Construction, Modifications, Restoration

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the Landhaus Lemke in 1932. Various preliminary designs, some of them for two stories, finally evolved into an L-shaped floor plan, in part due to financial considerations. An application for a building permit was submitted to authorities in Weißensee in 1932 and construction began in August of that year. By the following March, the house was certified for occupancy and Karl and Martha Lemke lived there until 1945. In October of that year the home was seized by the Red Army and converted into a garage. From the 1960’s until the fall of the Berlin Wall, the East German secret police used the home for various purposes such as a laundry storage area, a kitchen, and as janitor’s living quarters, all of which necessitated a number of renovations and modifications to the house and garden. In 1977 the house was declared a protected landmark by the East Berlin Magistrate. During the time of political upheaval and reunification in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, a local citizens’ initiative in the former GDR succeeded in placing the house under the jurisdiction of the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen district (today Berlin-Lichtenberg). The house was later opened to the public and its use was tailored to contemporary needs. From 2000 to 2002, a complete and landmark-worthy restoration of the house and garden was carried out according to historic plans.