The Kant Garage was the first multi-storey parking garage in Berlin. It was built by the Bauhaus architect Richard Paulick in collaboration with Hermann Zweigenthal from 1929 to 1930 for the entrepreneur and engineer Louis Serlin.
The Kant Parking Garage was one of Richard Paulick's first commission as an independent architect. He was invited to work on project by the architect Hermann Zweigenthal who had already conducted research on a car parking system for Berlin on behalf of a German car owners association (the DAC) who was to be the building's main tenant. It is said that many ideas for the garage design were also introduced by the owner Louis Serlin who had studied car parks extensively on his travels to the United States in 1928. The firm Lohmüller, Korschelt & Renker who had gained experience in the construction of one-storey garages was responsible for the engineering concept. During the building phase, the construction firm went bankrupt due to the difficult economic climate and Louis Serlin had to take over as construction manager to complete the project.
As one of the few existing industrial applications of Bauhaus architecture, the Kant Garage demonstrates how the Bauhaus' functional technicity can play out eloquently in an industrial setting. After its completion the garage which constituted a relatively new architectural typology at the time was widely discussed in German architectural publications.
The Kant Garage is a six-storey buidling and provides space for up to 300 cars. 200 of these spaces were individual boxes which - for reasons of fire regulations - were closed with steel doors. A ramp consisting of two intertwined spirals with separated entry and exit lanes leads to the different levels. Then the separation of entry and exit routes was a new concept in Europe. It helped to avoid waiting times and created additional space which was used to accomodate car wash facilties on every floor. A further car wash as well as a petrol station were situated at ground level. To provide for adequate lighting of the interior and give the building a light and modern character, the facade at the front and back were clad with large glas tiles.
At the time the Kant Garage was built car parks were no necessity trafficwise. They were rather a cultural phenomenon because they allowed well-to-do car owners to have theis cars serviced and maintained. The economic crisis in the 1930s therefore forced the owner to look for new uses. Different plans for a roof extension were put forward which included tennis courts and bowling facilities, but they were never realised. When the nazis seized power, the owner Louis Serlin who was Jewish was expropriated and had to leave Germany. He returned after the war and the Kant Garage was eventually returned to him.
Today the Kant Garage is registered as a historic monument and still in use.