Australian Embassy in Berlin
|Australian Embassy in Berlin|
|architect||Fritz Crzellitzer ( Zehlendorf ), conversions Bates Smart ( Melbourne )|
|Construction year||1913; 2003|
|Floor space||1200 m²|
The Australian Embassy in Berlin is the headquarters of the diplomatic mission of Australia in Germany and Switzerland . It has been located in the Berlin-Mitte district of the district of the same name since 1997 and since 2003 at Wallstrasse 76-79 in a listed building complex.
Story of the message
Until the Second World War , diplomatic contacts between the Australian state, which was founded in 1901, and the German Empire took place via the "Foreign Legation" of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland . Only in London did Australia at that time have its own embassy. In October 1945, Australia opened a military mission on the Reichssportfeld in the British sector of Berlin , because all 16 victorious powers of World War II had committed to it. Among other things, they monitored the development of Germany; in particular, rearmament was to be prevented. After the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949 and the establishment of Bonn as the capital , the Australian state established official diplomatic relations in 1952. The Australian representatives then moved into an embassy building in Bonn. At the same time, the Australian ambassadors continued to perform the tasks of the military mission in Berlin.
The GDR agreed to its global recognition as a result of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe gradually the exchange of diplomats. In 1972 diplomatic relations were established with Australia and soon the " Australian Embassy to the GDR " was opened in a building planned by Horst Bauer in Berlin-Niederschönhausen in the newly created diplomatic quarter of the Pankow district (Grabbeallee 34).
As a result, however, there were no intensive contacts, so that the Australian state closed the East Berlin embassy in 1986 and corresponding tasks were carried out via the Australian embassy in Poland ( Warsaw ).
The German reunification and adopted subsequently Berlin / Bonn Act now led to a new situation. From 1992 the diplomatic missions of almost all countries moved their embassy buildings to Berlin . Countries that were already present in Berlin before 1945 received their areas or buildings back and furnished them again or built new ones. The other countries either looked for finished buildings that could be adapted to their purposes through conversion or built new buildings on vacant lots.
Australia decided to acquire and renovate a listed building complex at Wallstrasse 76-79 in Berlin-Mitte.
History of the embassy building
Administration building for craft associations and trading companies until 1945
The building ensemble Wallstraße 76-79 was built in 1912/1913 based on a design by the Zehlendorf government master builder Fritz Crzellitzer instead of the earlier three- story baroque residential buildings in private ownership. In 1910 the houses number 78 and 79 were bought up by the city of Berlin and demolished because they stood in the way of the construction of the “elevated and underground railway”; their area was needed as storage space.
After the subway line was completed, House 77 was also removed. During the construction phase for the new administration building, the Wallstrasse 76 plot was added after the residential building was demolished. A "Wallstraßen-Grundgesellschaft mbH" is named as the builder and owner of the new office building, which after completion marketed it to business people from the textile industry, including clothing, textile and fur manufacturers. In 1920 the architect (in the spelling Government Builder a. D. Scherlitzer ) became the owner, the Wallstrasse basic company became the administrator of the property. During the time of the global economic crisis , the owner of the house changed several times; the address book from 1929, for example, mentions a "Terra AG für Grundbesitz". Eventually the building was foreclosed in 1938. Until the new owner, the Berlin Carpenter's Guild , moved in, the building complex was under compulsory administration and served the following tenants, among others: branch of a shipping company, clothing manufacturer ("Cro"), several haberdashery manufacturers and dealers, lottery takers, dental technology laboratory, magazine publisher, etc. The administration of the now “Reichsinnungsverband des Tischlerhandwerk” (Reichsinnungsverband des Tischlerhandwerk) had the rooms on the second floor extensively renovated and designed them with a clear, functional aesthetic with wooden panels . In 1940, in addition to the board of the association, the subsidiaries of the guild health insurance fund of the carpenter's and turner's guild, the publishing house “Das deutsche Holzgewerbe” and the regional supply association for the carpenter's trade moved in, and some of the previous users remained in the rooms.
Seat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party 1945–1946
The leadership of the KPD , who returned from exile in the Soviet Union after the end of the Second World War , used the building (which had been abandoned by its previous owners and users) as the headquarters for the Central Committee (ZK) from July 1945 to April 1946. This was also where the re-establishment of the KPD, as announced by a plaque on the facade. The rapidly growing party apparatus soon required more rooms than were available here, and they moved into the former Jonaß department store on Torstrasse. For the time being, only the propaganda department remained in the Wallstrasse building .
The well-preserved and representative building was converted for its needs after the founding of the KPD-affiliated Dietz-Verlag (from the merger of the Vorwärts and Neuer Weg publishers). The close economic ties with the SED and its successor party, the PDS, led to changes in the publishing structure with German reunification and, in 1992, to the relocation of the building, with the name Dietz Verlag in capitals above the row of windows on the ground floor . The name and content of the renewed Karl Dietz Verlag is now based at Franz-Mehring-Platz 1 in Berlin-Friedrichshain .
