The former Berlin Palace(Berliner Schloss), constructed since 1443 as the residence of the Brandenburg princes, was partially transformed at the beginning of the 18th century into the baroque palace of those same sovereigns, who in 1701 became kings of Prussia and in 1871 also German emperors. Damaged by the Second World War II bombings, the Berlin Palace was lastly razed to the ground for ideological reasonsin 1950 by the holders of political power of the GDR.
The Palace was the urban and architectural director of the monumental axis Unter den Linden and of the Museum Island.
The former director of the City Centre returns as a teacher of urban history.
The Berlin Palace as a harmonious combination of Old and New
The new Berlin Palace (Berliner Schloss – Humboldt Forum) is a unitary, baroque and modern building, conceived as a "meeting place with the cultures of the world", dedicated to the Humboldt brothers.
The 'faithful to the original' reconstruction of the stereometry and facades of the Baroque Palace - that is, the part of the Palace, redesigned at the end of the 17th / early 18th century by Schlüter and Eosander - and of the Stüler's 19th-century dome, was decided by the German Parliament in 2002 , and confirmed by the 2008 Competition program.
The new construction consists of five new buildings: one outside, in the area of the former Renaissance Palace; the other four in the area of the main internal courtyard, the Eosanderhof.
The Palace, the City Gate, the Piazza and the Theater are the excellent places of the architecture and the city, which inspire the combination of Old and New: both outside, in the urban image of thebuilding, both inside, in the architecture of the three courtyards.
The Palace as building with five portals as ‘city-gates’ and three courtyards as ‘piazza’
The new building facing the Spree, is intended as the 'fourth wing' of the reconstructed Baroque palace, completing Schlüter's original idea of transforming it into a unitary building. Due to thethe extraordinary size of its window openings, in particular their depth of over a meter, the front towards theSpree river looks like a 'facade of loggias', which suggests the public character of the building.
The internal new buildings complete the Schlüterhof and realizes two new courtyard-squares in relation to the portals rebuilt as city-gates: the Schloss-Passage, whose new 'colonnaded way' remember an ancient Roman forum, and the Große Foyer, that evokes the Theater with the reconstructed ‘triumphal arch’-portal as the theater scene and the new galleries as the lodges for spectators.
The new building can be described as a 'city in form of a palace', designed both for millions of visitors from around the world and for the daily life of thousands of citizens. Through its always open portals, the external squares mixes with the internal courtyards in a grandiose public space in the heart of Berlin.
The modern as well as the baroque wall is a three-layer construction: the inner one is a reinforced concrete structure, the intermediate one is the insulation, the outer one is the actual façade.
The baroque façade is a brick wall with an average thickness of 65 cm: a self-supporting construction (and not a hanging 'mask'), which guarantees a facade with no apparent joints; the modern façade presents prefabricated slabs made of white cement mixed with clear sandstone.
The reconstructedcolumnsand its architraves are made by adding pieces of natural stone with the same size, shape and material of the original one; the new columns are prefabricated monoliths, made, as well as the slabs,of reinforced white cement and clear sandstone.