Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung

Berlin, Germany, 2015


invited international competition

Land Berlin

Klingelhöferstraße 14, Berlin, Germany

Site area
8.530 m2

Building area
1.600 m2

Total floor area
6.978 m2

basement + ground floor + 3

new building (temporary and permanent exhibition rooms, museum store, cafe, administration)
existing building (library, education, administration, event spaces)

massive concrete, steelwork

aluminum laminated glazing

SADAR+VUGA (Jurij Sadar, Boštjan Vuga, Mirjam Milić, Jure Sadar, Kenneth Woods, Matic Škarabot), Casper Mueller Kneer Architects (Jens Casper, Marianne Mueller, Matthias Grabe, Tobie Verlaye, Luise Rellensmann)

As a cultural building in the 21st century, the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung should be a dynamic public space, one used for exhibiting, teaching and learning. It should provide a rewarding experience for international visitors and local residents alike. The addition of a new building allows the original 1979 building from Walter Gropius to return to its former light filled and open character, becoming the most important piece in the Bauhaus collection. The expansion is a direct response to the unique urban setting on the Landwehrkanals. The three objects on site (the new expansion, original Bauhaus building, and the Villa von der Heydt) are treated as freestanding objects in close dialogue with one another, creating a unique urbanity.

The new building forms an urban edge to the Von-der-Heydt Street, bringing presence to a once hidden institution. On the canal embankment to the south, the design creates a new public square: the Bauhaus Forum, a flexible urban space, to be used for orientation, communication, and exchange. The forum helps mediates between the old and new buildings. It is slightly recessed into the landscape, shielded from the noise, and has a relaxing quality. As an open, unprogrammed space, the forum can become a stage for events and experimentation – from summer cinemas with projections, to pop-up outdoor exhibitions.

The silhouette of the existing Walter Gropius building defines its architectural language. It borrows from the industrial shed roof, and applies it in a novel way. The new building uses a similar strategy, applying a silhouette that is clear, but complementary to the existing building. While the existing building floor plan is horizontally organized, the new building will be vertically organized. This vertical organisation can be seen in section, with its transparent public functions on the lower levels of the Foyer to the south, its administration block to the north, and the exhibition spaces on the solid upper levels above. The transparent public spaces are fully glazed, and the opaque facade of the exhibition rooms above is constructed of cutting edge insulating concrete, drawing inspiration from the development of concrete technology seen in modernist architecture, and its evolution since the in 1920’s.

The Bauhaus ensemble is accessed with multiple entrances. The entrance to the Archiv is from the Klingelhöfer Strasse, offering an arrival forecourt at street level with direct access to the Bauhaus shop, the entrance Foyer, and the ramp to the existing building. An alternative main entrance is accessed from the Forum, activating the canal with a kiosk, cafe, and urban square. The two detached objects will both perform different functions; the new construction will be for exhibition, and the existing for events. For the visitors of the buildings, the existing Gropius ramp will become a covered connection for the two entrance foyers, connecting both buildings and protecting the visitor from the elements.

All requirements needed for flexible exhibition spaces are provided in the three floors of closed ‘containers’ above the Foyer. The temporary and special exhibition spaces are located on the lowermost exhibition level and can be either connected to the permanent exhibition above, or act independently. All three levels are interconnected with a daylit staircase, complete with large sliding doors, allowing for tailored curration of the exhibition spaces. The rooms vary in size and format, but all are free in plan, and have a high floor to ceiling height, allowing for maximal flexibility and spatial configurations. The materiality of the exhibitions rooms are discreet, with plaster walls and industrial wooden flooring, placing the objects at the forefront of the space.