As part of the Kulturforum Berlin, the Museum of the 20th Century is situated in an exposed location in the historically and politically significant Potsdamer Platz area. As such this project demands an especially careful and respectful integration with the emblematic architectures in this unique context. Our design concept transfers the particular site conditions of the urban ensemble of contrasting and overlaying architectural styles into a restrained façade for the museum building with a contrasting sculptural interior.
The sobriety of the designed volume cautiously complements the heterogeneity of the surrounding modern architectural styles. Referencing a Berlin tradition with respect to public buildings, the grey-brown brick façade links to the city’s broader urban context. The coherent brick façade is interrupted by specifically placed openings that form entrance to the building. Rhythmically situated columns in the entrance areas create the impression of an opening curtain. The yard of St. Matthäus Church facilitates an intricate dialogue between the church and the adjacent cultural buildings. Between the museum’s opposing entrances, a semi-public area establishes an additional connection for pedestrians from the churchyard to Potsdamer Strasse and vice versa.
Owing to a divergent spatial structure of positive and negative spaces, a sculptural landscape is created in the building’s interior. In contrast to the subdued nature of the façade, which is characterized by mimicry and the ambiguity of presence, the interior provides visitors with a diverse and surprising spatial experience.
Our design for the museum equally fulfills the requirements of the site and of the building’s typology, taking into account the site’s heterogeneity while simultaneously addressing the museum’s spatial demands.