The Architecture of the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy

Daniel Libeskind’s "Zwischenräume" Design

The W. Michael Blumenthal Academy is located on the site of the former wholesale flower market at Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz, the square across the street from the museum. The building, which opened in 2012, is home to our Library with its public Reading Room, our Archive, an event hall, and seminar and workshop rooms where we hold educational programming for children, teenagers, and teachers. In January 2016, the Academy was renamed the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy after our museum’s founding director.

Where

W. M. Blumenthal Academy

Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin
(Opposite the Museum)

Daniel Libeskind’s "Zwischenräume" (In-Between Spaces) Design

The former wholesale flower market was refurbished based on Libeskind’s “In-Between Spaces” design, financed thanks to a generous donation by Eric F. Ross. The new building ensemble of the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy is made up of three tilted cubes and two office wings that have been built into the existing structure. A Diaspora Garden (more information) has been created in the interior courtyard between the building elements.

Drawing by Daniel Libeskind of the planned Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin

The W. Michael Blumenthal Academy

The W. Michael Blumenthal Academy; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Yves Sucksdorff

The Three Cubes of the Academy

The cubic form is a variation on a theme found in the museum’s Garden of Exile and Glass Courtyard. Daniel Libeskind thus linked the Academy to the existing museum architecture both in context and in expression of form. The first cube, which forms the entrance to the Academy, penetrates the façade of the building and creates a counterpart to our museum’s main entrance in the Collegienhaus (Old Building) and the frontage of the Libeskind building on the opposite side of Lindenstrasse. The cube is illuminated by skylights in the form of alef and bet, the first two letters in the Hebrew alphabet, referencing the research and educational work done at this site. In the hall’s interior, the two other cubes tilted towards one another house the auditorium and the Library with its adjacent Reading Room.

Transport Crates and Noah’s Ark

These wood-paneled cubes are intended to evoke transport crates on the one hand and Noah’s Ark on the other. The cubes symbolize the bequests that come to the Jewish Museum Berlin from around the world, which are kept in the Academy to make them accessible to a wider public. Between the three tilted cubes, an inspirational space emerges that allows multifarious views both into the interior and outside onto Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz. These “In-Between Spaces” visually link the Academy to the Collegienhaus with its Glass Courtyard and the Libeskind building.

Opening hours

W. Michael Blumenthal Academy

Monday and Wednesday: 10 am to 7 pm
Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 10 am to 6 pm

Reading Room

Monday and Wednesday: 12 am to 7 pm
Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 10 am to 5 pm

New Neighbors

Five construction projects are presently under way in the southern section of Friedrichstadt around the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy. According to the decision passed in 2010 by the council assembly of the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district, a zone of cultural, educational, and creative industries is to be established within the context of the neighboring museum and educational institutions. The properties were thus allocated based on the quality of the utilization concepts rather than auctioned to the highest bidder.

The former wholesale flower market

The wholesale flower market and surroundings before construction begant; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe

The tageszeitung (taz) newspaper will move into the building to the west of the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy, once again bringing its editorial offices and the publishing house together in one building. The taz presents its future neighborhood in a short video, in which Bülent Durmus, our organizational director, and Günther Thibault, the former market manager and today one of our building caretakers, report on the history of the building and our future plans. Historical footage of the wholesale flower market can also be seen.

You can watch the video (only in German) on the following page of the TAZ website: http://www.taz.de/!p4882/#!vimeo=139831876/

Where

W. M. Blumenthal Academy

Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin
(Opposite the Museum)

Our Buildings (6) Daniel Libeskind and the Baroque Era Show all

Daniel Libeskind and the Baroque Era

The architecture of the Jewish Museum Berlin bears the distinctive fingerprints of Daniel Libeskind. The American architect designed the main museum building, but also the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy and the Glass Courtyard. The building compound also includes a baroque palace and a garden from the 1980s that is a protected landmark.

The W. Michael Blumenthal Academy

A former wholesale flower market was refurbished based on Libeskind’s "In-Between Spaces" design. With three cubes, the visual language echoes the architecture of the rest of the museum.

The Libeskind Building

With his “Between the Lines” design, American architect Daniel Libeskind did not want simply to design a museum building, but to recount German-Jewish history.

Our Museum Gardens

Behind the Old Building and around the Libeskind Building, two garden areas round out our grounds and allow our visitors to take a reflective break before and after their time in the museum.

The Old Building

The former Collegienhaus is the last extant baroque palace in the historic Friedrichstadt neighborhood. The erstwhile Seat of the Royal Court of Justice is now the museum’s entrance with exhibition spaces on the upper level.

The Glass Courtyard

The Glass Courtyard was designed by Daniel Libeskind, who drew inspiration from a sukkah (Hebrew for thatched hit). With a glass and steel structure, it covers the inner courtyard of the baroque Old Building.

The Diaspora Garden

The Diaspora Garden is located in the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy’s inner courtyard. Four "plateaus" that seem to be floating midair are planted with species related to Jewish life or with their own history of dispersion.

W. Michael Blumenthal

More on This Topic ...