they provide the atmosphere for research while at the same time operating on a highly efficient functional level. With stops at:
    • STATE LIBRARY ZU BERLIN (1978) Hans Scharoun
      The library built according to the plans by Hans Scharoun opened in 1978 and became internationally renowned for architecturally impressive reading room landscape with a total of 810 study desks.
      The new building in the centre of Berlin accommodates the largest open access library in Germany. All 2.5 million media units can be reached from the staircase-like terraces of the central reading room in the interior.
    • BAUHAUS ARCHIVE (1979) by Walter Gropius (design)
      The building complex was designed by the first Director of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius, for a site in Darmstadt. This slightly modified version has been landmarked in 1997 and ranks among Berlin’s architecture icons.
  • 1.30 - 4 pm Social Sustainable
    In times of gentrification and increasing living cost, architectural developments face the question of social responsibility. The ‘Baugruppe’ (building collective) is a model that tackles this issue by involving the clients’ needs into different phases of the design and production of the architecture. With stops at:
    • MISCHEN POSSIBLE (2010) by BAR Architekten
      The complex internal structure of this housing project corresponds to the complexity of the surrounding city. In contrast to residential developments that capitalize on the richness of the urban context, this project proposes an internal urbanism that contributes to the evolution of the city as meeting place.
    • SPREEFELD (2013) carpaneto schöningh, FAT Koehl, BAR
      Spreefeld tries to organise urban living differently. It’s a new cooperative for a new housing project with a focus on residential use, supplemented by shared option rooms and commercial spaces.
    • R 50 (2013) ifau + Jesko Fezer + HEIDE & VON BECKERATH
      The 7-storey house in Ritterstraße is the latest version of new social living in Berlin: 19 owner-occupied flats, with basic utilities such as washing and recreation confined to community areas. It is an economical construction, at only 2,000 € per sqm.

Friday 17.11.17

  • 10 am - 12.30 pm Finding The Gap
    The use and ownership of public resources in the city is a highly debated and controversal issue of our time. Different solutions to urban problems make use of these resources with democratic intentions. We explore how urban planning can best serve the people in the city. With stops at:
      Flussbad Berlin is an ingenious idea by realities; united to filter the water of the Spree River around the Museum Island using plant material with the purpose of turning it into a public swimming facility.
    • PARK AM GLEISDREIECK (2013) by Atelier Loidl
      The park was created on 25 hectares of land close to Potsdamer Platz. The neighbouring residential buildings question the role of urban planning as they have been simultaneously planned and built by building cooperatives, private investors and international real estate developers.
      On a former wasteland at Moritzplatz in Berlin Kreuzberg, Nomadisch Grün launched the Prinzessinnengärten. Clearing the site of rubbish after decades of disuse, they built vegetable plots that now produce food organically.
  • 10 am - 12.30 pm Individual Solutions
    In rapidly growing cities like Berlin difficult plots that are unfit for the needs of big developers often bring forth very unusual and refreshing architectural solutions that shape the face of the city. The tour explores the most innovative building projects of recent years. With stops at:
    • TOWNHOUSES B14 (2010) XTH
      This small townhouse located on the former death strip has a continuous space stretching out over the total height, length and width of the building. The open space is zoned by two concrete elements ‘hung’ between the firewalls that contain the private (bed)rooms.
    • L40 (2010) Bundschuh Architects
      Collector’s house L40 is a collaborative design by artist Cosima von Bonin and architect Roger Bundschuh. Situated in architect Hans Poelzig’s heritage-protected urban ensemble at Rosa-Luxemburg Platz, its monolithic, sculptural form is expressed in exposed black concrete.
      ZELTERSTRAßE 5 (2010) zanderroth Architekten
      The two-row apartment building consists of 45 individual homes, each with single-family home characteristics. Everything affecting the community, such as the façade, shell construction and garden design, was planned by the architects in coordination with the group.
  • 1.30 - 4 pm Urban Spectacle Part II: East Berlin
    Unusual shapes and bold statements – long before Berlin discussed the concept of critical reconstruction and its effects on the urban structure, the architectural community in both parts of divided Berlin produced confident stand-out pieces to showcase their visions for their city of the future. With stops at:
    • CZECH CENTRE BERLIN (1978) Vera and Vladimír Machonin
      The distinctive brutalist style building was constructed in the 1970s as Czechoslovakian Embassy in East Berlin. The premises offer a multifunctional space which includes a gallery, two classrooms for language courses as well as offices.
    • BERLIN CONGRESS CENTRE (1964) Hermann Henselmann
      In the immediate neighbourhood of Alexanderplatz the congress hall is easily recognisable by its aluminium cupola. The listed building was reopened in 2003 after extensive refurbishing.
    • KOSMOS MOVIE THEATRE (1961) Herbert Aust, Josef Kaiser
      The movie theater is one of the few new cinemas built during built in East Berlin during the Cold War. It opened in 1961 with an ambitious architecture style. Nowadays the listed building is used as a nightclub.
  • 1.30 - 4 pm Art Interiors  
    Berlin’s world-renowned art scene manifests itself in a plethora of galleries, each with its own unique character. We present some of the most outstanding exhibition spaces, which – perhaps not coincidentally – are also very exciting architecturally. With stops at:
    • ST. AGNES (1967/2015) Brandlhuber + Emde, Burlon
      Following the Church’s abandonment, Arno Brandlhuber transformed the unique brutalist architecture designed by Werner Düttmann into a stunning exhibition space for König Gallery.
    • BLAIN | SOUTHERN (2011) David AdjayeIn 2011
      David Adjaye turned the former printing facility of the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel into an awe-inspiring exhibition space for Harry Blain and Graham Southern.

Saturday 18.11.17

  • 11 am - 1.30 pm Olympic Stadium
    The Olympic Stadium, built on the occasion of the Olympic Summer Games in 1936, holds up to 100.000 spectators. In regard to form, the stadium with its clean geometric shapes is reminiscent of ancient sport facilities. It was renovated by Gerkan, Marg und Partner for the world cup 2006.
    Originally intended as part of the IBA and therefore to be located in the Hansaviertel, the Swiss architect’s apartment block was moved to the edge of Grunewald Forest due to its enormous size. The design is closely related to the Marseille unité d’habitation, but its concept was modified to meet Berlin’s building regulations.

Less than 100 tour places remain for this year's Festival. Book your festival ticket soon to ensure you can reserve you first choice tours.

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