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5 Tips to Visit Berlin Modern Architecture

There is A LOT of modern architecture in Berlin.  There is so much new architecture to visit the following tips will help you make the most of your trip and your modern architectural visits.

1.  Research & Prioritize

This should be a general rule however if you are in Berlin for a week or less you will not get to it all so spend a bit of time deciding your ‘must sees’.  There are also a number of buildings which close, even some of the public monuments and memorials so make note of the hours of operation.  Berlin may not be a city where you can sleep in everyday or you will miss out on those open hours of operation.  The Berlin Directory at includes links to the building websites so you can confirm the hours of operation.

2.  Up High and Down Low

The TV Tower can be seen everywhere in Berlin, with its loaded history it now contains an observatory deck with a 360 degree view of Berlin.  This is a great place to get an overall sense of the location of neighborhoods, architecture and monuments as well as observe how the east and west divide can still be seen in the building mass and city plan arrangement.  Learn more at:

A boat tour is always a nice break from the walking and trekking but from the water you will be able to get a great view of many architectural gems which front on the waterway.  For tour information visit  which offer many different tour options.

3.  Guides:

When I was in Berlin I brought two travel books which I used and referred to constantly:  I never left my hotel with the Knopf MapGuide: Berlin and the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Berlin.

To help you with your research before you leave the Visit Berlin website is jamb packed with information, it is definitely worth a good review before you leave.

4. Guide to Modern Berlin Architecture

A Guide to Modern ArchitectureTo help you discover the modern Berlin architecture you should visit which is a comprehensive catalog of many modern gems.  The address and closest transit stop is listed to help you on your travels as well as a link to the website and a feature or tip about the building.  All the information is compiled to make your architectural visits easy.

5.  The BVG

The trains (subway) in Berlin will get you everywhere you need to go – they are easy and on time.   The BVG offers some great deals for visitors which get you discounts to a number of other locations and you can buy it online from home so you don’t need to waste valuable vacation time.  Visit:

Happy journeys in Berlin.


Here are 5 reasons why you should visit modern architecture that perhaps you never thought of.

1.  means to an end

This isn’t quiet the right term but the idea here is that you can use these modern landmarks to explore and meander different streets and new neighborhoods you likely would not have found otherwise.  I have found really great alleys and markets on my way to some of these buildings you just need to keep your eyes open and make the route part of the fun.  Often the new and cool buildings are in up and coming neighborhoods which are nice to checkout before they become tourist traps.

2.  modern architecture is cool

Modern architecture can house some cool stuff or activities.  I have gone to look at some great architecture because of the architect and thought it was actually just really fun and recommended it to my friends just because it was cool.  For example while I was in Tokyo I visited the Swatch Group Store because it was design by Shigeru Ban (fabulous architect).  I actually didn’t know much about this project at all before I went.  The entire ground floor is open to the street, there isn’t any merchandise on the ground floor only glass elevators and a large open space with a trickling waterfall and living wall almost 5 storeys high.   The elevators bring customers to different floors each carrying a different brand of watch.  It is actually one of the best retail stores I have been too, we had an espresso and took a ride in some of the elevators.  It was cool.

Shigeru Ban   Shigeru Ban   Shigeru Ban

3.  it isn’t boring

Visiting modern architecture is not like visiting old Gothic cathedrals, they don’t all look the same! I must admit I don’t’ think Gothic churches all look the same but it is understandable why many would think that.  Old architecture followed particular rules for centuries – that is why they are so similar.  New architecture is not like that – Modern architecture is colourful and playful.  Architects experiment with materials and form.  Even if you don’t like every building – you won’t be bored.

Fun Architecture   Colourful architecture  Suprising architecture

4.  new stories

While your friends are doing and seeing the same old stuff that they found in their travel books you can see new and exciting projects.  Visiting these new buildings will provide you with interesting stories and adventures and you will be the envy of all your friends.

5.  here and now

Modern architecture most often relates to today.  You don’t need to be a historian to understand and appreciate modern architecture.

   Boston Modern Architecture  

Bonus reason:

Because it is now easy to find these modern buildings just visit architecture  for an address list!

A Guide to Modern Architecture



The Toronto Society of Architects (TSA) was established in 1887, it is a non-profit volunteer-based organization made up of architects and members of the community interested in architecture. The TSA is the local Chapter of the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), the licensing and regulatory body that governs the practice of architecture in Ontario.

