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.
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.
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.
Views of the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy
W. Michael Blumenthal Academy
Monday and Wednesday: 10 am to 7 pm
Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 10 am to 6 pm
Monday and Wednesday: 12 am to 7 pm
Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 10 am to 5 pm
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 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/