The Siemensstadt Housing Estate (German: Großsiedlung Siemensstadt; also known as Ring Estate or Ringsiedlung) is a nonprofit residential community in the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district of Berlin. It is one of the six Modernist Housing Estates in Berlin recognized in July 2008 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Despite its name, the larger part of the estate is situated within the locality (Ortsteil) of Charlottenburg-Nord, only the smaller westernmost part belongs to Siemensstadt in the district of Spandau.
It was built between 1929 and 1931, under the overall master plan of German architect Hans Scharoun. Seven prominent Weimar-era architects took part: Scharoun, Fred Forbat, Otto Bartning, Walter Gropius, Paul Rudolph Henning, and Hugo Häring. The nickname Ringsiedlung came from the association of these architects with Der Ring collective.
The open spaces were designed by the German modernist landscape architect Leberecht Migge.
Unlike the other significant public housing projects of the time, which were produced under government cooperative Gehag sponsorship, the Siemensstadt was constructed by a private housing cooperative as worker housing for Siemens' nearby electrical factory, which employed 60,000 workers. The streets and squares of the settlement were named for engineers, physicists and inventors whose performance contributed to the success of Siemens AG.
The shape of the settlement marked a turning point in urban thinking, the point at which Berlin's city planner Martin Wagner abandoned a low-rise, garden city-style project with individual gardens, in favor of much denser multi-story apartment blocks.
Distributed within the whole estate are information columns that give short, concise information on the architect and his buildings. Situated at the southern end of the Fred Forbat building, Goebelstr. 2, is the so-called "Infostation". This unusual shaped building was originally the shop of the estate and supplies now detailed information booklets and books of all six Berlin UNESCO estates. The premises are used as showrooms by the photographer Christian Fessel. He allows access to the big model of the estate and the information material whenever he is working in the "Infostation", unfortunately there are no set opening times.
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- New York Times, Visionary Design for Berlin's Workers, J.S. Marcus, June 6, 1993
- City of Berlin website on the project, in English
- Siemensstadt Estate on Architectuul