The new Exile Museum stands as a memorial of the past and simultaneously 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 proposal is based on a minimal yet forceful gesture, a curve that marks the position of the former Anhalter Bahnhof and at the same time creates an empty space, a void representing what is lost and bridging the past and the present, to commemorate but also move forward – a place for reflection and education.
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 mid-20th-century history, a symbolic object in the collective European memory.
Upon entering the site, Askanischer Platz is paved with cobblestone leading the visitor to the new Exile Museum. The floor continues inside the building creating one continuous surface, where the interior and exterior are only divided by a glass wall. The curved outline of the building leads the pedestrians through the front plaza directly to the entrance at the centre. 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 and create a contemplative yet vibrant place.
The visitors have 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, lets daylight in and provides views to 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.