Today

The Berlin Kammermusiksaal, or Chamber hall, is the extension to Hans Scharoun’s Berliner Philharmonie. Designed by architect Edgar Wisniewski the Kammermusiksaal shines in the summer light. It’s gold-anodised aluminium plates clad the facade reflect and glimmer in the sun. However, their brightness puts Scharoun’s building in the dark.

Germania

Where the Berliner Kammermusiksaal stands today was once part of a heavily jewish area of Berlin Tiergarten. It was an area that Hitler and his chief architect Albert Speer had planned for the great North South Axis of their new capital city Germania to plough through. The district therefore became one of the few areas that work to clear the buildings that stood there actually began, before the chaos of the Third Reich and the Second World War brough Speer and Hitler’s plans to an end.

Dance of light

Wisniewski, a student of Scharoun, designed the building in the forms of his master. Scharoun, in cladding the Berliner Philharmonie, had promised a dance of light and added clear acrylic to the gold anodised aluminium of the Philharmonie, which over time has degraded, the Kammermusiksaal, however, does not have this, so it still shines bright today. It opened on the 28th October 1987 with Herbert von Karajan conducting Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, the only time he would ever conduct in the Kammermusiksaal.

Reality

In reality, whilst the Philharmonie and the Kammermusiksaal are buildings of beautiful design, the area they sit within is not. The Kulturforum, was to be the West’s answer to the Museum Island that had ended up in the East. Today at Museum Island crowds flock to have photos standing before the great architecture of the Kingdom of Prussia, of history, of stories. Yet very few venture beyond Potsdamer Platz to visit the Kulturforum that is defined more often than not today as a building site, rather than a world leading collection of museums.

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