DEGEWO > association

The name is a German abbreviation for the German Society for the Promotion of Housing Construction. DeGeWo was founded in Berlin in 1924 and unlike its competitor GEHAG, had closer links to German civil servants' associations than to employees' organisations. Its first major project was a section of the Horseshoe Estate, which is part of the Large Housing Estate Britz.

Berlin’s city council divided the 37-hectare Britz estate into two sections to be developed by DeGeWo and GEHAG, a move that reflected the political powers of the time. As the Horseshoe Estate was being built, Britz became a theatre of competing ideologies, styles and types of organization. The design of the DeGeWo section was entrusted to the traditional architectural practice of Ernst Engelmann and Emil Fangmeyer, while the building work itself would be carried out by a private company. In its section on the eastern side of Fritz-Reuter-Allee, DeGeWo created stately facades with dormers, expressionist decor and gable roofs, while on the western side of the street, Bruno Taut created architecture for GEHAG which served as a radical visual counterpoint.

During the post-war period, DeGeWo was deeply involved in Berlin’s reconstruction. Prominent large-scale DeGeWo projects of the 1960s and 1970s included Gropiusstadt in the south of Neukölln and a complex on Schlangenbader Strasse in Berlin-Wilmersdorf, where an entire apartment block was built directly over a motorway. Today degewo, whose name is now written in lower case, manages around 75,000 properties, making it the largest state-owned housing company in Berlin.