The Siemens Villa in Berlin is one of Germany’s most impressive industrial residential houses, alongside of the Villa Hügel in Essen.
Located in the Berlin city district Steglitz-Zehlendorf, this grand mansion is surrounded by a charming, spacious park. It is a reminiscence of times where industrial pioneers made history, not only on an economic and social scale, but also in terms of architectural grandeur as regards their private residences. Elements like an own gatehouse, a driver’s house with three garages and an enchanting teahouse, located at the rear of the three-hectare park, add a magical touch to the ensemble.
The history of the Siemens Villa commences with the entrepreneur Friedrich Christian Correns who laid the foundation for the “Correns Mansion” on May 20th 1914. The topping-out ceremony of the impressive residential complex took place in August of 1914, as WWI had just been declared. Despite the odds, the villa was to survive two world wars and the division of a city. Correns was the director of the Accumulatoren-Fabrik-AG, from which later the VARTA group was formed. The design and construction of the villa were realized by the architects Fritz Freymüller and Albert Denzel. The remarkably good condition of the building is also owed to the use of best building materials available at the time, as well as to highly qualified craftsmen that were assigned through the German Emperor himself.
After the builder-owner’s passing in 1923 in Berlin, his widowed wife Emely Correns sold the mansion to Werner Ferdinand von Siemens in 1925. Under this name, the residence should go down in Berlin city history.
Being a music patron and “hobby conductor” in his free time, Siemens commissioned the construction of an 800 square meters large concert hall in 1928, that to this day is world-renowned for its excellent acoustics. Every month, it is booked for recordings by radio stations and music companies. A very special gem of the concert hall, the Wurlitzer organ that is still operative today, is world-famous and one of the highlights of Berlin’s Musical Instruments Museum.
From 1941 to 1976, the Ibero-American Institute,including the German central library with focus on Ibero-America, was based here. Later, it became the headquarters of the German Music Archive of the German National Library that was relocated to Leipzig in 2011.
Stefan Peter purchased the villa in 2011 with the vision of preserving this unique piece of architecture as a public venue for culture, science and art. This vision is fostered through the cooperation with the Business School Berlin Potsdam (BSP) that has been based in the villa since 2012, and the Medical School Berlin (MSB) that is renting the premises.
Besides the extraordinarily designed rooms representing a variety of styles, students and professors relish the park’s breathtaking spaciousness. Presumably designed by Karl Riemann, and in its core still consistent with the original plans, it makes up only about half its original size today – but is still likely to be one of the largest private parks within the federal capital.
Since 2014, the Siemens Villa has also been housing an international Forum for Meditation and Neuroscience, in cooperation with the two universities.