In addition to a visit to the Georg Kolbe Museum, the area around Heerstrasse and Sensburger Allee invites visitors to take a detour to the nearby Kolbe-Hain (Kolbe Grove), visit the Heerstrasse Forest Cemetery or the Olympic Park. Important architectural monuments such as Le Corbusier’s „Unité d’Habitation“ or Hans Poelzig’s Haus des Rundfunks are also within walking distance, and popular destinations such as the Drachenberg, Teufelsberg and Teufelssee can be easily reached on a walk or by bicycle. Since recently, the Westend can be explored with the audio walk „Kolbes Kiez„. The walk consists of 15 stops and is part of the digital initiative „Kolbe außer Haus.“ Besides iconic architecture, it also leads to lesser-known sites in the museum’s neighborhood – an area that has more to offer than some may think.
The Kolbe-Hain (Kolbe Grove) can be reached in a few steps from the museum. It is located in an ice-age gully, which made it difficult to use it as a building plot. Based on Joseph Stübben’s 1911 development plans, it was decided to designate part of the overall area as a public park; this was renamed Kolbe-Hain in 1957 – on the tenth anniversary of the artist’s death. Between 1959 and 1965, five large bronze sculptures from the artist’s late work were installed. All these bronzes were cast posthumously as unique pieces. The first museum director after Kolbe’s death, Margrit Schwarzkopff, who had previously worked as his photographer and later as his assistant, selected the figures and commissioned them – as she had done during Kolbe’s lifetime – from the Noack foundry: the Kneeling (1942), the Falling (1940/42), Dionysus (1931/36), Mars and Venus (1939/40), and the Great Reclining (Resting Woman, 1939/41).
The „Corbusierhaus“, a so-called „living machine“ was designed by the French-Swiss architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, known as Le Corbusier, in succession to Bauhaus as a „vertical village“ on the occasion of the International Building Exhibition in 1957. The 14-story building with its radically modern architecture and striking color scheme was originally intended to be built in the Hansa district, but due to its size it was then realized on the outskirts of the city. It was modified according to the regulations of social housing compared to the original plans of the architect, who later distanced himself from the executed building due to these serious interventions. The high-rise building, which was always controversial due to its harsh modernity, is one of the great icons of Berlin’s post-war architecture. Today, numerous writers, artists and architects live in the approximately 500 mostly small apartments.
Haus des Rundfunks
Europe’s first large radio building, the „Haus des Rundfunks“ (House of Broadcasting) was built in 1929-1931 according to the plans of architect Hans Poelzig. The five-story building with its unusual triangular ground plan represented a completely new building task at the time. A central role within the overall architectural concept is played by the spacious rectangular atrium at the main entrance on Masurenallee. Accordingly representative and comparatively lavishly designed, it impresses above all by the special colorfulness of the building materials used. The artistic decoration of the otherwise empty room was limited to the installation of the bronze sculpture Große Nacht (1926) by Georg Kolbe on the first floor. For the Prussian Minister of Culture Adolf Grimme (after whom the Grimme Prize was later named), it embodied the „soaring of the radio waves.“
The Walfriedhof Heerstrasse is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Berlin. Covering about 15 hectares, it was built between 1921 and 1924 according to the plans of the Berlin horticultural director Erwin Barth and was put into operation in 1925. The cemetary extends over a hilly forest and meadow landscape with the Sausuhlensee lake in the center, around whose depression the gravesites are grouped in terraces. Numerous prominent personalities are buried here, such as Paul Cassirer (d. 1926), one of the most important art dealers before the First World War, who repeatedly showed Kolbe’s works in his exhibitions and published an illustrated book with his works as early as 1913; Joachim Ringelnatz (d. 2011) and Bernhard-Viktor Christoph-Carl von Bülow – Loriot for short – (d. 2011).