The 2023 Biennale of the Berliner Philharmoniker explores the music and architecture of the 1950s and 60s - and does so at seven different venues, (almost) all of which were created during that very period. Our map and short profiles provide an overview of the festival venues.
New, modern, different – the Philharmonie Berlin is a typical and at the same time unique example of 1960s architecture: architect Hans Scharoun designed the world’s first concert hall in which the musicians’ podium forms the centre, around which the audience is grouped in vineyard-like ascending seating. The foyer welcomes visitors with a light, transparent look inspired by shipbuilding.
State Institute for Music Research and Museum of Musical
Instruments Research and musical instruments building: Based on sketches by Hans Scharoun, his student and later partner Edgar Wisniewski designed a building for the State Institute for Music Research and Museum of Musical Instruments that continues the ideas of the teacher’s bright, spacious design concept.
A remnant from another time: the St. Matthäus Kirche, built in the 19th century by Hermann Wenzel, was badly damaged during the war and rebuilt at the end of the 1950s. Today it is not only a place for church services but also for art and culture.
A forum for art and culture: Deutsche Bank’s PalaisPopulaire has had its home in the former Prinzessinnenpalais Unter den Linden since 2018. The building burnt out during the Second World War and was reconstructed at the beginning of the 1960s.
Berlin State Library Potsdamer Straße
“Book ship” is the nickname of the Berlin State Library on Potsdamer Straße. Also designed by Hans Scharoun, it is the architectural sister to the Philharmonie Berlin. It, too, captivates with its light, open construction.
A modern interpretation of the ancient podium temple: in Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie – like the Berlin Philharmonie, a 1960s building – the architect realised the idea of a “universal space” surrounded by glass façades and spanned by a steel roof supported on external columns. Clear and austere in its design, the Neue Nationalgalerie contrasts with Hans Scharoun’s architecture, which is reminiscent of nature.
War memorial: the ruined tower of the Kaiser-Wilhelms-Gedächtnis, destroyed during the war, is now one of Berlin’s landmarks. Together with the modern church building constructed in the early 1960s from glass blocks that create a mystical light in the interior, it forms a unique architectural ensemble.