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Academy Talk: About the question of the cultural reuse of the Galeries Lafayette department stores’ in Berlin – Akademie der Künste | 15.07.2024

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On 15. July 2024, the Akademie der Künste will host an event to discuss the subsequent use of the Galeries Lafayette as the new home of the Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin, Germany’s largest public library.

Image above: Galerie Lafayette Berlin, entrance to the food court, photo Stephanie Schneider

The debate initiated by Berlin’s Senator for Culture Joe Chialo on the conversion of Jean Nouvel’s department stores’ offers the opportunity to take advantage of the crisis in city centres and to use changed consumer and user behaviour to transform public space in a profitable way. On the other hand, the development of the existing building would be relevant in terms of climate policy, as it would reduce CO2 emissions for the new ZLB building, which is planned anyway. This effect is reinforced by the recently launched idea of additional interim use by the State Library, which requires an interim building for the next 15 years due to refurbishment.

Academy President Manos Tsangaris introduces the evening in dialogue with Academy Vice President Anh-Linh Ngo. Anh-Linh Ngo then invites the participants to the podium for two-person discussions: Architect Dominique Alba, Director of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, delivers a greeting from Jean Nouvel and provides an insight into the architectural possibilities of the building.

Culture Senator Joe Chialo and ZLB General Director Volker Heller discuss cultural policy implications. Regine Keller, urban planner and deputy director of the architecture section of the Akademie der Künste, will address the topic of revitalising public spaces. Poet Katharina Schultens, director of the Haus für Poesie and member of the Academy, sheds light on libraries as important places of cultural education. The multi-perspective Academy discussion, including literary and poetic interventions, is intended as a format for joint reflection on the future of urban society.


Manos Tsangaris: President of the Academy of Arts and composer

Anh-Linh Ngo: Vice President of the Academy of Arts and architecture publicist

Anh-Linh Ngo in discussions with

Joe Chialo: Senator for Culture and Social Cohesion
Dominique Alba: Director of the Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Volker Heller: Director and General Director of the Berlin Central and Regional Library (ZLB)
Regine Keller: Landscape architect, urban planner and Deputy Director of the Architecture Section of the Academy of Arts
Katharina Schultens: Writer, Director of the House of Poetry, Member of the Literature Section of the Academy of Arts


Monday, 15 July 2024, 7 pm


Akademie der Künste
Pariser Platz 4
10117 Berlin


Admission: 7.50 Euro
Reduced: 5.00 Euro
free admission up to 18 years

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Thomas Hoepker 1936-2024