A feature of Berlin architecture from the 19th and early 20th Centuries was the linked courtyards behind the large buildings used for housing and commercial purposes.
Due to targeted immigration polices of the Prussian rulers as well as other factors, Berlin’s population began to boom in the 19th century and new residential buildings had to be constructed. In the 1870s, Berlin developed a population of over one million people, whereas ……..
The city center residential districts had to be utilized as optimally as possible – this resulted in tenement houses. Behind the prestigious street-front buildings that served as the homes of the bourgeoisie, rear buildings were built across the city, which housed domestic employees, workmen, and the poorer social strata.
The building’s courtyard served as a separation for these differing social and spatial lifestyles – often three or four courtyards were placed in a row. (Source)
One example of this type of arrangement that has been restored and renovated and which is a popular tourist attraction is the Hackeschen Höfe, which is in the Hackeschen Market district and literally around the corner from the hotel we stayed in during our recent visit to Berlin.
The compex, designed by August Endel in the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) style , has a total of 8 interconnected courtyards which contain shops, bars, restaurants, offices and apartments. There’s even a small cinema and a theatre.
The first courtyard is particularly impressive with it’s coloured glazed brickwork and highly ornamented windows.
The buildings in the second courtyard were mainly occupied by offices but those in the other courtyards were mainly residential with smaller shops etc. on the ground floor.
It was very pleant wandering around the courtyards and browsing in the shops, some of them selling quite distinctive products including one, the Golem Kollektion, that specialised in Art Nouveau style tiles.
Lovely – but quite pricey!