{Germany} Diaspora Garden

June 8, 2015


Last week, I attended the We Are Museums conference, which this year took place in Berlin. Our host venue, was the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin. This was the first time I’d been inside the completed building – which just like the main museum building is based on a design by Daniel Libeskind –  since seeing it as a building site in October 2011. And what a transformation! Whilst I still gather my thoughts on the conference (will hopefully get a wee post up with impressions from that soon), let me share some of my ‘before and after’ photos of the Academy with you.

The site used to be a flower market, and as such you can imagine the vast empty hall this building was at the outset of the transformation. In would be impossible to heat, so three tilted cubes – in Libeskind’s signature angular style – were set inside the hall, one of which extends out the front of the building to create the new entrance.

Here’s the entrance during construction:


And here is what it looks like today:


The other two cubes house the Academy’s auditorium – where the main part of our conference took place – and the library. Besides the three cubes, the Academy also houses offices, meeting and seminar rooms, and education work spaces, which run along the sides of the building. Here’s a view from inside the library cube during construction:


And here’s a peek inside the completed library:


But the pièce de résistance has to be the garden that has been created in the courtyard between the cubes, which serves as a space for reflection and exchange. Here’s a reminder of what the space looked like during construction:



And this is what it has been transformed in to now:

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Diaspora Garden 04

The Diaspora Garden covers a space of 500 m2 and features over 200 species of plants from different climate zones, and reflects aspects of life in the Diaspora. Arranged in four ‘plateaus’, themes include culture, nature, landscape and academy. Plants include those that have some significance to Jewish life and culture, plants in various stages of development, and plants that have been dispersed, much like people in the Diaspora. I think it’s quite apt that a former flower market has been transformed in to a beautiful garden, don’t you think? Here are a few more impressions of this amazing space:

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Diaspora Garden 02

Diaspora Garden 03

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Diaspora Garden 01

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  1. {Discovering Berlin} The Jewish Museum’s Diaspora Garden | The Ex-Expat - June 25, 2015

    […] ‘before and after’ shots of the space’s refurbishment – over on my Museum Diary […]

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