Grünau Society House

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Grünau Society House
Garden-side view of the Gesellschaftshaus in 1898

Garden-side view of the Gesellschaftshaus in 1898

place Berlin-Grünau
architect Otto Gerth (unsecured)
Construction year 1874/1875
Floor space 990 m² (house combination without extensions);
10,000 (plot) m²
Coordinates 52 ° 24 '52.5 "  N , 13 ° 34' 59.1"  E Coordinates: 52 ° 24 '52.5 "  N , 13 ° 34' 59.1"  E
Monument protection since 1977; in danger of collapsing

The Gesellschaftshaus Grünau is a historic excursion restaurant in the Berlin district of Grünau at Regattastraße 167. It was inaugurated in 1875 and has been empty since 1991. A renovation of the listed ensemble has so far not been carried out (as of November 2016).


At the end of the 19th century, tourist restaurants were built

Together with the rapidly growing population of Berlin after the founding of the German Reich , the need for a varied organization of leisure time developed. In the area around the German capital, new residential areas, facilities for water sports, a regatta course in 1880 and “entertainment establishments” were built. As part of this development, clubs for rowers , paddlers and sailboat drivers were founded on the Dahme (which at that time was also called Wendische Spree ) and had the associated boathouses built. For the physical well-being of visitors and athletes, several excursion restaurants opened at the end of the 19th century, including the Gesellschaftshaus Grünau and the Riviera (numbers 20/21 and 22 in Friedrichstraße ) and others such as the Wirtshaus Richtershorn , or the Sportpark restaurant in the street At the Langen See (the regatta road was only created in 1935 by merging three roads).

Wilhelm Ohlrich became the first owner of the property. There may have been a competition for the structural design, because the archive of the Architecture Museum of the Technical University of Berlin contains competition designs for a Berlin Society House, submitted by Paul Gerhardt . More detailed information on the location or the order is not included. The society house and the renovations of the adjacent Riviera are attributed to the architect Otto Gerth (but probably only the changes made in the 1920s).

The property remained in the possession of the Ohlrich family until the 1920s, because in 1922 the address book said: owner O (h) lrichsche heirs, operator (leaseholder and thus administrator) innkeeper Max Schüler.

Immediately on the bank there were jetties for rowing and sailing boats with which visitors could come. Internationally known singers and musicians appeared on the stage, for example the Russian orchestra association Novoje Slowo ("New Word") in 1935. It is easy to imagine that the restaurant during the Summer Olympics in Berlin, when the water sports competitions were taking place in Grünau, experienced a boom. Various travel guides (including the Baedeker ) recommended the Gesellschaftshaus in Grünau to visitors to Berlin (“14 km from Berlin city center , restaurant, garden, steamboat landing”).

Change of ownership from the 1940s

In 1943, the excursion establishment was owned (= E) by the innkeeper H. Liebing, who lived in the center of Berlin. Directly across the street (number 168), the German Labor Front , local group Grünau, as well as an office for people's welfare and the NSDAP local group Grünau, had set up in a former colonist homestead. This property was also owned by H. Liebing.

A 25 (pfennig) coin with the imprint Gesellschaftshaus Grünau is offered on the Internet . It appears to be neither a commemorative coin nor an official means of payment. Probably the operators had issued some kind of private money just for use in the entertainment place. There is no year on the coin.

A publication from 2013 shows that during the Nazi era, the organization Kraft durch Freude were supposed to be the sponsor of the excursion restaurants Gesellschaftshaus and Riviera . The building ensemble survived the two world wars. Family, club and company celebrations, balls and music events have been held here for years .

Rush of visitors to the Grünau Society House at Pentecost in 1957; Garden area
Well-frequented open-air area of ​​the Gesellschaftshaus on a Sunday in 1968

During the GDR era, the name of the facility was retained and it was managed by the HO . It was again a well-attended excursion restaurant, also because the passenger ships of the White Fleet moored here. The premises were also used for social, sporting or cultural events, including the naming of the Dynamo sports association on March 27, 1953 . In 1960 the Berlin Chess Association celebrated in the Grünau Society House, where it was also named “Sportsman of the Year”. Up to 500 people could be entertained. The exterior design of the building was changed significantly during this time by plastering and dismantling the turrets. Variety shows and individual artists performed on the stage of the house, most of whom were known beyond Grünau.

