Paul Sullivan and Joep de Visser on the striking architectural legacy of Hans Heinrich Müller…
Architect Hans Heinrich Müller is a largely forgotten figure in Berlin history. Born in 1879, he initially worked as a government architect at the Prussian Ministry of Culture before serving as a lieutenant at the Eastern front during WW1.
Injured in 1915, he took a position at the municipality of Steglitz where he worked on constructing the district’s Wasserturm between 1916-1919. Though constructed to secure the district’s independence from the city, Steglitz was drafted into the main city by the Greater Berlin Act just a year later.
In the summer of 1921, Müller shifted to an administrative job for the City Council of Berlin-Neukölln, where he worked for a couple of years before being hired (in 1924) by the Berliner Städtische Elektrizitätswerke Akt.-Gesellschaft (Berlin’s City Electricity Fabrics Stock Society), known more generally by its merciful abbreviation BEWAG.
Müller’s first BEWAG assignment was the expansion of the Kohlekraftwerk Moabit, but as the German capital became a fully-fledged Elektropolis, Müller began designing electricity-related buildings, everything from step-down and transformer stations to rectifier plants.
Such was Berlin’s electricity boom that he designed around 40 in the end, putting his own distinctive twist to many of them. Red bricks, interesting shapes and eccentric ornamentation were some of his architectural tropes, many of which have survived and can be found scattered across the city, some abandoned, others re-appropriated – in typical Berlin style – as contemporary power stations, film studios or art galleries.
Below are some of our favourites…
Wasserturm Steglitz (1916-1919)
Gemeindekraftwerk Birkbuschstraße (1910-1911)
Abspannwerk Humboldt (1924-26)
Kohlekraftwerk Moabit (1925-1926)
Umspannwerk Wittenau (1925-26)
Umspannwerk Richardstraße (1926-27)
Abspannwerk Wilhelmsruh (1927)
Stützpunkt Marienburger Straße (1927)
Stützpunkt Christiana in Wedding (1927-28)
Abspannwerk Marienburg (1927-28)
Gleichrichterwerk Zehlendorf (1928-1929)
Abspannwerk Buchhändlerhof (1927-1928)
Umspannwerk Scharnhorst (1927-29)
Umspannwerk Leibniz (1928)
Klein Umspannwerk Adlershof (1931)
This post is a collaborative adaptation of a selection of original posts at Joep de Visser’s website.