A window on the city of Berlin

Laura Salmi
Sunday 05 Oct 2008

The German capital welcomes plans for a purpose-built city museum to house its precious memories

London based architect Stanton Williams have won first prize in the international architectural competition for the Stadtmuseum, Berlin. The second and third prizes were awarded to Mario Bellini Architects, Milan and Max Dudler, Berlin.

An architectural jury consisting Prof. Hans Kollhoff (Architect, Berlin - Chair), Regula Lüscher (Director for the Built Environment, Berlin), Volker Staab (Architect, Berlin), Wilfried Wang (Architect, Berlin), Roger Diener (Architect, Basel) decided upon the winner based on the brief to create a major new city museum through the adaptation and redevelopment of Berlin's existing Marinehaus in the central area if Mitte. Together with the neighbouring Märkisches Museum these two buildings will form the new Stadtmuseum which will house displays relating to the history, culture and development of the vibrant German capital.

Stanton Williams’ design aims to create ‘a window on the city’ by giving the Museum façade a permeable character. Foyer spaces, including a cafe and shop, are located on the ground floor where they open directly onto the street, animating the facade of the museum at street level. To achieve this active facade, the floor level within the building has been dropped to street level and existing windows onto the street lowered to form an arcade. 2,300 sq m of flexible exhibition space with column free galleries of up to 14 x 28 m is located at basement, ground, first and second floor levels. Above these public areas are four floors of administrative space and plant areas.

In response to the brief’s request to make the relationship between the two buildings apparent through the architectural design, the brick structure of the Marinehaus, together with the scars of successive alterations, will be revealed inside the Museum as traces of the building's history. The tower of Marinehaus that had been removed under the GDR has been reinstated as a glass tower, providing a viewing gallery offering a panoramic outlook towards Berlin’s Museum Island and highlighting the Museum within the city’s skyline.

The StadtMusuem Berlin will provide approximately 4,950 sq m of net floor area for a budget 23.4 M Euros with completion set for 2012.

Laura Salmi

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