A MUSEUM FOR GERHARD RICHTER'S WORK IN BERLIN
Berlin has been under a state of constant change due to the devastating effects of its past. Before the Second World War Berlin’s building stock consisted of 245,300 buildings. Post-war 27,700 were completely demolished and a further 19,600 were so badly damaged they could not be restored(1). This left many open spaces throughout the city, especially in the centre. Party walls were revealed due to the ridge wall/courtyard typology that once covered the city, a condition that physically expresses its history and building type. The surface quality of these open spaces is very textured with subtle changes of colour and grain. Many of these sites are being redeveloped throughout the city.
I have proposed a 9000sq/m museum for the German painter, Gerhard Richter. The project aims to create a high quality design establishing a permanent collection of the artists’ work within Germany’s capital. It will provide facilities for internationally renowned artists and the local community to help support the areas regeneration, while demonstrating the value of sustainable design.
The site is on the periphery of north Mitte, Berlin’s central district. It fronts onto chausseestraße, a main route through the city. The area was Berlin’s main industrial quarter during the 19th century and has since been developed more commercially with many large-scale offices. The 8900sq/m site was a result of bomb damage in WW2 and opens the block up to the street revealing four party walls and the façade of a typewriter factory built in 1910.
The scheme preserves the party walls that express Berlin’s unique spatial condition. Four blocks separate the museums functions into permanent collection, temporary exhibition, administration and public facilities. They are strategically positioned to oppose a party wall making them visible from the street. The blocks are connected at subterranean level through a series of interconnected courtyards informed by a study of a spatial typology, ‘tunnel and tower’.
The museum will take on elements of Richter’s expression, such as the banality of his subject matter and qualities of surface that are explored throughout his career. This can be seen through the exposed party walls that act like paintings and speak to the surfaces and structural grain of the blocks that oppose them.
1 H. Gorney and A. Byers 2011, Hommage a Berlin, P.30