Essential Architecture-  Berlin

Berlin Russian Embassy Russisches Botschaft


Collectives of Stryshewski/Lebedinskij/Sichert/Skujin


Unter den Linden, 63-65, 10117 Berlin , east Berlin




Stalinist neo-classicism


ashlar stone clad facade


Embassy Office Building
Only one building violates the so-called "Linden statute" imposed by royal order in that it has a court of honour and exceeds the prescribed eaves height. It is no accident that this building is the Russian Embassy which was built in 1950-53 as the embassy of the USSR in Berlin, the capital of the GDR (which was the official term for East Berlin). The imposing complex was built on the site of the old embassy, which was destroyed in the war and was an 18th century rococo palace which had been classically altered in 1837 by Eduard Knoblauch, the architect of the new synagogue. The new complex also integrated further plots on Behrenstrasse and Glinkastrasse to create a small diplomatic estate which even had its own swimming pool.

The new embassy built under the direction of Friedrich Skujin set the trend for the appearance of GDR architecture in subsequent years: a mixture of Stalinist neo-classicism and national building traditions, which in Germany meant falling back on Schinkel.

On the side facing Unter den Linden, the four-storey building extends around a large court of honour. In its basic arrangement it is rem­iniscent of the original ground layout of the Prince Heinrich Palace, the present Humboldt University. The tall, protruding central section is crowned by a cubic lantern which is similar in appearance to the blunt towers of the Pergamon museum. Below it is the large dome room which leads on via the elaborate main staircase to the festival room in the centre of the block. The side wings around the court of honour contain smaller halls and splendid rooms, and the end buildings facing the street contain ministerial apartments. The office accommodation is in the rear by Behrenstrasse.

The individual elements of the ashlar stone clad facade are derived from the classical repertoire which was also used by Berlin classicism of the early 19th century: colossal pilasters, a rusticated pedestal, band-type corners, a roof ledge with attic and the form of the window parapets. But the effect is completely different - the architectural language is clearly Stalinist, which is expressed in the cold monumentalism and the uncompromising austerity.

The embassies of Hungary and Poland on the opposite side of the street were completely unpretentious behind functionalist facades, whereas the embassy of the Czechoslovakia, now used by the Czech ­Republic, occupied a monumental building on Wilhelmstrasse in the typical 1970s/1980s style.

Address: Embassy of the Russian Federation, Unter den Linden, 63-65, 10117 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 220-2821, 226-6320, 391-8807, 229-11-10, 229-11-29, visa requirements 229-12-07
Telex: (41) 302534 BERLIN D
Fax: +49 30 229-9397