Design in a cube

11 May 2010

Libeskind launches third project at Jewish Museum Berlin

Daniel Libeskind revealed his design for the Jewish Museum Berlin Academy yesterday in Berlin, his third project for the museum. The New York City-based architect also designed the Jewish Museum Berlin and the Glass Courtyard, which is an extension to the original building.

The Jewish Museum Berlin plans to build a euro10 million ($12.7 million) academy on the site of the former 19th century Berlin Flower Market by using the existing hall. Located across from the Jewish Museum Berlin, a zinc-coated building, the renovated structure will bring the library, archives, educational and public programs under one roof and will offer additional office, storage and support spaces for the museum. Libeskind has designed a new entrance that keeps the hall structure to allow new cultural uses whilst preserving the option of future expansion. The project is expected to be completed in 2001

The academy will be integrated into the old museum building and the Libeskind-designed extension, which opened in September 2001. The academy design features a tilted cube that penetrates the outer wall of the hall creating a counterpart to the museum’s main entrance and the head of the extension building. The cube shape carries through the theme in the museum’s Garden of Exile as well as in the Glass Court.

Skylights in form of the Hebrew letters Alef and Bet refer to learning and to the functions of education, library and archive. The walls are clad with titan zinc plate panels. Visitors enter the academy through an opening in the entrance cube, which leads to the hall where two more cubes tilt toward each other. These cubes, clad with rough timber board that recall transportation boxes or the ark, contain the lecture hall and the library.

Between the three cubes there are various views into hall and its roof lights as well as onto the new piazza outside. These spaces, according to Libeskind, form the interface between the public functions of the academy and at the same time their visual connection to the Kollegienhaus and the extension building. Other rooms are located in functional one-storey structures along the exterior wall and in the basement. The unoccupied areas of the hall will be used as an interior garden.

“I am thrilled to be making another contribution to the Jewish Museum Berlin”, said Libeskind. “The academy’s program will continue and enliven the JMB’s tradition of education and historical understanding and will further outreach to the community.”

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