The Humboldt Box - Unter den Linden, Berlin, Germany

Krueger, Schuberth and Vandreike
Date Built
The Humboldt Box sits across Unter den Linden from the Berlin Dom looking somewhat like a chunky, geometric elephant.  It occupies a site that was once home to the Berlin Stadtschloss (city palace), a large baroque palace, home to German Royalty until 1918.  After the First World War the German Empire came to an end and the Stadtschloss became a museum.  During World War II the building was severely damaged by allied bombing.  Some parts of the building were repaired after the war but in 1950 it was demolished. 

In the early 1970s a modernist building, the Palast der Republik, was erected on part of the site but it only survived for approximately 30 years.  In the 1990s it was found to be contaminated by asbestos and after reunification this building was also demolished.  There are plans to erect a new building on the site but it is estimated that this won't be for some years.  In the meantime the Humboldt Box has been built to, "advertise in an innovative way the future Humboldt-Forum Berlin ...."  It describes itself as radiating, " ... a futuristic ease amidst the historic buildings in Berlin's centre. Its architecture is to reflect the idea of temporariness. With a stipulated period of eight years, presumably until 2019, it holds a temporary, exciting spot..."

The centre's website says that, "Until the completion of the future project ‘Humboldt-Forum’, the Humboldt-Box as a complete piece of art takes on the responsibility to trigger a certain curiosity in and extensively inform Berlin’s general public and visitors from all parts of the world about the contents of the planned Humboldt-Forum and the design of the palace site as well as the building project as such.  With an area of 3,000 square meters and a height of 28 meters with five extraordinary floors, this architectural solitaire embodies an impressive focal point, an information forum, an exhibition area, an observation platform as well as a first-class event location all in one and all in the spirit of the World Explorers Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt: It is a place of discovery."

In announcing the opening of the Humbolt Box, in June of 2011, the architects say that, "The currently most unusual building in Berlin stages the content of future Humboldt Forum in a futuristic look, which is in contrast with the historic palace façades of the Humboldt Forum.  The spectacular roof terraces invite foreigners and Berliners to newly discover the city!