Design of open space around the Kulturforum


Important cultural institutions are concentrated around the Kulturforum between Potsdamer Platz and Reichpietschufer, an area designed to function and be perceived as an ensemble. One key to restoring its functions is the planning of the Kulturforum’s open spaces.

Major cultural institutions and museums such as the Berlin Philharmonie, the Staatsbibliothek (state library), the Ibero-Amerikanische Institut (Ibero-American Institute), Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts), Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings), Kunstbibliothek (art library), the staatliche Institut für Musikforschung and Musikinstrumentenmuseum (State Institute for Music Research and Musical Instrument Museum), the Neue Nationalgalerie and Gemäldegalerie are concentrated around the Kulturforum between Potsdamer Platz and Reichpietschufer. In coming years, a new gallery for 20th century art will also be built here.

The new design will group individual exhibition centres and cultural institutions together, highlighting their unity as an ensemble, and transform the open space around them into a space worthy of those cultural institutions. One key aspect of these efforts is the planning of the open space, based on a design by the Valentien+Valentien firm (Weßling), the firm of landscape architects and urban planners that won a design and implementation competition to redesign the Kulturforum in 1998. Their design was revised in 2009-10 in an intensive workshop process together with those living and working in and around the Kulturforum, the Mitte district authority and the public, and has been gradually implemented since 2013. The Grün Berlin Stiftung was commissioned by the Land Berlin to take on the client function and project management during implementation of the revised plans.

The plan reorganises the Kulturforum, provides important visual axes and paths between cultural institutions and creates a new orientation and links to nearby Potsdamer Platz, connecting Berlin’s former East and West sectors. It will help visitors orient themselves, make entrances easier to find, link sub-spaces with a consistent design language and create spaces for lingering and for open air events. Essential tourism infrastructure in the form of a visitors’ centre comprising a central contact and information point and a guidance system is also planned.

The new design for the open spaces around the Kulturforum will be built in 2 construction stages or implementation phases. Its northern area (implementation phase 1) covers the area around the Philharmonie and Kammermusiksaal, reconstruction of Herbert-von-Karajan Strasse and refurbishment of the access to the Piazzetta. The southern area (implementation phase 2) is the space around Matthäikirchplatz and connections to the future gallery of 20th century art. This phase will be implemented when the location, functional integration and design of the planned gallery have been finally determined.

Construction work on the area around the Philharmonie began in October 2015 and is scheduled for completion by July 2016. During this period safety measures and analyses of the steps leading to the Piazzetta will also be carried out. The area around the T4 Memorial and information point commemorating those murdered in the Nazi’s “euthanasia” programme has already been completed and was opened in September 2014.

Project data

Zuständigkeit Grün Berlin:
Project development Grün Berlin Foundation
Project and construction management Grün Berlin Foundation
Bauherr: Grün Berlin Stiftung for the Land Berlin
Entwurf/Planung: Valentien+Valentien, Weßling (master plan for the Kulturforum and construction planning for open air sections Lph 2-5) / Arbeitsgemeinschaft Ahner/Brehm – SV Brehm, Königs Wusterhausen (construction planning for open air sections Lph. 6-9) / Hoffmann-Leichter, Berlin (construction planning of traffic installations) / Müller-Kalchreuth, Berlin (construction planning of civil engineering structures) / IfE Grothe, Berlin (specialist planning of TA electro-technical systems)
Lage: Mitte district, Tiergarten section, along Potsdamer Strasse, Tiergartenstrasse, Herbert-von-Karajan-Strasse, Scharounstrasse and Matthäikirchplatz
Größe: approx. 4.2 hectares
Finanzierung: Pro rata funding from the “Improving regional business structures” (GRW) common task programme, Land Berlin and the Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment
Eröffnung: Implementation phase 1 scheduled to open in 2018
A new open area concept for the most important cultural institutions