2012/01/24

Martin-Gropius-Bau

Sunday was cold, windy and rainy, The Fearsome Three, and it would have been such a perfect day to stay inside, cuddle up on the sofa and watch old movies. 

But, hey, life is not all guns'n'roses, huh? 

So I went outside to get an inside scoop on the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin Kreuzberg.





Until 1989 the Martin-Gropius-Bau, one of the world's leading exhibition halls, was located at the Berlin Wall. 
Martin-Gropius-Bau with remnants of Berlin Wall
Martin-Gropius-Bau
 Formerly housing the Museum of Decorative Arts, the building was errected in Renaissance style by the architects Martin Gropius – a great uncle of the famous BAUHAUS architect – and Heino Schmieden. Allegoric mosaics from different eras as well as coats of Arms of German Länder (federal states) adorn the outer walls.




Seeking shelter under the canopy of the opposite House of Representatives where I could get a good view and overall picture of the Martin-Gropius-Bau, I immediately drew the suspicion of the eye of the law on duty who took a few hesitating steps into my direction, but then surrendered to my most winning smile and twinkling eye.



















Watch details in video:



As soon as I entered the Martin-Gropius-Bau a very charming lady custodian approached me and asked, if I knew who Martin Gropius were, as many people confuse him with his great-nephew Walter and subsequently wonder about the non-BAUHAUSish architecture of the building.
Martin-Gropius-Bau skylight view from ground floor
The following video shows the skylight topview:



The building's massive square footprint (70 x 70 m) is split by an atrium to draw natural light to every floor during daytime. Sadly the atrium was closed during my visit, but you can get an impression on this website.
Martin-Gropius-Bau footprint

Inaugurated in 1881 and housing the Museum of Pre- and Early History and the East Asian Art Collection after World War I, the building was severely damaged during the final weeks of World War II.

Only as recently as 1966 the building was included under a preservation order. Restoration work began in 1978 under the direction of Winnetou Kampmann and Ute Westström. It was then named after Martin Gropius who had vigorously supported the reconstruction (Schmieden had died aged 78 in 1913).

Today, the building is globally known as a venue for temporary exhibitions of international standing.


Berliner Festspiele

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