The new Exile Museum stands as a memorial of the past and at the same time it provides a vehicle for future awareness and solidarity. It marks both the absence and presence of the historic landscape and those who lost their homes. Our common proposal is based on a minimal and forceful gesture, a curve which marks the position of the former Anhalter Bahnhof and at the same time creates an empty space, a void representing what’s lost and bridging between the past and the present. To commemorate but also move forward. A place for reflection and education simultaneously.
Today, the urban area around Askanischer platz is widely transformed with few buildings remaining from before 1945. The fragment of Anhalter Bahnhof stands as a solitary object seemingly out of scale with the vast openness of the surrounding area. However small, the fragment is an artefact of a central part of 20th century history, a symbolic object in the collective European memory.
Upon entering the site, Askanischer platz has been given a cobble stone paving leading the visitor to the new Exile Museum. The floor continues inside the building creating one continuous surface where interior and exterior is only divided by a glass wall. The curved outline of the building leads the pedestrian from both sides through the front plaza in a natural movement between the historic fragment and the new building, directly to the entrance at the centre. While moving along the building the façade slowly embraces the visitor, reducing the sound of the city, allowing the museum to spill out on the plaza to create a contemplative yet active place.
The visitor has a direct visual connection to the interior activities. Entering the vaulted entrance hall, an open, flexible and welcoming column free space with large openings to all sides allows daylight in and views to its surroundings. The foyer creates easy access to all functions, and can if needed, be sectioned. Circulation and intermediate spaces are placed along the balcony area with reflection zones placed as protected niches overviewing the north plaza and the historic fragment.