This is the oldest building of the Wissenschaftskolleg. It houses the library, the Fellow Services, and guestrooms.
Through a gift of the Volkswagen Foundation in 1982, the Wissenschaftskolleg acquired another building just across the street from the Hauptgebäude, the so-called Weisse Villa (White Villa) on the corner of Wallotstrasse and Koenigsallee.
Through the financial assistance it provided the Wissenschaftskolleg at its founding in 1981, the Volkswagen Foundation played a vital role in the institution’s establishment. On the Wissenschaftskolleg’s twentieth anniversary, the Volkswagen Foundation made a present of the Weisse Villa (see the plaque at the entrance). Formal presentation of the keys to the building took place in a ceremony on 18 June 1982 attended by the West German president. The Volkswagen Foundation made gift of the villa conditional upon the federal state of Berlin financing not only acquisition of the property at Wallotstrasse 21 ("Neubau") but the construction that was to take place on this site.
The Weisse Villa is among the oldest privately owned buildings in the Grunewald. In 1898 the businessman Carl Poppele received permission to build the villa, and the coach house with greenhouse and garage were built in 1911. After changing hands several times, in 1933 the villa came into the possession of the Mannheim family, whose money had been made in the industrial sector. In 1939 the villa was, presumably, expropriated by the Nazis and sold; the new owner was the publisher H. Wichmann. After the Second World War, as part of the effort to restitute Jews and other victims of the Nazis, Ida Lissauer (née Landsberger, and resident of Haifa, Israel) was declared legal successor to the Mannheim family and the property passed into her hands. In 1956 she sold the villa to the businessman Hans-Joachim Brauer, and in 1970 the engineer Günther Hans Kiss became its owner. Kiss renovated the structure (including installation of a spiral staircase of reinforced concrete) and used it as a place of business for his company Consulting Engineers—Planning and Construction Office.
In 1982 the Volkswagen Foundation acquired the villa and then transferred ownership of it to the Wissenschaftskolleg.