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The Staatsratsgebäude: A Historical and Architectural Gem in Berlin

The former Staatsratsgebäude can be found in the historical center of Berlin, right behind where the Berlin City Palace used to stand before it was demolished after the Second World War. This building tells the city’s history in every possible way since it shares architecture from Prussian times, East Germany, and the unified city we know today.

This three-story high building is a testimony to the post-war architecture of Germany and Berlin. It was built between 1962 and 1964 as the State Council building and as an expression of East German-style architecture.

But the particular baroque portal dates back even before. Johann Friedrich Eosander von Göthe designed it in 1713 as one of the portals to the Berlin City Palace. After demolishing the original building, it was integrated into the building, which you can see today.

According to the legend, this piece of history was saved because this is where Karl Liebknecht declared the Free Socialist Republic of Germany in 1918.

We visited the Staatsratsgebäude on a public tour back in June 2017. All the pictures here were taken during this visit. If interested, you can book a tour directly with the people from ESMT Berlin. Click here to learn more.

From Baroque Portal to East German Architecture: The Story of the Staatsratsgebäude

The Staatsratsgebäude, known in English as the State Council building, was built between 1962 and 1964, and it was the first representative building from the GDR built after the Berlin Wall. One of the main features of the building is Portal IV, which used to stand in the Berlin City Palace before it was blown up in 1950.

As we said, this Portal was inserted into the Staatsratsgebäude due to its historical importance. It was from there that Karl Liebknecht proclaimed the Free Socialist Republic of Germany back on November 9, 1918.

An exciting aspect of the architecture here is that the Staatsratsgebäude was built in alignment with the former Berlin City Palace regarding the proportions and internal layout. The three-story structure received the dimensions of the palace with large halls, wide foyers, and a spacious staircase.

The architect Roland Korn was responsible for the building planning, the facade was designed by Josef Kaiser, and the interior design was done by Hans-Erich Bogatzky and Bruno Hess. They put a lot of effort into the individual rooms and the details of the building, including the furniture of the Staatsratsgebäude.

One of the highlights of the building is the magnificent glass mural that follows the staircase. “Depictions from the History of the German Workers’ Movement” was designed by Walter Womacka and shows the history of Germany with a strong focus on the workers’ movement.

Another exciting element of the building is the massive national emblem of East Germany on one of the walls. Nowadays, it stands in one of the classrooms of this management school.

From Government Building to Business School: The Changing Role of the Staatsratsgebäude

After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, the former Staatsratsgebäude was used as the seat of the Federal Chancellery under Gerhard Schröder. Between 2003 and 2005, the historical building underwent extensive renovation so that the European School of Management Berlin could take over it. They opened their doors in January 2006.

Today, the building is used by ESMT, and they occasionally host events. There are also exclusive tours of the former State Council building, and you have to click here to book one. The one I did was in German for free, and it was more than worth it.

A Symbol of Berlin’s History: The Enduring Legacy of the Staatsratsgebäude

ESMT Berlin in the former Staatsratsgebäude
Schlossplatz 1 — 10178 Berlin

Felipe Tofani

Felipe Tofani

Felipe Tofani is a passionate designer with a penchant for crafting unique experiences and a mixed taste in music. As the curator behind this blog's explorations, he takes pride in discovering fascinating destinations. Whether unearthing hidden gems or sharing captivating historical narratives, Felipe is the creative force driving the stories you find here. Join him on a journey of design, discovery, and the delightful rhythm of unconventional tunes.View Author posts