After 1990: closure and decay

After the political change and the dissolution of the HO, the property went into the possession of the federal government and thus to the Treuhandanstalt or its successor, the property fund . The management was given up, the houses closed. Since then, the district (since 2001: Treptow-Köpenick ) has been responsible for maintaining the building, which has been vacant since 1991 . The property was briefly revitalized when a beer garden opened in August 2000 , which, however, had to close again in October. In 2006, following a tender, a Turkish entrepreneur from Ankara was found who bought the building ensemble consisting of the community house and the Riviera with the land except for a six-meter-wide strip of land. The purchase price should have been 650,000 euros. She intends to open a conference hotel there as a seven-story tower and / or to build residential villas for owners. The building authority has not received any specific building applications; a previously requested demolition permit was rejected because of the monument protection. Several times, most recently at the end of 2013, the district office asked the owner to take “measures to protect the building from further deterioration”.

Society house in April 2014

Because nothing had happened by January 2014, the district wanted to put out jobs for craftsmen to repair the broken roofs of both houses and to securely lock the doors and windows ( arrange for a replacement ). The cost of around 40,000 euros was billed to the owner. In the summer of the same year, it became known that after court rulings and several hours of talks with the district office, the owner had initiated makeshift measures to stop further decay and vandalism . The demolished windows and doors were closed with chipboard (it was planned to attach perforated panels to allow air to circulate, which prevents mold from forming). The agreed deadlines for roofing work, for the renovation of the rain gutters and for the careful inspection of the existing decorative stucco were not met. After the court has been informed of the non-compliance with the agreements, the district officials will (as previously announced) outsource the security work to construction companies and then pass on the invoices.

Several amateur videos circulating on the Internet show that both the parquet and the chandeliers have been removed. The illegal visitors decorated a large part of the interior walls with graffiti . Construction experts estimate that the renovation of the building in accordance with listed buildings costs around 15 million euros, which "is not reasonable for us", as the brother of the owner, who lives in Potsdam, announced. From the facts, construction experts and economists conclude that the inaction is intended to await the collapse of the ensemble. This would have done the monument protection.

In November 2015, a court hearing took place on the basis of a lawsuit brought by the owner against the district, which mainly concerned the Riviera, but the judge urged both sides to find a compromise that would be based on the owner's proposal could, in return for the contractually promised preservation of the Riviera Hall and the construction of a public riverside path over both properties, grant the building rights for the property Gesellschaftshaus.

Possible new beginning

2016 to 2021

After the previous quarrels, the purchase contract with the Turkish owner was canceled by mutual agreement in 2017. A new investor, Terragon Projekt GmbH, has acquired this property and that of the neighboring Riviera . A senior citizens' residential complex is now planned with four new buildings on the entire site on the Dahmeufer with a small restaurant for the public. The district office issued a positive preliminary building permit for the project in spring 2017. There will be a public riverside path directly on the bank of the river and a connection between the bank and the Regattastraße, for which an urban development contract has already been concluded. The society house is to be restored in such a way that its characteristic exterior can be re-created, the essential furnishing elements will be redesigned according to historical models. Dates for work on both historic buildings had not yet been set by May 2017. The house should not be open to the public, but should offer high-quality senior housing in the high-priced area, including an emergency call. According to information, the usage fees for a 60 m² apartment will be between 1650 and around 2000 euros per month, depending on the location.

Until the beginning of 2019, there was no new investor apart from the Terragon project company who would have contacted the district office. That is why the State Monuments Office, the environmental protection authority and other departments have now examined the project. The Köpenick City Councilor Rainer Hömer welcomed the initiative of the Terragon Society, in particular he emphasized that there was “finally a perspective for the monuments and the entire property”. "It remains [...] to ascertain that now a long-standing fallow land is finally being used again". The investor plans to spend around 80 million euros on the implementation. The approval for the first construction phase was granted in January 2019, which should be completed by 2021. The Riviera room is to contain a restaurant open to visitors that can also be used for meetings.

