As Germany celebrates the centenary of the influential art movement, we tour the cities where it started, flourished and, ultimately, proved too ‘degenerate’ for the Nazis

Under a leaden winter sky, the low-rise residential blocks in Berlin’s Hansa Quarter couldn’t be called pretty. Built in the late 1950s to revive a district razed during the second world war, they’re boxy and unadorned. The trees are skeletal, the gardens bare. But when I look up, I see upkeep and pride. Smart furnishings are visible through large windows. My eyes wander to a sleek, white edifice by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto and then down to ground level and some single-storey atrium houses by Danish designer Arne Jacobsen. A bold pillared building by Oscar Niemeyer is about light and space as much as housing.

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