Visionary architect and urban planner Bruno Taut fled Germany when the Nazis won power, having both the wrong religious and political beliefs, but by that time he had already left an indelible mark on the country through his forward-thinking social housing.
His most famous project is the 1920s “horseshoe estate” in south Berlin, now a UNESCO heritage site, which features striking modernist architectural design coupled with amenities, such as electric light and bathrooms, that were unusual for housing aimed at poorer people and the cause of much political debate.
Now tourists (but only four at a time) can get a first-hand feel of life in one of Taut’s houses as a guest at Tautes-Heim, a fully-restored example of a horseshoe estate property complete with original period features and typically colourful décor. It gives one the feel of having hidden in a museum until it’s been locked up for the night, then emerging to wander freely through the rooms, not restricted by ropes and security glass. The estate itself is also worth exploring, rich as it is with interesting and progressive design. A wonderful alternative to your run-of-the-mill hotel.