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Suddenly Wonderful. Ideas for the Future of Large West Berlin Buildings of the 1970s – Berlinische Galerie | 26.05.-18.09.2023

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From 25 May 2023, the Berlinische Galerie will be showing the exhibition “Suddenly Wonderful. Ideas for the Future for Large West Berlin Buildings of the 1970s. The exhibition presents large buildings in West Berlin – symbols of the belief in progress of the time. Today, these buildings are mostly threatened with demolition. The idea of preserving and revitalising this historical-cultural heritage is the aim of the exhibition.

Image above: Bureau N and Something Fantastic, Konzept ICCC – International Center for Contemporary Culture, 2014-2023 © Bureau N / Something Fantastic

During the Cold War, remarkable large buildings were erected in West Berlin as new locations for science, research and culture. Neglected for years and now technically obsolete, these buildings are mostly threatened with demolition today. In Charlottenburg, these include the International Congress Centre (ICC, 1973-1979) or the former Institute for Hygiene and Microbiology (1969-1974), as well as in Lichterfelde the former Central Animal Laboratories of the Free University of Berlin (“Mäusebunker”, 1971-1981). With their futuristic spatial forms, complex functions and novel façade designs, they stood for the belief in progress of the time and at the same time were intended to keep the sealed-off semi-city internationally competitive.

Since their creation, these architectures have been repeatedly criticised as unsightly and inefficient. Today, a group of scientists, cultural workers and politicians who value them as impressive testimonies to Western technological modernity are opposed to this. The aim of the exhibition is to make the current efforts to preserve and revitalise this historical and cultural heritage visible in an exemplary way.

The new ideas are accompanied by construction documents and films from the museum’s collection, some of which have never been shown before, which tell of the conception and creation of the buildings. In addition, contemporary positions convey different artistic perspectives on the striking symbolic buildings of the 1970s. Approaches to solutions by renowned Berlin offices are on display. They all respect the existing buildings as a valuable resource and as places that create identity for the users. In addition, they encourage us to think about how new ways of life can also develop in existing architecture and what active contribution building designers can make to the success of the energy transition. The exhibition includes about 150 works by around 20 architects, planning offices, photographers and artists.

Architects and artists: Fehling+Gogel, G+M Hänska, Ralf Schüler & Ursulina SchülerWitte, b+ (bplus.xyz), Bureau N und Something Fantastic, GRAFT, Neuner & Böving, Bulla & Huth, Nathan Eddy, Kay Fingerle, Beate Gütschow, Matthias Hoch, Frank Oehring, Tracey Snelling


Firday, 26. May – Monday, 18. September 2023

Wed–Mon 10am-6pm, Tue closed


Berlinische Galerie
Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur
Alte Jakobstraße 124–128
10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg


10 EUR, reduced 6 EUR

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