Dresden Military History Museum: Militärhistorisches Museum

Military History Museum Dresden, Architect, Daniel Libeskind Building, German Bundeswehr Project

New Dresden Architecture : Military History Museum

Dresden Militärhistorisches Museum, Germany – design by Daniel Libeskind, architect

page updated 10 Sep 2016 ; 14 Feb 2012

Dresden Military History Museum

Design: Daniel Libeskind, architect

Dresden Military History Museum building
photo © Bitter Bredt

Military History Museum Dresden, Germany

The redesigned Dresden Museum of Military History is now the official central museum of the German Armed Forces. It will house an exhibition area of roughly 21,000 square feet, making it Germany’s largest museum.

Dresden Military History Museum
photo © Bitter Bredt

The armory was built from 1873 –1876 and became a museum in 1897. Since its 1897 founding, the Dresden Museum of Military History has been a Saxon armory and museum, a Nazi museum, a Soviet museum and an East German museum.

Militärhistorisches Museum Dresden
photo © Hufton+Crow Photography

Today it is the military history museum of a unified and democratic Germany, its location outside the historic center of Dresden having allowed the building to survive the allied bombing campaign at the end of World War II.

Militärhistorisches Museum Dresden
photograph © Hufton+Crow Photography

In 1989, unsure how the museum would fit into a newly unified German state, the government decided to shut it down. By 2001 feelings had shifted and an architectural competition was held for an extension that would facilitate a reconsideration of the way we think about war.

Militärhistorisches Museum Dresden
photo © Hufton+Crow Photography

Daniel Libeskind’s winning design boldly interrupts the original building’s symmetry. The extension, a massive, five-story 14,500-ton wedge of concrete and steel, cuts through the 135-year-old former arsenal’s structural order.

Militärhistorisches Museum Dresden
photo © Hufton+Crow Photography

A 82-foot high viewing platform (the highest point of the wedge is 98 feet) provides breathtaking views of modern Dresden while pointing towards the exact area where the fire bombing of Dresden began, creating a dramatic space for reflection.

Military History Museum Dresden Dresden Military History Museum Dresden Militärhistorisches Museum Dresden Militärhistorisches Museum
photos © Hufton+Crow Photography

The new façade’s openness and transparency contrasts with the opacity and rigidity of the existing building. The latter represents the severity of the authoritarian past while the former reflects the openness of the democratic society in which it has been reimagined. The interplay between these perspectives forms the character of the new Military History Museum Inside, in the original, columned part of the building, German’s military history is presented in chronological order. But now it is complemented, in the new wide-open spaces of the five-story wedge, by new exhibition areas with a new focus on thematic consideration of the societal forces and human impulses that create a culture of violence.

Military History Museum Dresden Dresden Military History Museum Dresden Militärhistorisches Museum Dresden Militärhistorisches Museum
photos © Hufton+Crow Photography

Dresden Militärhistorisches Museum images / information from Studio Daniel Libeskind

Previously:

Dresden Military History Museum

Design: Daniel Libeskind

The Dresden Military History Museum is due to complete Oct 2011

Military History Museum Dresden Dresden Military History Museum

TOPPING OUT CEREMONY FOR DRESDEN’S MILITARY HISTORY MUSEUM

Daniel Libeskind On Hand to Celebrate Dresden’s Largest Museum Planned for 2010

Dresden, Germany (October 6, 2008) – Today the Daniel Libeskind-designed Military History Museum celebrated its topping out ceremony in Dresden, Germany. There to admire the completion of the museum’s external structure with the customary wreath were architect Daniel Libeskind, German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung and Minister of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich.

Dresden Militärhistorisches Museum Dresden History Museum Dresden Military Museum
photos © Lubic & Woerlein Gmbh

Set to open in 2010, the Military History Museum will become the official central museum of the German Armed Forces and will house an exhibition area amounting to around 20,000 square meters, becoming Dresden’s largest museum.

Dresden Museum Militärhistorisches Museum Militärhistorisches Museum Dresden
images © Studio Daniel Libeskind

The design of the Military History Museum features an architectural incision into the old German arsenal building, which sits on the northern outskirts of Dresden. This vast wedge-shaped structure made of concrete, steel and glass projects from the old Neo-Classical building, pointing like an arrow towards the old city center. The wedge cuts through the structural order of the arsenal, giving the museum a place for reflection about organized conflict and violence. This creates an objective view to the continuity of military conflicts and opens up vistas to central anthropological questioning.

Military History Museum Dresden Military History Museum Military History Museum Germany
images © Studio Daniel Libeskind

Through the examination of not only the governmental but also the social implementation of the history of violence, the Museum details German military history and the military history of the German Democratic Republic, through collections of tin soldiers; tanks, uniforms, weapons of relations and the first German U-boot. The Military History Museum is about those who went into the war and those who have remained at home; people of different eras; people of different generations – it is about the human being. It approaches people of all ages and interests, from all Dresdeners to visitors abroad. The new extension gives a fundamental re-orientation to the existing building. It opens up the view to the historical center of Dresden and soars above the roof of the existing building, showing the modernization to the outside world while offering the opportunity to experience the opening to the city.

Military History Museum Dresden Military History Museum Dresden Military History Museum Dresden
pictures © Studio Daniel Libeskind

The new façade is being conceived against the background of the existing arsenal building, in response and in contrast to it. The openness and transparency of the new façade stands against the opacity and solidity of the old façade. As one represents the severity of the authoritarian past in which it was built, the other reflects the openness of a democratic society and the changed role of its military. “It is a dialogue between old and new,” said Libeskind, referring to this inherent conflict in the building. In the new elevation of the Museum both are visible at the same time and one through the other. This correlation corresponds to the juxtaposition of new and old in the building’s interior: The rigid column grid of the old Arsenal is contrasted with a new column free space. The interplay of both together forms the character of the new Military History Museum.

Military History Museum Dresden Military History Museum Dresden
photos © Lubic & Woerlein Gmbh

Dresden Military History Museum images / information from Studio Daniel Libeskind Oct 2008

Dresden Military History Museum
photo © Studio Daniel Libeskind

Dresden Militärhistorisches Museum architect : Daniel Libeskind

Address: Olbrichtpl. 2, 01099 Dresden, Germany
Phone: +49 351 8232759


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Dresden Militärhistorisches Museum architects : Studio Daniel Libeskind

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Website: Bundeswehr Military History Museum Dresden

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Dresden Military History Museum Building

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