The Berlin Palace stood at the end of the monumental boulevard Unter den Linden, right across from the Museum Island. The destruction caused by bombs was so great that the government decided in 1952 to demolish the ruins and replace it with the Palace of the Republic and a kind of parade ground. The foundations rested invisible below, like under a dusty glass case.
The archaeological city of Rome and its visible excavations, the natural relationship between its ruins and the pulsating city provides the background of the project idea: the foundations of the palace were to be revealed and supplemented with the stone remainders and sculptures, in some cases taken out of storage. The ruin originating in this way is embedded into a parking facility and understood as part of the urban green spaces typical of Berlin. The contemplative and highly romanticizing reference to history establishes a place to bide awhile and contemplate.
»The substance and its concealed sense of cosmic tragedy is explained in the ruin. When the sensation of the ruin shifts us into the shadows of wistfulness and appears to us as the revenge of nature for the rape perpetrated by the mind, then its reconstruction would be a gesture of reconciliation appropriate to the place. The location of the ruin between the ‘not yet’ and the ‘no more’ points in a direction that was established in the existence of that destroyed. It appears in a garden with which its idea always remains linked and to which it owes its existence, a place without history in a time of prehistory. The construction of the ruin of the Berlin Palace at the original location is based on preserved components that need to be completed, while the design principles correspond to the historically obsolete. The project should not be interpreted as reconstruction, it is an architectural design.«
L’architecture, c’est ce qui laisses des belles ruines.
French architect, contractor and urban planner
Competition submission for invited architects, Museum der bildenden Künste, exhibition in the Georg-Kolbe-Museum, August 2002, with Helmut Geisert