The jury of the international competition has argued with following textes their decission for selecting the winners of the competition.
1. Prize Francesco Stella, Vicenza
This design manages the urban integration of the recon¬structed castle as the Humbolt-Forum in a self-evident manner: to the south and west with the reclamation of the historic castle square and the Schlossfreiheit, to the eastern side with the creation of further green spaces along the Spree with pathways for pedestrians and cyclists. With the creation of loggias and a terrace in the so-called Belvedere an additi¬onal public open space is created, orientated towards the Spree.
The competition specifications for the reconstruction of the historic stereometry are fulfilled. With a high degree of self-evidence, this work manages to reconstruct the Schlüter façades, as well as the historic cupola without any compro¬mising. All facades, including the non-reconstructed inner facades of the Eosander courtyard, are solidly reconstructed with a depth of one metre. The building is ideally accessible from almost all sides, with some restrictions on the eastern side. Of the six portals, three portals (II, III and IV) are to be structurally reconstructed as spaces. The three other portals (I, V and VI) are represented on the façade.
Critically, the Schlüter courtyard is not publically accessible through portals I and V as might be expected, but only in¬directtly through portals II and IV via a narrow passageway.
With the idea of a “castle forum”, as the author calls it, a new urban space is created, aligned along a north-south direction. The jury praises this creation of space as an independent quality in addition to the Schlüter courtyard. Portal III is represented as being the convincing main entrance and main access to the public space in the Humboldt-Forum.
The jury controversially discusses the new eastern end of the building, identified as the Belvedere in its function as housing loggias and stairwells. It is to be acknowledged that the façade in its discourse with the Spree pleasantly draws back to the advantage of the historic Schlüter façade. It is discussed whether the elevation, which is a façade which appears to the distance of the Marx-Engels Forum, has enough architectural expression and whether in this part of the building spatial and amenity values can be successfully created on such a narrow floor space.
Through the composition of new structures, which are similar in the interior allocation of floors to the reconstructions, the necessary space above all in the covered Eosander courtyard is created.
The relation of the new components to the principles of historical architecture, to their dialectic of “wall” and “column” is received positively. The new components are to be constructed from prefabricated exposed concrete, using white cement and a “surface made from light-yellow sandstone”. Its planning and realisation must be carried out to the highest level of quality.
A not insignificant reorganisation of the circulation paths and thereby reinterpretation of the historic ground plan is some¬what opposed to the clarity and functionality of the suggested ground plans and the courtyard spaces.
Special prize Kühn Malvezzi Architects, Berlin
3. prize – Prof. Kollhoff Generalplanungs GmbH, Berlin
The idea behind this work is the careful reconstruction of the portals and the Schlüter courtyard with adjoining rooms on the one hand and the free design of the public space and the exhibition rooms on the other hand. Both areas are covered by the reconstructed castle façade to make an exterior unity, but however are of highly different spatial qualities.
The careful reconstruction of the Schlüter courtyard and the adjoining rooms has been acknowledged by the jury. Here, the “festive urban space” envisaged by the designer can be generated.
In contrast, the public space rather gives the impression of a cinema. The quality expected in the brief of a “centre for numerous cultural experiences” and a “place of education and for communicating knowledge” can hardly be combined with this appearance. The uniting quality of the public space has been disregarded in this design:
The auditorium can only be reached by a separate entrance from the Schlüter courtyard or via long basement corridors. The exhibition rooms above the public space are in conflict with the different climatic requirements of the exhibitions. The adjoining areas are missing special qualities.
The library is also divided in its use by stairwells and exhibition spaces.
The lapidarium is isolated and housed in a new tower building to the north east of the castle.
Some of the functional deficiencies are the consequence of the reconstruction of room sequences in the area of the Schlüter courtyard. However, other areas miss being carefully treated in a comparable manner.
The concept ensures the urbanistic reconstruction and design of the urban spaces in all areas. The castle square receives its historic design. The Spree promenade remains open, with limited use via in part only narrow steps.
The castle garden is regained between the castle square and the Spree.
