Posts Tagged ‘Humboldt Box’

Berlin’s Humboldt Box

Monday, June 27th, 2016

The Humboldt Box in Berlin is a temporary information center and exhibition space for the Humboldt Forum reconstruction project. The Forum will occupy the site of the former Berliner Stadtschloss (Berlin City Palace), http://www.walled-in-berlin.com/j-elke-ertle/berliner-stadtschloss-to-humboldt-forum/, which gave way to the Palast der Republik (Palace of the Republic) in the 1970’s. http://www.walled-in-berlin.com/j-elke-ertle/the-palast-der-republik-lives-on/. Both edifices were eventually razed for various reasons.

The reconstructed City Palace – renamed Humboldt Forum – will serve as a cultural center. Its exterior will resemble the former Stadtschloss; its interior will be modern. An extension of Berlin’s State Museums and Humboldt University, the Humboldt Forum is currently under construction with an anticipated completion date of 2019. Upon completion of the Forum, the Humboldt Box will be dismantled.

Why the Humboldt Box?

The idea of the Humboldt Box is based on a similar structure that once stood at the Potsdamer Platz when that area underwent extensive construction. That structure was called the “Info Box.” Its purpose was to raise public awareness of the Potsdamer-Platz-project. The plan succeeded and the Info Box attracted close to  nine million visitors. Similarly, the Humboldt Box, which opened in 2011, now ranks among the city’s top attractions.

What is on Display in the Humboldt Box?

Spread across 32,000 feet and five floors are a number of exhibition and event spaces, a video screening area, a gift shop, a restaurant and large terraces overlooking the construction site and the central city.

On the first floor, the Stiftung Berliner Schloss-Humboldt Forum, (Foundation Berlin Palace-Humboldtforum) outlines the history of the site and the plans for its development. Also highlighted is the hi-tech construction technology used in the project. A tremendously detailed, large-scale model of “Berlin around 1900” is on display. It was created and donated by Horst Duehring.

Model of "Berlin around 1900" on display at the Humboldt Box. The model was created and donated by Horst Duehring. Photo © J. Elke Ertle, April 2016, www.walled-in-berlin.com

Model of “Berlin around 1900” on display at the Humboldt Box. The model was created and donated by Horst Duehring. Photo © J. Elke Ertle, April 2016, www.walled-in-berlin.com

On the second and third floors, the Ethnological Museum, the Museum for Asian Art and the Humboldt University outline their plans for the Forum and exhibit part of their collections.

The fourth floor is reserved for private events.

On the fifth floor visitors can relax in the restaurant while taking in the panoramic view across the construction site and Museum Island. http://www.walled-in-berlin.com/j-elke-ertle/berlins-museum-island/

 

For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, “Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom,” click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of http://www.walled-in-berlin.com

 

Berliner Stadtschloss to Humboldt Forum

Monday, June 13th, 2016

The Berliner Stadtschloss (Berlin City Palace) dates back to 1443. It was the residence of the Margraves of Brandenburg, Prussian Kings and German Emperors. More than 60 years after its demolition, the exterior of the Berliner Stadtschloss is now being reconstructed in all its former grandeur. Called not Stadtschloss but “Humboldt Forum,” the building is scheduled to open in 2019 and will serve as Berlin’s new cultural center.

Berliner Stadtschloss - now Humboldt Forum - under construction in April 2016, photo © J. Elke Ertle, www.walled-in-berlin.com

Berliner Stadtschloss – now Humboldt Forum – under construction in April 2016, photo © J. Elke Ertle, www.walled-in-berlin.com

Location of the Berliner Stadtschloss

The Berliner Stadtschloss, Germany’s equivalent of Buckingham Palace, was located at the Schlossplatz in the historical core of Berlin, opposite the Lustgarten and the Berlin cathedral. Following the division of Berlin http://www.walled-in-berlin.com/j-elke-ertle/berlin-blockade-and-the-Cold-War/ the City Palace ended up in the Soviet sector of the city.

History of the Berliner Stadtschloss

At the turn of the 18th century, Frederick III – Elector of Brandenburg and later Prussia’s first King – chose architect and sculptor Andreas Schlueter to turn the existing 15th century medieval castle into a majestic City Palace. Toward the end of World War II, the grand structure was seriously damaged. Although repair was possible, the socialist regime of East Germany preferred to divest itself of this symbol of Prussian imperialism. In 1950, therefore, the Berliner Stadtschloss was demolished. In 1976 a new and contemporary edifice rose in its place, the Palace of the Republic (Palast der Republik). http://www.walled-in-berlin.com/j-elke-ertle/the-palast-der-republik-lives-on/

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was discovered that the Palace of the Republic contained 5,000 tons of asbestos. In 2008, it shared the fate of the royal residence, and the Palace of the Republic – palace for the people – was also demolished. Following countless fierce debates over what should happen to the now empty site, the parliament of reunited Germany decided to reconstruct the City Palace. However, only the original three baroque façades of the old Berliner Stadtschloss facing north, west, and south will be reconstructed. The Renaissance front facing east will be more contemporary because there is insufficient documentation relative to its original appearance.

Humboldt Forum

Since Germany hasn’t had a monarchy for almost 100 years, the newly reconstructed Berliner Stadtschloss will not serve as a royal residence. Instead, it will be a museum and a venue for public events and exhibitions. Its name is a reference to the legacy of the brothers Alexander von Humboldt (the explorer) and Wilhelm (the diplomat). At the start of the 19th century, the Humboldt brothers did groundbreaking work in researching foreign cultures. The Humboldt Forum will house non-European exhibits and arts to complement nearby Museum Island http://www.walled-in-berlin.com/j-elke-ertle/berlins-museum-island/, which houses European history. The various collections will be presented and interpreted together as part of a shared cultural heritage.

 

For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, “Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom,” click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of http://www.walled-in-berlin.com