Topography of Terror, Berlin, Germany, Documentation and Visitor Centre and Presentation of the Historic Property

Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung, Berlin (Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning), Germany
  • Architectural Work
    Performance / Services: 1 - 9
02 / 2010
Gross floor area:
5.370 qm
German Architecture Award 2011 (shortlist)
Competition 1st prize
Cooperation with Prof. Heinz W. Hallmann, landscape architect, Aachen, Germany
The Open Space
As a site of historic significance, the terrain itself is the foremost exhibit of the 'Topography of Terror'. Its vacant space presents a strong and irritating contrast to its urban environment. In the open space, the fragments of memory are placed in their historical context. A below-grade exhibition path and a looping path with 15 marked stops provide both spatial and contextual access to the site. The Berlin Wall bounds the area to the north, the Martin-Gropius-Bau to the west, a copse of locust trees to the south and a stand of trees to the east.

The cubical mass of the building ”floats“ freely above the terrain, intentionally unaligned with any former structures or street axes on the site. Its homogeneous exterior appears opaque or transparent, depending on the lighting and the angle at which it is seen. Its entrance opens wide to receive visitors who, once inside, are in constant visual contact with the surrounding area. The key areas are arranged as a series of open rooms around the interior courtyard in the centre of the building: the exhibition, event hall, information desk, café and open staircase.