Essen, Germany

Margarethenhöhe, in the city of Essen, was one of the first German garden cities.

Garden City Type: Former company town
Country: Germany
City: Essen
Years of construction:
1909 Start construction
1938 Completion
Initiator/client: Margarethe Krupp
Architect or related:
Georg Metzendorf

Georg Metzendorf (1874-1934) was a German architect, city planner and designer. In his career he sought solutions for suitable settlements and housing models for the industrialized masses. He was not only responsible for Margarethenhöhe, but also garden city Hüttenau. He designed several building at garden city Hellerau as well.

Heritage status: Yes
Explanation: Margarethenhöhe I (the original settlement) was placed under monument protection in 1987.
General condition of Garden City: Good condition

General description

Margarethe Krupp (1854-1931) was the wife of German steel manufacturer Friedrich Alfred Krupp. She was involved in the fields of art and social affairs and on the occasion of her daughter Bertha's wedding in 1906, she signed a declaration of intent to establish the Margarethe-Krupp-Stiftung für Wohnungsfürsorge (Margarethe Krupp Foundation for Housing Welfare). She provided the foundation with 50 hectares of land and one million marks for the construction of residential buildings. In 1907 Krupp donated another 50 hectares of land. This was not to be built on, but remain forest land which encloses the settlement.

Construction of the district, in the south of Essen, started in 1909 and lasted until 1938. During construction it was exempted from all building regulations by a government decree. The only other example of this is garden city Hellerau.

Out of gratitude to founder Margarethe Krupp, the Essen city council named it Margarethenhöhe.

Between 1962 and 1980 a "new" Margarethenhöhe was built south of the settlement. The construction of Margarethenhöhe II followed entirely different urban planning and architectural criteria. The multi-storey row construction, set in wide green areas, are a clear contrast with the “old” Margarethenhöhe.

The Margarethenhöhe is being managed by the Margarethe Krupp Foundation for Housing Welfare since its foundation. The foundation manages around 3,100 residential units in 935 houses (including 420 single-family homes) and over 60 commercial

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Architecture / Urban planning

Krupp commissioned the then 34 year old architect Georg Metzendorf in 1908, who – even though the houses differ from each other – designed the settlement with an architectural uniformity. This Metzendorf achieved by designing a set of elements that were repeatedly combined in new ways. Not only was this aesthetically pleasing, it also saved costs. The two-storey Kleinwohnhäuser (small houses) had central heating and – quite revolutionary - a bathroom.

A garden city befitting, green surroundings are an important feature of Margarethenhöhe. The houses have gardens for self-sufficiency, there are several small parks within the settlement, and the settlement is surrounded by forests.

The northern part of the settlement was the first to be built, with the gate house at Am Brückenkopf (bridgehead) as a sort of unofficial entry building. The Steile Straße (Steep Road) from here leads to Kleiner Markt (Small Market), the central square of Margarethenhöhe. This square is a meeting point for residents, especiallly on market days and during special festivities. It also houses the former Gasthaus zur Margarethenhöhe (today a hotel) and the former company shop Konsum (today still a shop).



Margarethe Krupp Stiftung

Margarethe Krupp Stiftung

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