Funkhaus on Hans-Rosenthal-Platz

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RIAS broadcasting house
Former RIAS broadcasting center on Hans-Rosenthal-Platz, now Deutschlandfunk Kultur

Former RIAS broadcasting center on Hans-Rosenthal-Platz ,
now Deutschlandfunk Kultur

place Berlin-Schöneberg
architect Walter Borchard
Client Bavarian nitrogen works AG
Architectural style New Objectivity
Construction year 1938-1941
Coordinates 52 ° 28 '48.6 "  N , 13 ° 20' 14.5"  E Coordinates: 52 ° 28 '48.6 "  N , 13 ° 20' 14.5"  E

The RIAS radio house on Hans-Rosenthal-Platz in Berlin's Tempelhof-Schöneberg district was originally built as an office building for Bayerische nitrogen works AG . After the renovation, it housed the RIAS Berlin transmitter from 1948–1993 . It is not only important architecturally, but also in the history of radio in Germany . Since January 1st 1994 it has been the seat of DeutschlandRadio Berlin (today: Deutschlandfunk Kultur )


The main entrance is at Hans-Rosenthal-Platz , which belongs to the Wilmersdorf district , opposite the Wilmersdorf Volkspark . The facade extends along Mettestrasse to the neighboring Rückert-Gymnasium and along Fritz-Elsas-Strasse . The Schöneberg Town Hall is just a few hundred meters away, beyond the adjacent Rudolph-Wilde-Park .

Building history and use until 1945

The building was built in 1938–1941 as a new building for Bayerische nitrogen works AG, which was founded in 1908, because the old company headquarters in the Mitte district had to be given up as part of the National Socialist capital city planning.

The Bavarian nitrogen works AG was closely intertwined with the IG Farben and was one of the key suppliers to the German armaments industry during the National Socialist era . Therefore, after the start of the Second World War in 1939, construction work could be continued and completed in 1941 with the approval of the General Building Inspector for the Reich capital based on a special permit.

The shell of the administration building designed by architect Walter Borchard was completed in July 1939. Borchard was a long-time employee in Paul Mebes' architectural office and had his first experiences with round corner solutions in 1914 when constructing the nearby Nordsternhaus .

The round corner at Hans-Rosenthal-Platz opposite the Volkspark Wilmersdorf gives the impressive building its characteristic expansive effect in the cityscape. Although built during the Nazi era, the architecture is committed to the New Objectivity architectural style . It is a functional five-story office building over an angular floor plan with an unadorned, brightly plastered facade. Square windows framed with natural stone walls divide the first four floors, while the upper floor is rectangular. The building has a gable roof with dormers .

The stairwell protrudes semicircularly into the courtyard

The pivotal point is the light-flooded semicircular staircase, which is not integrated into the building, but built into the rear wall of the house along the central axis. This leaves space on each floor for a foyer with a porter's lodge still visible . The elliptically curved staircase and the handrail are original. The building wings of different lengths are accessed through the representative staircase. Compared to the Haus des Rundfunks on Masurenallee , the RIAS Funkhaus appears rather modest in size.

Use after 1945

After 1945, the Allies smashed the IG Farben Group and in the process also confiscated the assets of Bayerische Nitrogenwerke AG, because the company had cooperated closely with the National Socialists .

The administration building of the nitrogen works was requisitioned and on June 6, 1948, the American occupation broadcaster RIAS moved from its provisional quarters in the Fernamt Berlin in Winterfeldtstrasse to the Borchard building at Kufsteiner Strasse 69, which was only slightly damaged during the war and which henceforth served as Broadcasting house served. A month later, a few days after the Berlin blockade began, the inauguration ceremony took place.

Since the building is a modern steel frame construction and only the outer walls are solidly bricked, it has no load-bearing inner walls. It could therefore be easily converted for the new use and adapted to the needs of a radio station. Chemistry laboratories became studios, cutting and control rooms as well as editorial rooms. The room for “company roll calls” became the large broadcasting hall in which Hans Rosenthal and the storyteller “Uncle Tobias” ( Fritz Genschow ) performed in front of their audience. Studios, sound carriers and control room were accommodated on the 3rd and 4th floors, the editorial offices and administration on the other floors. The first furniture for the RIAS radio house came by ship from the USA . The historic Studio 5 is still preserved from the founding days.

Between 1964 and 1974, the radio house was expanded with a four-storey extension at Fritz-Elsas-Straße 7/8, which houses a large music studio from the first to the fourth floor. In 1984 there were a total of eleven studios in the RIAS broadcasting house.

During the Cold War, was awarded the RIAS radio station a very high profile, because it became a symbolic place for the ideological and media confrontation between East and West, which by its proximity to the Schöneberg Town Hall , the political center of West Berlin supported yet has been.

With the end of the Cold War and German reunification in 1990, the end of the RIAS as a broadcaster was foreseeable. On December 31, 1993, the program was discontinued and on January 1, 1994 the Funkhaus became the seat of DeutschlandRadio Berlin (now: Deutschlandfunk Kultur).

In 1995 the building and the RIAS logo on the roof were placed under a preservation order.

In the 2010s, the house was converted to meet the requirements of digital broadcasting .

Deutschlandfunk Nova has been producing the evening program in the building since March 2018 .


  • Adolf Stock: Walter Bochard - Architect of the DeutschlandRadio-Funkhaus , Publisher: DeutschlandRadio, 2004

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Herbert Kundler : RIAS Berlin - A radio station in a divided city, Berlin 1994, p. 104
  2. Adolf Stock: Open Monument Day 2017 - The history of the RIAS building. September 21, 2017. Retrieved January 16, 2017 .
  3. ^ Karen Noetzel: A visit to the RIAS building on Hans-Rosenthal-Platz. Berliner Woche, October 5, 2016, accessed on January 16, 2017 .
  4. Berlin and its buildings XB 4 1987