Jewish Museum Berlin Expansion, Building Extension, Architect, Design, News
Jewish Museum Berlin Extension
Juedisches Museum: Daniel Libeskind Architecture, Berlin, Germany
5 May 2009
Jewish Museum Berlin Expansion
STUDIO DANIEL LIBESKIND TO DESIGN JEWISH MUSEUM BERLIN EXPANSION TO DEVELOP INTO THE CENTRAL FLOWER MARKET HALL
Senate Approval Enables Education and Research To be Housed Under One Roof
Jewish Museum Berlin Expansion
Design: Daniel Libeskind Architects
Berlin, Germany – The Jewish Museum Berlin’s long desire to expand will now become a reality. The Museum has been granted its much-needed expansion into the area on the opposite side of the road which currently houses Berlin’s Central Flower Market. The space provided by the expansion into the market hall will satisfy the Museum’s urgent need for additional room for educational programs, the archives, the library, and research facilities.
André Schmitz, State Secretary for Cultural Affairs in Berlin, has approved the project, ensuring that the state of Berlin will hand over the use and management of the entire hall to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The expansion has become necessary due to the growth of the education and research areas at the Jewish Museum Berlin. The purpose of the new building is to bring the education department, the archive, and the library under one roof, thus creating a synergy between scientific research and educational work. Direct access to information, more room for an ideas exchange, transfer of knowledge, and encounters – the new location will ensure all these and more. The objective is to establish, in Berlin, one of the most important research and education centers on the history and culture of German-speaking Jewry.
The existing building designed by architect Bruno Grimmek between 1962 and 1965 will not be demolished, but merely modified to suit the requirements of the Jewish Museum Berlin. Construction work can begin in 2010 when the approximately 6,000 m² hall will be vacated by the Berlin Central Market, which will move to the Beusselstrasse.
MORE ABOUT THE EXPANSION:
Increasing Demand for the JMB’s Educational Programs
Since the opening of the Jewish Museum Berlin in 2001, its educational work has more than doubled. In addition to the roughly 7,000 guided tours each year, the Museum holds around 300 educational events such as training courses, seminars for students, vacation programs, workshops on special exhibitions and Jewish festivals, workshops about the archive featuring talks with witnesses, theater workshops, programs against anti-Semitism, project days, and training courses for teachers. Over 100,000 visitors per year come to these events. Furthermore, at least 10 times a year the Jewish Museum Berlin hosts large-scale educational events with up to 300 school pupils, for example as part of international youth meetings or commemoration days for schools such as the Anne Frank School.
This diverse range of activities and the increase in demand, particularly where whole-day activities are concerned, has resulted in a space shortage that will be solved with the expansion into the Central Flower Market hall. It will enable more events to be held at the same time and a clearer representation of findings. More space will also be available for educational work on a theme the Museum intends to bring into sharper focus: Integration, understanding, and tolerance in a multiethnic society. Moreover, the spatial proximity of the archives, library, seminar rooms, workshops, and multimedia activities will ensure more efficient logistics in the organization of events. Last but not least, it will take the pressure off the flow of visitors into the Old Building and the Libeskind Building, which are frequented by more than 750,000 people a year visiting the permanent and special exhibitions.
Growing Archives and Intensification of Scientific Research
The archival holdings of the Jewish Museum Berlin have likewise more than doubled since its opening. Further growth is expected in the near and mid-term future, since the last generation of Holocaust survivors is passing away. The Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB) has the task of conserving this heritage by continuously adding to its collections. Furthermore, the archive would like to expand its holdings on postwar history of Jews in Germany.
In addition, there are archives based in German-speaking Jewry housed at the JMB. Since 2001, the holdings of the Leo Baeck Institute New York Archive have quadrupled since 2001. The Jewish Museum Berlin opened a dependency of the Wiener Library London in 2008. In cooperation with the British partners, the holdings, which have so far not been inventoried, are to be made accessible at the JMB.
The number of users has also risen appreciably: The holdings of the Jewish Museum Berlin, the Leo Baeck Archive, and the Wiener Library are in international demand. Inquiries from researchers come not only from Europe, but also from other parts of the world such as Israel, USA, and Canada. The extension will not only ensure improved conditions for using the materials, but will also provide more space for collaboration with universities and other scientific institutions – an area that is to receive sharper focus. Alongside a fellowship program, more scientific events such as conferences, meetings, and lectures are planned.
Library Expansion and Improved Conditions for Users
The library at the Jewish Museum Berlin will also move into the extension. Initially planned as a reference library for employees, it originally housed around 70,000 media and has been used as a specialist reference library since 2001. The holdings have increased significantly in the past 10 years. As well as literature on German-Jewish history, culture, literature, music, art, and other humanistic sections, it also boasts a historical collection where the oldest book dates back to the 14th century. In 2005, the library began to collect audiovisual materials and thus became a media center.
Hidden away at the back of the Libeskind Building, the current library is not in a part of the Museum to which the public has free access. Therefore prior notification is required of its visitors, who are then accompanied by staff to and from the reading room. In the new building on the opposite side of the Lindenstrasse, the library rooms will be freely accessible making use of them easier and thus more attractive.
Jewish Museum Berlin Expansion architect : Daniel Libeskind
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photograph © Andrew McRae
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