The Feuerle Collection, Berlin

From 2012 to 2015, Realarchitektur in collaboration with AGP-Architekten and the London office of John Pawson, the ‘BASA Bunker’ on Hallesches Ufer was converted to a museum for the Feuerle Collection. The bunker was originally built in 1943 to protect the telecommunications network equipment of the German State Railway. The ground floor and basement levels had large open spaces to house pieces of equipment. The generous amounts of space, and the building’s physical presence, with its massive concrete ‘romantic ruin’ appearance, appeared to offer ideal conditions for the exhibition concept. The architectural task was primarily to reveal the character of the building, to retain the existing atmosphere and enhance it with carefully selected interventions. As such, part of the basement level was separated from the exhibition area by large windows and now forms the ‘Lake Room’, which itself seems like a work of art due to the mirroring effect of its water surfaces. Likewise, the ‘Incense Room’ was inserted as a box into the space, wrapped in mirrored glass which reflects different views of the basement back into the space, making it appear almost invisible. The wall, ceiling and floor surfaces were treated carefully using procedures which allowed the traces of history to be retained, without distracting from the exhibits. On the ground floor, concealed behind a white perimeter wall, are the building’s mechanical services. Their primary function is to create the climatic conditions necessary for the exhibits – Imperial Chinese furniture, historical statues and bronzes from South East Asia, and contemporary works – and not, as is usually the case, to create comfortable conditions for the visitors. When visiting the exhibition, this adds to the impression of having stepped into a treasure chamber.

Planning and building phase: 2012 – 2016
Area: 7000m²
Architecture: Realarchitektur in collaboration with Wolfgang Meier AGP-Architekten (www.architekten-agp.de) and John Pawson London
Team Realarchitektur: Petra Petersson, Henning Watkinson, Kerstin Zahn, Julia Molles, Bärbel Ackermann, Philipp Bünger, Hans-Peter Bauer
Structural engineering: Ingenieurbüro Rüdiger Jockwer GmBH (www.jockwer-gmbh.de)
Fire Protection: Krebs und Kiefer Beratende Ingenieure (www.kuk.de)
Services: Ingenieurgesellschaft für Energie- und Umwelttechnik mbH (www.ifeu-gmbh.de)
Building Physics: Institut für Gebäudesimulation Prof. Lorenz (www.ifg-lorenz.com)
Photografs: Wolfgang Meier, Nic Tennwiggenhorn, Gilbert McCarragher