DRESDEN MILITARY HISTORY MUSEUM DESIGN BY DANIEL LIBESKIND
DRESDEN MILITARY HISTORY MUSEUM DESIGN BY DANIEL LIBESKIND
Dresden - Germany
The redesigned Dresden Museum of Military History is now the official central museum of the German Armed Forces. It will house an exhibition area of roughly 20,000 square meters, making it Germany’s largest museum.
The armory was built from 1873 –1876 and became a museum in 1897. Since its 1897 founding, the Dresden Museum of Military History has been a Saxon armory and museum, a Nazi museum, a Soviet museum and an East German museum. Today it is the military history museum of a unified and democratic Germany, its location outside the historic center of Dresden having allowed the building to survive the allied bombing campaign at the end of World War II.
In 1989, unsure how the museum would fit into a newly unified German state, the government decided to shut it down. By 2001 feelings had shifted and an architectural competition was held for an extension that would facilitate a reconsideration of the way we think about war.
Daniel Libeskind’s winning design boldly interrupts the original building's symmetry. The extension, a massive, five-story 14,500-ton wedge of concrete and steel, cuts through the 135-year-old former arsenal’s structural order. A 82-foot high viewing platform (the highest point of the wedge is 98 feet) provides breathtaking views of modern Dresden while pointing towards the area where the fire bombing of Dresden began, creating a dramatic space for reflection.
The new façade’s openness and transparency contrasts with the opacity and rigidity of the existing building. The latter represents the severity of the authoritarian past while the former reflects the openness of the democratic society in which it has been reimagined. The interplay between these perspectives forms the character of the new Military History Museum
Inside, in the original, columned part of the building, German’s military history is presented in chronological order. But now it is complemented, in the new wide-open spaces of the five-story wedge, by new exhibition areas with a new focus on thematic consideration of the societal forces and human impulses.
The project opened in October 2011 completed by Architekt Daniel Libeskind AG (ADL) with Studio Daniel Libeskind (SDL).
Born in Postwar Poland, Libeskind immigrated to America with his family becoming an American citizen in 1964. He studied music in Israel (on the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship) and in New York, and became a virtuoso performer. He left music to study architecture, receiving his professional architectural degree in 1970 from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City. He received a postgraduate degree in History and Theory of Architecture at the School of Comparative Studies at Essex University (England) in 1972.
Since establishing his practice in Berlin in 1989, Mr. Libeskind has designed major cultural, commercial and residential projects around the world. These include the master plan for the World Trade Center and the Jewish Museum Berlin. In October of 2011, his firm, Studio Daniel Libeskind, completed its redesign of what is now Germany’s largest museum, the Military History Museum in Dresden. The same month Hong Kong’s City University celebrated the opening of the Libeskind-designed Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre. Other recent projects include the Grand Canal Theatre project, a major addition to Dublin’s docklands and the city’s cultural core; Crystals at CityCenter, a 500,000-square-foot retail complex that is the centerpiece of MGM Mirage’s signature development on the Las Vegas Strip.
The Studio has several projects under construction, including City Life’s redevelopment of the historic Fiera Milano Fairgrounds in Milan; Kö-Bogen, an office and retail complex in Düsseldorf; two high-rise developments, The L Tower in Toronto and Reflections at Keppel Bay, a two-million-square-foot residential development in Singapore; Zlota 44, a residential high rise in Warsaw; and Haeundae Udong Hyundai l’Park, a mixed-use development in Busan, South Korea, which when completed, will include the tallest residential building in Asia.
Projects in development include Archipelago 21, the master site plan for the Yongsan International Business District in Seoul; the Institute for Democracy & Conflict Resolution, for the University of Essex in England; Vitra, a residential tower in Sao Paulo, Brazil; and the Central Deck and Arena in Tampere, Finland, a mixed-used development that contains an ice hockey arena large enough to seat 11.000 visitors.
Among the many Libeskind buildings that have received worldwide acclaim are The Felix Nussbaum Haus, in Osnabrück, Germany (1998); the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, England (2002); the extension to the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Art Museum Residences (2006), the Royal Ontario Museum (2007) and the Glass Courtyard, an extension to the Jewish Museum Berlin,(2007); the Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge, a residential high-rise in Covington, Kentucky (2008); the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco (2008); and Westside, Europe’s largest retail and health center, located in Bern, Switzerland (2008).
Daniel Libeskind Mr. Libeskind has taught and lectured at many universities worldwide. He has held such positions as the Frank O. Gehry Chair at the University of Toronto, Professor at the Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe, Germany, the Cret Chair at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Louis Kahn Chair at Yale University. He has received numerous awards including the 2001 Hiroshima Art Prize — an award given to an artist whose work promotes international understanding and peace, never before given to an architect. Mr. Libeskind’s ideas have influenced a new generation of architects and those interested in the future development of cities and culture.
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