Le déjeuner sur l´herbe
To build between Mies and Scharoun is not the only challenge of the M20 competition. It is rather the opportunity to envision the Kulturforum puzzle as a whole by the careful design of its central vacant piece. In fact, introducing a 27.000 m2 program on this vacant plot will lastingly impact the image of this many-faced quartier. It is hence a unique chance to transform the perception of the Kulturforum in Berlin and reconnect the cultural to the daily, the monumental to the common, the artificial to the natural. To give a new identity to this “urban landscape”: a place to spend time, bustling again with the life it once knew and this at any time of the day or the year.
The M20 is envisioned around an active ground floor, which consolidates the different functions and collections as a whole around a new place at the scale of the Kulturforum: a public square dedicated to art. This 3.000 m2 extra-program space becomes a natural extension for the museum buildings surrounding it, but also a new stage for public art and performances held by M20. It also hosts cultural events from the surrounding institutions and the city of Berlin: an evening concert from the Philarmonie or a Freiluftkino projection cycle in the summer.
Der große Außen/
The Kulturplatz expands beyond the site limits into a vast circular lawn, adding a 7.000 m2 simple yet lacking quality to the Kulturforum recognizable at the scale of the city. This urban garden has the potential to become a new destination for Berliners like Mauerpark or Tempelhof, reconnecting by a grandiose outdoor space Tiergarten, Landwerhkanal, Postdamerplatz and the architectural icons of the Kulturforum. Also intended as a hang-out for neighbors and visitors, the grass surface gathers the M20 collection of buildings, the large Platane, Matthäikirch and its water forecourt into one open landscape to experience art, meet and wander.
À la carte/
The 8.000 m2 permanent collection of M20 hence lies under the grass surface on one single floor connected by enfilade to the Neue Nationalgalerie exhibition podium. The various art rooms and resting courtyards are composed in a corridor-less plan offering multiple connections from simple passage to large vistas across the entire building. The central 2.000 m2 foyer offers an à la carte experience of the museum: from this monumental space, visitors can preview the entire collection and decide for the 1900-2000 tour or specific visits like Sammlung Marx. Intended as a part of the exhibition layout, the M20 foyer is connected to the city and the Kulturplatz by a diving 21m hall working as main access and signal along Potsdamerstraße.
Galerie der Lebenden /
The foyer also connects visitors to the overground buildings displaying the 7.000 m2 ever-changing part of the program. Five pavilion-like buildings at the scale of the neighboring Matthäikirch hence arise from the grass surface. The thin shelve-like ‘Workshop Tower’ facing both Kulturplatz and Matthäikirchplatz, stacking delivery, media and events on the park, the 10m high Plattform Marzona, restoration, scientific administration, and a 600 m2 rooftop terrace for museum staff or specific events. The airy space frame volume containing the temporary exhibition above the vertical entrance hall. The education and mediation greenhouse, activating Scharounplatz and offering a new natural environment for creation. The Kulturforum visitor center wrapped around the tree emerging from the collection courtyard. The slightly sunken Gastronomie pavilion with its podium-like terrace overlooking the lawn and preserving the view from the Neue Nationalgalerie.
Expanding the museum activity out of its white walls, these five tips of the M20 are linked by a central path offering to the visitor a promenade architecturale among the garden and the city.
By moving the permanent collection and the depot underground, only 1/4th of the museum program is added to the cityscape. This emerging part displays the ever-changing activity of M20 to the Kulturplatz.
The nine layers of staggered rooms composing the permanent collection layout merge a large range of singular spaces - from the 60 m2 rooms to the 800 m2 Marx collection - into an intense heterotopic experience. Multiple types of relations can be introduced in this structure, from single passages to large enfilades across the entire building, leading to the Neue Nationalgalerie or the resting courtyards.
The heterogeneous public space of the Kulturforum is unified by a continuous paved surface, regulating fluxes and circulation. Natural systems are re-introduced on this wide common background: the main lawn, the double alignment of trees connecting the site to Tiergarten, the collection of singular trees across Potsdammerstrasse and Matthäikirch water forecourt. The great lawn landscape carries the ambition of the new M20 to include the public space as part of its own collection.
The M20 emerges as a collection of five singular buildings laying on the grass. This spread yet unified ensemble is wrapped with a common soft mesh facade. Each volume is slightly characterised by a variation of facade density, enhanced by the program and scale of spaces it contains. This language creates a new layer of relations in the Kulturforum, overlaying the abstraction of Scharoun volumes to the Miesian structural order in a shadow play revealed by the changing light.