It is a five-storey building ensemble with two attic storeys and a connecting courtyard wing between Wallstrasse and Märkischer Ufer in a U-shape. The main body was formed from reinforced concrete , so that the individual floors could be designed relatively freely and generously. The ten-axis facade facing Wallstrasse is richly decorated with majolica tiles and patinated brass plates . The street front is not aligned, but bends slightly; on the ground floor area it was clad with brown tiles. The three-part windows on storeys two to four, one on top of the other, are combined with a structured rectangular frame. The window partitions were decorated with ornamental and figurative reliefs . The windows end in lunettes , in whose segments antique allegorical motifs are depicted. The fourth floor above the continuous cornice is slightly set back towards the building, the three-part windows alternate with fluted templates. A gable roof completes the construction. The round-arched main portal is located symmetrically in the main facade , with a side entrance or driveway inserted on the eastern side. The resulting kink in the floor plan and the somewhat simpler facade design of the east wing are explained by the development that began at different times; the eastern parcel could only be acquired after construction had started.
Inside, the generous grid of the central supports enables variable floor plans.
Redesign and opening as the Embassy of Australia
Preliminary decisions up to the purchase in 1997
Before the Australian state decided to purchase the building in Wallstrasse, the ambassadors had moved into a provisional consulate general in the Mitte district, from where the embassy’s relocation from Bonn was coordinated. The last decision in favor of the Wallstrasse complex was made when the Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating visited Berlin in 1995. The institutions commissioned with the search for an embassy location (“Department of Administrative Services” and “Overseas Property Group”) had made a corresponding pre-selection based on the criteria of a minimum floor space of 3000 m², as central as possible close to German political institutions and an architecturally individual appearance . Of the five properties brokered and viewed, the Wallstrasse 76–79 building ensemble best met the requirements. In 1997, the purchase agreement was signed with the Treuhand Liegenschaftsgesellschaft, established to market vacant buildings , and the earlier neighboring house at Märkisches Ufer 8 was also acquired.
Expert opinions and renovation plans
The planning and conception for the new use initially required a structural appraisal, with which two architectural offices were commissioned. Then, in 1996, Australia organized an invitation competition exclusively for Australian architectural offices, which took into account the issues of monument protection as well as the necessary renovation of the building fabric and, above all, technical modernization. Bates Smart from Melbourne emerged as the winner of the 28 participating offices . For the realization, the cooperation with a German architectural office experienced in monument protection (Berlin branch of the Frankfurt office Braun & Schlockermann) was required.
Implementation of the new concept
The former administration building is used for the work of the diplomats, an inner courtyard, which was formed jointly with the neighboring house at Märkisches Ufer 8, was converted into an atrium . The entire ground floor in Wallstrasse was gutted, the brown facade cladding, which was probably not the original, was removed and a continuous, semi-transparent row of panoramic windows was installed. The wooden wall paneling in the interior was preserved, while the floor ceilings received modern point lights. For the employees and their guests, event rooms of variable sizes and a bar were set up on the first floor. On the second floor, the conference room and its lamps made of brass and frosted glass were largely retained, but it was given a new oval table and new seating that emphasizes the flair of the historic location. The walls of most of the offices along the corridors have been replaced by large-scale glazing. In some places the architects added wood paneling made of Australian Sassafras wood and, for example, procured seating elements (“ Barcelona Chair ”) from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe . Paintings by Australian artists sponsored by an Australian bank were hung as wall decorations in all larger rooms.
All facade elements were cleaned and vertical spotlights were placed on the ledge on the fourth floor, which emphasize the facade elements in the dark.
The seven-axis, five-storey building section Märkisches Ufer 8 in the typical Wilhelminian style was redesigned into apartments for the embassy staff. The entrance is designed in trompe l'oeil style and the banister is turned, which creates an overall impression of lordship.
All renovation work was financed by the Department of Finance and Administration Canberra; the execution was the responsibility of the general contractor Wilhelm Füssler GmbH & Co, Karlsruhe and the project manager Drees & Sommer Projektmanagement und Bautechnische Beratung GmbH, Berlin.
facts and figures
The plot area is 1200 m², the gross floor area is 9000 m², the usable area is 5400 m². The construction costs for the conversion amounted to 15 million euros , the work lasted from February 2000 to January 2003. A total of 32 different companies, mainly from the Berlin / Brandenburg region, were entrusted with individual work.
- Cornelia Dörries, Florian Bolk: Australian Embassy Berlin . 1st edition. The new architecture guide, No. 42. Stadtwandel Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-933743-90-9
- Institute for Monument Preservation (Ed.): The architectural and art monuments of the GDR. Capital Berlin-I . Henschelverlag, Berlin 1984, p. 251 ff .
- Wolfgang Schächen : The Australian Embassy in Berlin . 1st edition Braun Publishing, 2003, ISBN 3-935455-21-6
- Australian Embassy Berlin , ... p. 4
- Monument complex Wallstraße 76-79 / Märkisches Ufer 6
- Crzellitzer, Fritz . In: Berliner Adreßbuch , 1915, part 1, p. 449. “Wohn. Stubenrauchstrasse 9 ".
- Wallstrasse 76, 77, 78/79 . In: Berliner Adreßbuch , 1910, part 3, p. 890. Wallstrasse . In: Berliner Adreßbuch , 1911, part 3, p. 904.
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- Wallstrasse 76-79 . In: Berliner Adreßbuch , 1913, part 3, p. 910.
- Wallstrasse 76-79 . In: Berliner Adreßbuch , 1920, part 3, p. 898.
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- Dörries: Australian Embassy Berlin . Architecture Guide, 42. p. 10
- Imprint. Karl Dietz Publishing House
- Dörries: Australian Embassy Berlin . Architekturführer, 42. S. 7/8
- Dörries: Australian Embassy Berlin . Architekturführer, 42. pp. 15-18
- Dörries: Australian Embassy Berlin . Architecture Guide, 42. pp. 21/22