Hans Scharoun, Residential and commercial building „Olivia“, 1951/52
Hans Scharoun, Residential and commercial building „Olivia“, 1951/52

Hans Scharoun (1890-1977)

Residential and commercial building "Olivia",1951/52

Hans Scharoun was commissioned by a private American investor to design a new residential and commercial building on Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm in cooperation with Sergius Ruegenberg. By contrast to the client’s rather modest ideas, Scharoun suggested constructing a prestigious two-wing structure extending over six floors for housing and commercial use. In keeping with the envisaged name for the building, “Olivia”, not only was the facade to be painted in the colours egg-shell white and olive green, an oversized woman’s head was also planned at the top outermost corner. In addition, the third to fifth floors were to project from the line of the wall towards the front, overhanging the lower two commercial floors.
Scharoun’s design does not comply with the clear, strictly geometric models of Bauhaus modernism, but employs an unusual, slightly playful architectural language. Ultimately, the architect was unable to reach agreement with the building client, meaning that the project “Olivia” was never realised.
The project is documented in the estate of Berlin architect Sergius Ruegenberg, which is kept in the Berlinische Galerie.

Residential and commercial building “Olivia”, 1951/52
Kurfürstendamm 182, Berlin-Charlottenburg
Perspective view: Sergius Ruegenberg
Hand-tinted reprographic work on photographic paper
84.5 x 109.5 cm
Acquired with funds from the Senate Office for Cultural Affairs Berlin, 1994

© Sergius Ruegenberg: Berlinische Galerie, 2011
© Hans Scharoun: VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011 
Photo: Ilona Ripke, Berlin