Architecture Walks, Berlin
Concierge.com's insider take:
Berlin boasts more new buildings designed by top international architects than perhaps any other European city. At the turn of the last century, it was, after all, presented with the unique opportunity to rebuild a modern cosmopolitan capital almost from the ground up. You can prepare for an architectural tour by reading Michael Wise's fantastic book Capital Dilemma: Germany's Search for a New Architecture of Democracy (Princeton Architectural Press), an in-depth account of the politics involved in building new symbols of national identity and historical consciousness. Many companies, among them Original Berlin Walks (49-30-301-9194; www.berlinwalks.com), offer guided tours of the city's architectural highlights, including Peter Eisenman's Holocaust Memorial, completed in 2005, Norman Foster's Reichstag, Renzo Piano's Potsdamer Platz, and Frank Gehry's DG Bank. A self-guided amble is a good leisurely alternative. Berlin Tourismus Marketing GmbH (11 Am Karlsbad, 49-30-250-025; www.berlin-tourism.de) publishes an inexpensive 36-page bilingual guide titled "Architecture in Berlin," which is available at BTM tourist information centers throughout the city or can be ordered by mail.