Criticism of the construction plans

The residents of Grünau, in the form of the Grünau local association and its spokesman Nils R. Schultze, criticize the published plans: The buildings are “completely oversized”, the open spaces are “concreted over five floors”, “The district is losing its uniqueness, which is always sport and large gastronomy belonged ”, after all“ almost nothing remains of the monuments; Grünau will become a dormitory ". In the statement of the Köpenick building administration, it says: "The problem is that the 'uniqueness to which sport and large-scale catering always belonged' cannot be restored because it no longer works nowadays". He also points out that an investor quoted by citizens but whose name was not mentioned never made contact with the district office. The Terragon Society is now entitled to the approval. With the project, in view of the steadily aging population, he presented the Treptow-Köpenick district with an "urgently needed offer of use."


The society house consists of two parallel brick buildings with a rectangular floor plan that show elements of Art Nouveau and Classicism . They were faced with clinker bricks and a simulated framework. The part of the building to the road has three floors and housed in the mezzanine floor area a restaurant. The architect designed the ceiling and walls in a mixed style of New Baroque and Art Nouveau, as well as another room, the picture room . Here there were two paintings by Max Gärtner - wedding couple and musicians in a medieval town . The living room and restaurant building is siebenachsig created and with a gable roof completed. Behind it on the bank is the hall building , the heart of which is a nine meter high ballroom . It was decorated with chandeliers, arched windows, boxes and also rich stucco work . The utility rooms were in the basement of the house.

Around 1900, the owner had both buildings combined with attached verandas , the corners of which were emphasized with decorative turrets. In addition, a garden area was designed with chestnut trees and three bowling alleys were built.

Fire damage 2019 and the consequences

On the night of July 16, 2019, there was a fire in which the society house burned out almost completely. First, the fire brigade was called to four small fires in Grünau near Regattastrasse (garbage container, paper bins, old clothes bins), but then at 2:46 a.m., flames were discovered that broke out of the roof of the social building. Because of the danger of the ruin collapsing , the fire fighters could only carry out their fire fighting attacks from outside. Despite the deployment of 70 extinguishers, the fire was not under control until late in the morning, only the facade remained; all wooden parts from the basement to the roof are burned out. The fire investigators do not rule out arson and have arrested two suspects 20-year-olds at the source of the fire. They were released in the afternoon for the time being, but the investigation continues. The investor Terragon plans to develop a residential complex for the elderly from the community building, the Riviera and a new building on the site, which should be ready for occupancy in 2021. A company spokesman regretted the fire, but affirmed that he would stick to his plans. Expert opinions have yet to clarify whether the facade will continue to enjoy monument protection and should be retained in its external appearance. The hall extension and veranda of the community building were not affected by the fire.

In January and February 2020, the project developer Terragon AG had the remainder of the community building, including the veranda, ceiling and stucco, torn down. After completely modernierten interior design during the construction of the retirement home are to historically relevant parts of the building to be reconstructed.

