One of the most controversial buildings in Berlin is located in the heart of the city: the Hohenzollern residence palace near Museum Island. The reconstruction will show exhibitions on non-European cultures afrom 2019 onwards. The so-called Humboldt Forum is one of the most ambitious cultural projects in the Federal Republic and the place where the new Baroque facades are being erected is historically very important: The city palace, which was badly damaged during the Second World War, was blown up during the GDR era and replaced by the representative palace of the Republic replaced. After reunification, he too was demolished. How can Germany’s cultural identity be negotiated and defined in the context of this exciting past?
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) was a naturalist and pioneer in sustainability. The forum in the reconstructed castle will bear the name of the scientist – but green spaces are not planned. Therefore, in 2015, the Hybrid Space Lab developed a radical proposal to turn the imposing monument into a jungle. Hanging gardens with a tropical forest take over the castle, or rather its new ruin. In the process, the Humboldt Jungle would be more than facade greening: it would allow “grass to grow over it” and, according to the authors’ hope, could perhaps heal the complex historical wounds in this historic place.
The palace dummy could also be a kind of Noah’s ark. At a time when more and more animal and plant species are dying out, it makes sense. Not only would the Humboldt Jungle take on rare species of endangered flora, but it would also provide a habitat for various insects. The project stands for a hybrid and innovative architecture that comes together with nature. In this convergence, forward-looking architecture finds its expression – one that faces the challenges of the Anthropocene.