Berlin Wall Memorial

The existing historical traces on Bernauer Strasse made legible with a differentiated fabric of topographical signs.

The Berlin Wall Memorial – recognize, explore, remember

The memorial stretches for about 1.4 kilometers along the former border between East and West Berlin on Bernauer Strasse. The memorial at the historic site, established on the basis of a resolution of the Berlin Senate in 2006, explores the history of Berlin’s division. Numerous original elements of the border fortifications have been preserved, offering visitors the opportunity to reconstruct an authentic experience in a multi-layered open-air exhibition as well as in the visitor and documentation center. Simultaneously, a space dedicated to commemoration of the victims and for reflection is provided in the heart of the city.

Open-air exhibition
The historical traces of the Berlin Wall are mapped out with differentiated structures of topographical signs and made legible on an area of 4.2 hectares along Bernauer Strasse. Existing remains of the Wall’s construction are preserved, destroyed relics re-stored and the dominant historical structures made legible. Since not everything is immediately apparent, the visitor takes on the role of the explorer.  

Topography of events
A dense narrative of events between 1961 and 1989 characterizes the space between Nordbahnhof and Mauerpark. Numerous successful and unsuccessful escapes, either via underground tunnels or escape jumps from bordering windows, visits by political figures and protest activities define the concentrated history of events in the neighborhood. The open space planning uses careful means to uncover the site of the events. The result is an open, widely visible space as the emptiness of the death strip unfolds. Rusty steel tracings are embedded into this “scenic” expanse, providing information about the remains of the Wall lost after 1989.

Overall spatial concept
The overall of the memorial is based on the precise composition well-dosed information. Offerings. By incorporating the largely preserved former border strip of the Berlin Wall into its authentic urban context, the memorial ensemble is an institution of international significance. The authenticity of the historic site with its distinct atmosphere and its fragmented materiality becomes apparent to visitors.
Although this memorial landscape is an open urban space without clear entrances, it has a thematic choreography. Section A has the theme “The Wall and the Death Strip”, while Section B is dedicated to “The Destruction of the City” and Section C exhibits “The Construction of the Wall”. Between Brunnenstraße and Schwedter Straße, where the demolition of the Wall began, the history of the event is presented according to the theme called “It Happened at the Wall”.

Website: SINAI

Other designers involved:

Architecture Visitor’s center: Mola Winkelmüller Architekten, Berlin
Permanent open-air exhibition: ON architektur, Christian Fuchs, Berlin
Graphics: Berthold Weidner, Stuttgart

Design year: 2007

Year Built: 2011 / 2014

Photographer: Nikolai Benner

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