Berlin Reconstructed

Minister for Arts, Heritage and Culture Jimmy Deenihan will open an exhibition at the Irish Architectural Archive this Friday (January 18th) on the Berlin Palace-Humboldt Forum project, which is the reconstruction of the Berlin Palace, damaged during World War II and demolished in 1950, as the Humboldt Forum, a new centre for exhibitions, events and encounters in the heart of Berlin.

Three bodies – the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation’s National Museums in Berlin, the Central and Regional Library Berlin and the Humboldt University – will pool their competencies and cultural resources to create the forum, which will be a centre to sponsor and exchange knowledge about world cultures.

The project takes its name from the Humboldt brothers, Alexander (1769-1859), a widely travelled researcher who represents the scope of the extra-European collections which will be moved into the forum, and Wilhelm (1767-1835), the founder of the humanist educational ideal in Germany, who represents the idea of uniting different educational institutions and theories of science under one roof.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a short series of free lunchtime lectures and will kick off with a panel discussion. With the theme “Reconstructing lost buildings: the Berlin Palace as a model for Ireland?”, the discussion will take place in the Edmund Burke Theatre, TCD from 6.30pm to 8pm on January 18th. It will feature Prof Franco Stella, the architect of the project, Manfred Rettig, chairman of the Humboldtforum Foundation, Michelle Fagan, president of the RIAI, and Kathleen James-Chakraborty, Professor of History of Art in UCD. Shane O’Toole, architect and architectural critic, will moderate. Admission is free and all are welcome.

The free lunchtime lectures, at the Irish Architectural Archive, 45 Merrion Square, begin on Thursday January 31st at 1.15pm with “The Humboldt and the Cultural Politics of Berlin”, given by Dr Hugh Maguire, director of the Hunt Museum in Limerick

They will continue on February 7th at 1.15pm with “An Alternative to Reconstruction: Berlin’s Architecture of Modern Memory”, from Prof Kathleen James-Chakraborty, University College Dublin, and conclude on February 14th at 1.15pm with “Inside / Outside” from Andreas Dopfer, architect, from the Berlin office of Heneghan Peng.