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UNESCO honours Berlin modernist housing projects

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UNESCO honours Berlin modernist housing projects
The Carl Legien project (1930) in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district. Photo: DPA
08:07 CEST+02:00
UNESCO has added six Berlin housing projects, said to have ushered in a new global model for council estates at the beginning of the 20th century, to its World Heritage List.

The announcement on Monday from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee—meeting in Quebec City from July 2-10—brings to 33 the number of UNESCO world heritage sites Germany has under its belt.

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view the best of Germany's 33 World Heritage sites.

The six Berlin Modernism housing estates “testify to innovative housing policies from 1910 to 1933,” UNESCO said on its website. The housing project was built during the Weimar Republic, the period between World War I and the growth of Nazism, to meet a desperate need for housing in weakened Germany.

“The property is an outstanding example of the building reform movement that contributed to improving housing and living conditions for people with low incomes through novel approaches...,” said the UN agency. The design of the project by avant-garde architects Bruno Taut, Martin Wagner, Walter Gropius and Hans Scharoun is said to have influenced the development of social housing around the world.

Here some of the world's first modern apartments were born—with kitchens, bathrooms, balconies and ample windows rather than back courts.

Of the 850 UNESCO world heritage sites, only 21, including the Berlin apartments, date to the modern era.

Since the meeting in Canada began, UNESCO has added a total of eight new sites to the World Heritage List. Germany currently has 33 World Heritage sites.

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