Alltogether the project shows high quality in the careful recon¬struction and severe deficiencies in the functions and room sequences. However, a coherent overall concept is missing.
3. prize – Kleihues + Kleihues Gesellschaft v. Architekten, Berlin
The design develops on the historic ground plan of the castle. The required thoroughfare in a north-south direction is present as is the west-east circulation via portal III and on the Spree side. Portals II and IV act as the main entrance.
The re-erection of the required three baroque facades is envisaged, however as a double-layered construction, firstly with an interim façade made from fibre cement. The envisa¬ged cupola was controversially discussed by the jury with regard to the heightened drum and the modern design and was looked upon as being rather inappropriate.
The eastern façade is designed with windows, with size of the openings being out of scales with the historic façades. The design of the eastern façade of the central wing of the Schlütercourtyard stands out as being over-dimensional.
The public space is conveniently housed in the ground and basement floors, but in its form, which is divided into small sections and heavily dissected, neither ensures a clear thoroughfare nor the desired generous and welcoming gesture. Access is on the basement floor from the Spree side and from portal III via steps to the basement. The circulation concept is noticeable for its many stairs and escalators and appears little stringent. Furthermore, there is no consistent barrier-free access.
The light wells for the basement of the public space clearly restrict movement in the Schlüterhof courtyard and will hardly be able to fulfil their purpose as “gardens of the continents”.
The space allocation plan has been quantitatively fulfilled; however qualitative criteria such as room heights and room structures are to be critically evaluated. The exhibition spaces in part receive too little daylight and are too narrow.
The ZLB is primarily housed on one floor in the Spree wing and with sections in the Apothecary wing. The tunnel connec¬tion required by the ZLB to the royal stables is envisaged.
3. prize – Prof. Christoph Mäckler Architekten, Frankfurt am Main
The work is convincing primarily through a high coherence of room layouts, room proportions and the reconstruction of the Schlüter façade. The interplay of new usage, the appropriate façades and the former room layouts has largely been achieved.
The reconstruction of some stairways and numerous historic interiors including the art chamber in its original place is to be highlighted in particular. The work even goes a step further: the former Spree wing which was divided up into rather small sections and in part had a mediaeval structure also finds its structural equivalent in the use of rather small sections for administration and secondary operations, which are to be housed there.
This so-called following of the historic trail is however paid for by drastic deficiencies. As large-scale uses can hardly be inte¬grated into the structure of the former castle, the exhibition spaces as well as the ZLB are displaced to the basement. Although such a solution is not unthinkable, the completely insufficient illumination of the ZLB has to be criticised. Guiding of museum visitors is not possible in this way.
The entrance is in the Eosander courtyard via the central wing to the basement into the large halls, which almost end as cul-de-sacs, as continuing the way round is via side stairs and a lift to the upper floors.
The lighting of these rooms via flat skylights in the Eosander courtyard appears to be unpractical.
However, the reconstruction of the Eosander and Schlüter courtyards as both public and accessible spaces, which closely link the Humboldt-Forum to the urban space, is acknowledged. The agora is easily accessible from the Eosanderhof, but unfortunately is spread across other spaces in the basement.
Architecturally, the design is also close to the historical language in its non-reconstructed facades. In the Schlüter courtyard this further development is not convincing and seems too schematic. The slit-like perforation of the façades in the Eosanderhof and the Apothecary wing were not received particularly well. The highly animated and small-structured interpretation of the Spree wing was controversially discussed by the jury and can hardly meet the needs of the new urban situation.
Altogether, this is a work which looks for a high degree of agreement from the usage and the structure of the former castle, but which threatens to fail in this task through its functional and interior sequences.
3rd prize – Eccheli e Campagnola Architetti, I – Verona in Arbeitsgemeinschaft
mit Caja e Malcovati, I – Milano
The designers suggest a design full of references within the specified framework: the parts which did not originally belong to the building, such as the citation of the brick exteriors walls of Schinkel’s Neue Wache or the design by Mies van der Rohe for the Reichsbank, as well as the reconstruction of compo¬nents not required by the project sponsors, such as the Erasmus Chapel, the House of the Duchess and the Braun¬schweig´sche Galerie are all intelligently cited. However the design does not disintegrate into discretionarily reconstructed or cited individual sections: the organising principle of the building is, by means of voluminous brick walls, to accentuate the seams between the different components. The three differ¬ent parts (Eosander and Schlüter courtyards and the renaiss¬ance buildings) are held together through the surrounding exhibition halls.
