Museum of Contemporary Art (Hamburger Bahnhof)

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Museum of Contemporary Art (Hamburger Bahnhof)

Museum of Contemporary Art (Hamburger Bahnhof) 
Berlin, Germany

The former Hamburger Bahnhof railway station, which was built in the late classical style between 1845 and 1847, belongs to the first generation of this type of building in Berlin. It was shut down in 1884 and, after the iron and glass structure of the platform hall had been removed, was used only for residential and administrative purposes. In 1904-1906, it was converted into a transport and engineering museum. The area formerly occupied by the platform hall was replaced by a modern iron binder structure that was used as an exhibition hall for a collection of the history of the railway technology. In 1912 and 1914 15, two additional wings were built to extend the exhibition space; they form a cour d'honneur with the main building of the former station.

In the course of the conversion by Berlin architect Josef Paul Kleihues to a museum of contemporary art, the central hall and the other buildings have been completely restructured and altered. At the core of the new buildings are two halls that replace the solid side buildings that used to frame the platform hall and then the exhibition hall. The east hall was completed first in 1996. These new side halls take up the length of the exhibition hall and, at the same time, mark the end of the original platform hall, against which they are placed in spatial terms. The twin shell roof structure is barrel vaulted inside the hall space in such a way that the cross section of the hall interior is determined geometrically by a square and circle inscribed within it.

In contrast with the interior wall, which is conceived by Kleihues as a homogeneous surface without visible seams, the exterior wall of the new hall is differentiated in structure, determined by monotactic vertical steel supports on a stone base clad in Crailsheim shell lime stone. The steel supports are attached to the steel frame on the wall by steel brackets, and are an integral part of the wall structure. Rather like "buttresses", they distribute the forces from the wall and ceiling construction outwards.


10 photos and 1 drawing

Building Activity

  • robwhisson
    robwhisson updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via
  • Nadezhda Nikolova
    Nadezhda Nikolova updated
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