Essential Architecture-  Berlin

Mossehaus

architect

Erich Mendelsohn

location

Schutzenstrasse 18-25 Berlin-Mitte

date

1922

style

Modern

construction

masonry

type

Shop
 
  Above- showing the pre-war facade.
 
   
  “Since the period of the Berliner Tageblatt building, Mendelsohn had developed a strong association with the editor Rudolf Mosse, who appreciated not only Mendelsohn’s creative abilities, but also his intellectual acuity and literary versatility. This heating plant is another inspired work, using vertical panels of white brickwork, articulated and partly separated by metal uprights and beams. The disparity in height between the two blocks is emphasized by the curved profile, which avoids a mere confrontation between rectangular volumes. On both sides, the low windows of the upper floor create ventilation. The window of the main facade cuts across the entire building, while that on the side facade occupies two areas and is connected to a door. This precise work demonstrates that Mendelsohn’s skill did not depend solely upon a violently plastic form of expression.”

— from Bruno Zevi. Erich Mendelsohn. p82.
 
Erich Mendelsohn 1922

The corner of the original building (by Cremer & Wolffenstein) housing the headquarters of Berlin newspaper tycoon Rudolf Moss was damaged in the First World War. Mendelsohn, responsible for a number of streamlined buildings in Berlin in the 1920s, was commissioned to reconstruct and enlarge the building. Mendelsohn grafted a new corner and top onto the existing, conventional structure.

Mendelsohn’s buildings explored the dynamic of movement; while they became increasingly influenced by modernism, they retained their distinctive expressive qualities. The emphasized horizontal lines and celebrated curved corner give the building an aerodynamic feeling, helping the building to seem elongated in perspective.

The building was damaged in World War II and was renovated in 1992-93 (Peter Kolb, Bernd Kemper, Dieter Schneider) as the center of a new publishing district.

Jay Berman 1999
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How to visit

Take the Ubahn U2 or U6 either to Stadtmitte (and walk south along Friedrichstrasse, then east on Schutzenstrasse) or to Kochstrasse (and walk north along Friedrichstrasse, then east on Schutzenstrasse).

A number of Mendelsohn’s other buildings in and near Berlin are also worth a visit:

Metal Worker’s Union Building, Alte Jakobstrasse 148-155, Berlin-Kreuzberg
Universum (Cinema), Kurfurstendamm 153, Berlin-Wilmersdorf
Doppelvilla, Karolingerplatz 5-5a, Berlin-Westend
Haus Sternefeld, Heerstrasse 109, Berlin-Westend
Haus Mendelsohn, Am Rupenhorn 6, Beriln-Pichelsberg
Einsteinturm, Albert-Einstein-Strasse, Potsdam

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The "Mossehaus" can truely be called an icon of expressionism - at least in
Germany.

In 1921 architect Erich Mendelsohn got the order to reconstruct a publishing
house from 1900/03, which had been damaged during street fightings
following WWI (see first picture).

The project was completed in 1923 and turned out to be groundbreaking:
Mendelsohn left the old structure untouched - except for the damaged
entrance at the corner, which he replaced by a strikingly modern,
expressionistic counterpart, that stretched across the old structure.
The intense accentuation of the corner by horizontal elements, adds a
breathtaking dynamic to the whole construction.

links

 
www.essential-architecture.com