Avoid the ‘torpor of the facade’, every facade, shape space, break open the east and west fronts of the Chancellery – the architects had a particular kind of liberation in mind: assert the lightness of stone against those very German – and Berlinesque – tectonics and Teutonics, tease some dynamics and movement from the static demands of a large structure, inspire it with the hint of a new beginning.
So the whole thing is like a great, calm river – from the garden through the foyer, down across the courtyard into the Forum and across to the Alsenblock, the sky lobby columns braced against the current like piers of a bridge. ‘Panta rhei’ – ‘everything flows’, nothing stays as it is – but that would be a highly political interpretation of the Chancellorship.
But in all this one thing was clear to us: our iconographic emphasis of the Chancellery’s presence provoked the ‘historical frustration’ of certain minds with delicate nerves who would have preferred, for the federal buildings in Berlin, an unimposing, modest articulation, a sequel to the understatement rehearsed in Bonn.
This fear of unseemly performance found common cause here with a Berlin strategy similar in complexion but with older origins: the fear of greatness, a dearly paid experience down the last century which has already become instinctive, a very German kind of anxiety which distorts scale, clouds any sense of appropriate measure, blinds the eye to proportion; and all too often – just to be on the safe side – it joins forces with the fear of anything new.
For a viable future, architecture must renounce all soporific seniority and, faithful to the creed that ‘art offers favourable odds to impossibility, but safe bets are deceptive and don’t stand a chance’, it must gamble on space, inspired by the knowledge that ‘we will never know what space is’.
represented by the Bundesministerium für Verkehr
Bau- und Wohnungswesen represented by the
Bundesbaugesellschaft Berlin mbH
Axel Schultes Architekten
Frank Schultes Witt
Axel Schultes Charlotte Frank
Christoph Witt Philipp Heydel
Bauer Betzold Büscher Eller Ernst Frank
Franke Frederking Gantz Grundei Helfrich
Hiby Hicsasmaz Hoesch Kahl Kenkmann
Kerber Kister Kortner Krause Lutz Münster
Nailis Pfeiffer Pongratz Reintjes Schuldes
Schütter Werner Westphal
1995 – 2001
181 / 203 m
298 / 341 m
reinforced concrete fair-faced concrete
Viterra Gewerbeimmobilien GmbH
INGKA Ingenieure Kanzleramt GbR
Diete + Siepmann GmbH
GSE Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH
Schlaich Bergermann und Partner (Canopy)
R+R Fuchs Ingenieurbüro für Fassadentechnik
GuD Geotechnik + Dynamik Consult
Schmidt Reuter Partner
Ingenieurbüro Axel C. Rahn
Hosser Hass + Partner
Schmidt Reuter Partner
Akustik Ingenieurbüro Moll GmbH
Lützow 7 Cornelia Müller Jan Wehberg
Garten- und Landschaftsarchitekten