LILA 2024 — Call for entries now open!

Surroundings Humboldt Forum


designed by /



Location: Berlin / Germany / Type: Cultural Heritage / Squares and Plazas / Waterfronts / Built: 2023 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on March 22, 2024

The reconstruction of the City Palace fills a central void in Berlin’s historic city centre. The spatial structure in this area of the city will change fundamentally with the new building, which is intended to create space for art, science and communication as the Humboldt Forum. In place of the spacious Schlossplatz with its unclear spatial boundaries, four clearly defined sub-squares with different orientations and urban spatial references have been created on the facades of the Humboldt Forum.

The design link to the pleasure garden or ‘Lustgarten’ is formed by the planted element of the contemporary interpretation of the palace terraces. The orientation and proportions of the terraces and their planting are freely based on Lenné’s historical design and adapted to the location and its significance. Seasonally changing planting schemes develop between hedge screens, depicting three different plant zones – corresponding to the three continents visited by Alexander von Humboldt: Eurasia, South America and North America. As visitors walk through the terraces, they experience three divergent images of plant topography, as described and researched by Alexander von Humboldt on his travels.

Natural stone was laid in the entire area around the Humboldt Forum using mixed small stone cobbles obtained from used large granite cobbles from the Berlin area. The reworked recycled material was crushed, sawn, partially blasted or flamed depending on the characteristics of the stone, then mixed and reinstalled.

The unbound construction of the squares hardscape and the high proportion of joints due to the small-format paving allow a significant proportion of the rainwater to seep away. Rainwater that does not infiltrate is filtered and discharged into the River Spree. In the event of heavy rainfall, rainwater can be temporarily stored in underground retention cisterns.

Additionally, the forecourt of the ESMT – the former State Council building, which is now a listed building – forms a special feature within the overall area. The listed garden and forecourt of the State Council building were laid out in 1964 according to a design by garden architect Hubert Matthes.

Project Data

Surroundings Humboldt Forum, Berlin

Landscape Architecture: bbz landschaftsarchitekten

Other designers involved in the design of landscape: Consultancy on planting for terraces – Christian Ranck, Berlin

Project location: Berlin, Germany

Year completed: (Partial Opening 2021) 2023

Photo credits: Christo Libuda (Lichtschwärmer)

Manufacturer of urban or play equipment: Design of the benches by bbz landschaftsarchitekten

Products by Maglin