The MPIWG building is situated in Berlin-Dahlem, in the south of Berlin, in the vicinity of a number of other Max Planck institutes. Historically, the area was chosen in the beginning of the twentieth century as a location for hosting elite research institutes that together would create a “German Oxford.”

The new building for the MPIWG, designed by the architectural office of Dietrich & Dietrich(Stuttgart), was completed in 2006.

The rotunda of chestnuts located at the center of the property determined the peculiar shape of the building. The research departments and service units reside in linked pavilions arranged around the chestnut trees and create an inner courtyard.


The library is the heart of the building: directly accessible from all departments of the institute, the library even enjoys natural lighting despite its subterranean location.

Publications on the MPIWG

Download historian Andreas Schätzke’s text on the architecture and the historical context of the MPIWG building. It appeared in a volume on the architecture of the building by Edition Axel Menges (2010).

Download general information on the book.

Sample pages can be accessed from the Edition Axel Menges website (go to “Opus 74,” in English and German).

Photographs of the MPIWG by Reinhard Görner, Berlin.

Walking Tours in Berlin-Dahlem

The Max-Planck-Society arranges walking tours through the “German Oxford.”