From May to October the TSA offers guided walking tours of the Toronto’s best contemporary architecture.   The guides are trained volunteers offer insightful building details, shedding light on the urban context and historical facts of the modern Toronto Architecture included on the tour.

There are currently three tours offered to satisfy a variety of interested:

Art and Performance Tour

Culture and Campus Tour

Towers Tour

Visit the TSA website:



Tours of specific architectural projects are also offered which are typically more in-depth about that particular building.  The following building’s offer tours of their spaces:

Art Gallery of Ontario:

These tours are free with admission and are held frequently.  Visit:

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts:

Tours are not frequent so be sure to visit their website for more information.


Roy Thomson Hall:

One hour tours are provided.  Visit:



This is an annual event in the City of Toronto where one weekend a year many (almost 150 buildings) open their doors to the public.  This allows visitors access to architecturally significant projects which normally charge entrance or are not open to the public, and many buildings have organized guided tours and displays.  Doors open is a great event typically at the end of May.

For more information visit:



A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Toronto

By Margaret Goodfellow (Author), Phil Goodfellow (Author), Helen Malkin (Editor), Nancy Dunton (Editor)

A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Toronto provides information on modern Toronto Architecture with helpful information for your travel.  Each project is featured on a two-page spread with a project description, photographs, and drawings. The projects are organized by neighborhood and allow the reader to take a self-guided tour. Maps at the introduction of each neighborhood provide context, and an index provides easy referencing of projects throughout.

A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Toronto

Top 10 Toronto (Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides)

Lorraine Johnson (Author), Draughtsman Ltd (Illustrator)

The Eyewitness Travel Guides are always a must have on my travels.  They contain reliable information, colourful illustrations and images, fold out maps and a small pocket map to help you get around.  The books are organized well and easy to follow, these books are all you need particularly for a short trip.  I like the small pocket-size and durable cover because it is easy to carry around.   They take the work out of planning any trip.


Toronto guide book5.  architectureGROUPIE

The Toronto Architecture Guide Book is a great directory of modern architecture, buildings are cataloged by image so you can decide what you want you like or don’t like before you go.  Along with clear photos and direct web links to each building’s webpage with the exact address, closest public transit stop and a feature or note about each of the projects.

Learn more at

A Guide to Modern Architecture  Visit for more information on other cities

For helps tips and information on Toronto’s Public Transportation see:

Prada by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten


Prada by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten

Prada by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten

Traveling can be expensive but visiting modern architecture isn’t always as expensive as you may think.  Here are a few ways to visit architecture on a budget.

This is Prada by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten in Tokyo in 2008. 
As long as you don’t shop this architecture is free. 


Lots of great new Modern Architecture are Museums and Art galleries which typically have high admission prices which can get pretty expensive particularly in cities that are full of them.  However, many museums and gallery’s have days/evenings that are free or by donation, look for this before your trip. If you are not there that particular day of the month or it is not available you can often see the majority of the interior with just general admission rather than paying a premium for the special exhibits.  If you are interested in the exhibit as well the architecture it is really is a two for one deal in my opinion.  To save a bit of money I would recommend eating before or after because the museum cafe can be a bit pricey.


There is a lot of modern architecture that are shopping malls / flagship stores / religious venues / libraries and so forth and are free!  I found many of the buildings I wanted to see in Tokyo were the stores, expensive ones such as the Prada store so I didn’t spend any money and I got to see a tone of great modern architecture for free.


If you are really strapped for cash prioritize the architecture on your “must see” list (see blog: 5 Tips for Visiting Architecture) so you know which building’s are worth splurging on.  the projects lower on the list can be admired from the outside and the lobby, not quiet the same but will give you a sense of the design and building materials.


Some modern architecture such as theatre’s and performance venues are not open to public without a tour, these tours vary but generally can be 60min to 90min.  instead of taking the tour try to buy tickets for a show some venues sell tickets cheap on the day of which may cost a bit more than the day tour but you will get hours of entertainment and see the architecture as it was meant to be.  I like to try to do this for each city I visit, they are often more memorable than the day tour.

5. ASK

If you are a student, particularly architecture student, always ask if there are student admission prices even if it is not posted. when I was an architecture student I carried a letter from my school stating I was traveling for school and some architectural venues let me in for free, that was sometime ago but it is worth a try.  Seniors should also ask for discounted rates.  if you are visiting a project that is by donation don’t skip out on the donation. The buildings often need this money to operate and maintain the building and we want to help preserve these architectural works for future generations.

Visit a Modern and Contemporary Architecture Travel Guide