German Federal Ministry of Health, Berlin

A modern ministry and late 19th century architecture – isn’t that a contradiction?

Heritage-listed buildings bear testimony to when they were made. Just as people advance with age, buildings also adapt with time. They get modernized, converted, or re-used.

This was also the case with the original head office of Deutsche Bank, erected in 1890. After World War II, the building went through several conversions. Bauhaus student Fritz Ehrlich was one of the architects who converted it – for example in 1950 into the seat of the East German Ministry of the Interior and the HQ of the East German People’s Police or after the Wall feel as the seat of the Agency of the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records. In today’s Federal Ministry of Health, architecture form the turn of the 20th century encounters Modernist architecture.
Our design entails cautious modernization in line with the heritage listing as well as an emphasis no contemporary, prestigious office spaces. To this end, we restored the original geometry of the late 19th century building with four inner courtyards. One of the four has now a refined glass roof and is home to a modern cafeteria. The building measures took their cue from the original: We enhanced the ostentatious, oval foyer by including a central staircase. And we included a modern interpretation of the original highlights, such as the historical colors and stucco.

Emphatically bonding past and future – a way of expressing our appreciation.

Project: German Federal Ministry of Health, Berlin

Client: Bundesanstalt für Immobilienaufgabe

GFA: 64,790 m²

Competition: 07/2017, 1st prize

Completion: 2021

“For us, sustainable architecture means: Preserving existing buildings by transforming them.”

A modern ministry should feel at home in a historical building. To this end, we added new, high-grade elements and gave former components of the building a fresh and brighter look.

Relevant themes from architecture and urban planning

Transforming Towers

The city as an infinite project