The portals I, V and VI plus their stairwells are to be recon¬structed. However, the isolation of portals II and IV in a type of artificial ruin, a part of the Spree wing (Braunschweig´sche Galerie) and the reflection of portal VI in the Schlüterhof courtyard, which is merely superimposed on the façade instead of the old lateral building, all appear problematic.
The cupola also appears as if it had just been destroyed and refers to the inner cupola of Berlin Cathedral under the skeleton of the exterior cupola, which was exposed after 1944. In this way the destruction of the castle and its belated reconstruction may be perceptible by the observer.
The eastern façade appears annoyingly monumental though its three “Mies-style beams”, at this point the work is archeo¬logically constructed and the Spree promenade is blocked without reason. The retention of the historic monuments on the ground under the west wing is evaluated positively.
Admittedly the references in the design were bought with considerable functional problems: a proper public space is missing, in its place there is a narrow passage in front of the monumental first brick wall. The ZLB is divided up among small, all too narrow rooms, joined by even narrower corri¬dors.
The way round the exhibition rooms interrupts the “ruin shafts” of portals II and IV, the way through is complicated and unclear.
Altogether this is an intelligent and associative design. Unfortunately it is not successful in developing the functionality to a similarly high level.
Honorable Mention – NPS Tchoban Voss GbR Architekten, BerlinThe designer has broadened the task of reconstruction by up¬dating the historic baroque façade on the eastern side and thereby presenting the structure as a coherent entity; to which also belongs the historic cupola. However, there were contro¬versial discussions within the jury as to what extent this addi¬tion to the facades stood in contraction to the history and to the new content of the castle.The open space structure in the exhibition cube positioned within Eosander courtyard offers numerous possibilities for flexible use. The circulation structure in the light wells was seen rather critically. The lay-out of the functional areas is not really convincing, in particular the division of space in the library area would lead to some difficulties in use, particularly as the connection to the public space is missing.
The position of the single-storey public space under the cube comes across as cramped and leaves little space for activities and encounters. The translucent media-façade of the Schlüter courtyard seems rather extreme in contrast to the three historical facades.
The opening on the ground floor on the eastern side and the construction of a riverside promenade were looked upon favourably.
Honorable Mention – Reimar Herbst Architekten, Berlin
Keeping both courtyards free of any structures is the out¬standing feature of this design. However, it would have been nice if the designer had made a statement as to the design of these free spaces.
The organisation inside appears to have been coherently and functionally resolved. Above all the library, organised on one level around the Schlüter courtyard is ideal for its use. Also the direct sight-line in the special exhibition area to the Altes Museum is an asset for this area.
An unwanted effect of keeping the courtyards free is the relocation of the foyer and hence of the public space to the east wing of the castle. This relocation of the main area of the castle is controversially discussed among the jury. On the one hand the visitors who enter the castle via portal III must cross two courtyards in order to reach the public space; on the other hand the entire Schlüter courtyard is upgraded to a public space. The connection to the public space and the special exhibition in the east wing however generates a somewhat undifferentiated broad structure along the Spree, with its simple, rather banal façade design, which does not establish a dialogue with the baroque façade.
The public space in the suggested form is not the self-con¬tained space which is expected for this use and remains more of a space of circulation than a place for communicative encounter.
Unfortunately the exterior design of the façade and above all the cupola do not match the quality of the functional organi¬sation and pervasiveness of the interior. This is also true for the integration of the art chamber and the HU-concept room in the exhibition tour. Both areas are a storey lower and only joined by stairs, so that they remain an appendix. If these rooms were to be made directly accessible, then there would be problems with access control.
Some of the designs – awarded and alternative ones – you can find here.