The Commander’s House marks either the start or triumphant conclusion of the Unter den Linden boulevard, depending on the direction you’re coming from. The building might make you stop and wonder why it looks substantially newer and fresher than the structures around it. That’s because the Commander’s House (also known as the ‘Alte Kommandantur’, or the ‘Old Command Centre’) has been totally reconstructed.
Like most of the structures surrounding it, the Commander’s House was almost completely destroyed during World War Two. The ruins were ultimately pulled down in 1950 and replaced by the large offices of the GDR’s Exterior Ministry. This comparatively modern building was not a good fit with its neighbours, architecturally speaking, and was ultimately also demolished in 1995. Four years later, the Bertelsmann Foundation acquired the prestigious plot at the end of the majestic boulevard via a public auction and Bertelsmann AG subsequently built its Berlin offices on the site. The architects complied with the requirement that the façade be a faithful historical reconstruction. They were free to design the interiors as they wished, however, and opted for a modern, contemporary style.