Web links

Commons : Gesellschaftshaus Grünau  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Treptow-Köpenick 2012. A year and reader. District Office Treptow-Köpenick (ed.); Helgunde Henschel: Riviera and Society House - Splendor and Decline (Excerpt, pp. 134-137.)
  2. ^ Recommended expropriation of "Riviera" and "Gesellschaftshaus" . In: Berliner Woche , October 29, 2016, accessed on December 15, 2016
  3. ^ Grünau> Friedrichstrasse . In: Berliner Adreßbuch , 1922, part 4, p. 1684.
  4. On the picture postcard excerpt and another picture postcard from the first years of the ensemble as writing above the entrance to the garden: C. Wilhelm Ohlrich.
  5. Six execution drawings by Paul Gerhardt, 1897
  6. Brief description of the Society House ( Memento of the original from February 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice., accessed on January 17, 2014 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. Gerth, Otto . In: Berliner Adreßbuch , 1922, I, p. 861. “ Architect; Member of the Association of Visual Artists. Buildings and apartments, designs. Overall execution and advice. Studio. Apartment in Grünau, Wilhelmstrasse 14; Atelier in Berlin NW 23, Klopstockstrasse 14 “.
  8. ^ Grünau> Friedrichstrasse 20/21 . In: Berliner Adreßbuch , 1922, IV, p. 1684. “Gesellschaftshaus”.
  9. Chronicle; Retrieved January 20, 2014
  10. Handbook for travelers . Reprint as books-on-demand; 2013 on
  11. Regattastrasse 167 . In: Berliner Adreßbuch , 1943, IV, p. 2130. “Gesellschaftshaus, Gaststätte”.
  12. Regattastrasse 168 . In: Berliner Adreßbuch , 1943, part 4, p. 2131.
  13. View of the 25 (Pfennig) coin Gesellschaftshaus Grünau; Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  14. Forgotten places of entertainment . ( Memento of the original from February 3, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. 2013. (Scroll down to “Ballhaus Riviera”); Retrieved January 17, 2014.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  15. Once dynamo - always dynamo . ( Memento of the original from February 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Private homepage; Retrieved January 20, 2014. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  16. From the chronicle of the Berlin Chess Association 1960; accessed on January 20, 2014 ( Memento from February 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  17. ^ Poster of the revue Children as time flies with performances in the society house (no year; probably in the 1980s); on eBay in January 2014.
  18. ^ The music's over . The Irish Berliner , December 2013; Retrieved January 20, 2014
  19. ^ The court saves these houses Facsimile of an article by the Berliner Kurier , December 6, 2013; Retrieved January 17, 2014
  20. ↑ Partial success for Riviera and Society House. Press release of the district office on the problem of the two monuments in Grünau from December 6, 2013. Accessed on January 20, 2014
  21. ↑ Urgent application rejected: Owner must protect Hotel “Riviera” . In: MOZ , December 7, 2013
  22. Karin Schmidl: Chipboard instead of perforated sheet. Despite legal requirements imposed on the owner, the excursion restaurants Gesellschaftshaus and Riviera continue to expire in Grünau. In: Berliner Zeitung , August 27, 2014, p. 18.
  23. Karin Schmidl: Holes in the roof. The excursion restaurants Riviera and Gesellschaftshaus have been falling into disrepair in Grünau for 20 years. Now the district intervenes. In: Berliner Zeitung , January 16, 2014.
  24. Karin Schmidl: One on the roof. Two traditional restaurants in Grünau have been falling into disrepair for years. District and owner argue. Now a judge has spoken a word of power In: Berliner Zeitung , January 29, 2016, p. 15.
  25. Sabine Flatau: The Müggelturm attracts thousands of visitors again . In: Berliner Morgenpost , May 1, 2017.
  26. a b Ulrich Paul: From excursion restaurant to senior residence . In: Berliner Zeitung , January 23. P. 12 (print edition).
  27. View of the large ballroom in 1910
  28. ^ View of the Gesellschaftshaus in 2007; Retrieved January 20, 2014
  29. Institute for Monument Preservation (Ed.): The architectural and art monuments of the GDR. Capital Berlin-II . Henschelverlag, Berlin 1984, p. 353 . The bowling alleys are indicated and illustrated on the historical postcard .
  30. : rbb24 burned Social House in Grunau .
  31. Katrin Bischoff, Lutz Schnedelbach: Grünau's soul burns . In: Berliner Zeitung , July 17, 2019, p. 9 (print edition).
  32. Joachim Schmidt: Fire destroys parts of the Grünauer Gesellschaftshaus - reconstruction promised. In: Der Dörferblick , No. 272, August 2019.
  33. Mike Wilms: Excavated and demolished . In: Berliner Zeitung , February 20, 2020, p. 8.