Humboldt Volcano



As an innovative flexible transparent structure, Humboldt Volcano contrasts with the historical appearance of the introverted power-radiating reconstruction of the Berlin palace, which houses Humboldt Forum.
Humboldt Volcano, standing for a pluralistic multiculturalism, enables the appropriation of the Humboldt Forum, opening it up to the city and international public.


Humboldt Volcano with its crystalline architecture refers to the glass architectures of the German architects Taut – and to other German traditions that opposed the palace and its power structures.



The trail of the Humboldt Volcano passes as a curated “parcours” through various zones of botanical, culinary, and cultural geography.
This trajectory opens views on the cultural institutions of the World Heritage Museum Island and leads to the roof terrace and rooftop restaurant of the Humboldt Forum.


The pop-up restaurants are curated and run in changing occupation by chefs, street food merchant and amateur cooks, by food bloggers and food activists.
Humboldt Volcano houses so-called ‘Magma Kitchens’ (and ‘Lava Kitchens’ for the cold starters), making the climb to an intercultural culinary experience.


On the outer sides of the Humboldt Volcano grow native trees and shrubs. The flexible and transparent glass architecture of the Humboldt Volcano closes during the winter months to protect from the harsh Berlin winter the exotic plants and botanical migrants that are sheltered in multi-storey greenhouse.


An interactive large urban screen supports the involvement of the Forum ‘s visitors as well as of a global audience and public.
Humboldt Volcano also stages the playful show of a programmable waterfall, which can be turned on and off.


Humboldt Volcano
is not just
a mountain

Humboldt Volcano is not just a mountain – it is a volcano with underground water basins and other underground chambers, which are connected to the subway and to underground Berlin.

With its layered vegetation zones, Humboldt Volcano holds the whole world in one place’ referring to the botanical zoning of the Andes by Alexander von Humboldt.

With its underground lake, Humboldt Volcano carries the entire depth of time in one location, referring to Jules Verne’sJourney into the Center of the Earth“.

Humboldt Volcano relieves suppressed internal tensions to the outside world and gives space to the natural forces of the primeval jungle forest.



To enter the palace, housing the Humboldt Forum, you have to pass a gate. The windows of the Humboldt Forum will be hung to protect the exhibits. All attention is directed inwards.

From the Humboldt Forum roof-restaurant you will have a wonderful but limited and very selective view: to power symbols, such as the dome of the cathedral, to the Town Hall tower and television tower – but not to the pedestrian level of the city.

Humboldt Volcano opens the view to the Cathedral, the Zeughaus (Armoury), the Humboldt University, the museums, the “Lustgarten”, the river Spree, to Alexanderplatz – and to the streets with the pedestrian busy level of the city and its citizens. The view is not directed to the signs of power but oriented to the people. Opening the view enhances the visibility and strengthens thus the relations to the other cultural institutions on Museum Island.

Humboldt Volcano supports the turn of “Unter den Linden” boulevard, which develops into the Karl-Liebknecht-Straße. Humboldt Volcano is deliberately occupying the visual axis of “Unter den Linden”.

The palace of the Hohenzollern followed in a very pragmatic way the system of the island topography and of the Bürgerstadt. The “Under the Linden” boulevard, no less pragmatic, took the quickest way out of town, from the City Palace in the Tiergarten, the prince’s hunting grounds. From the boulevard “Unter den Linden” the palace was thus approached diagonally and perceived as a three dimensional urban object. Anyway, seen from the boulevard the view on the palace was partially obstructed by the town houses that stood at Kupfergraben. The central axis of the “Lustgarten” followed also its own logic, which stood in conflict with the internal axial system of the palace.

The oblique approach from the “Under the Linden” boulevard reinforces the perception of the palace in its volumetry as a three-dimensional urban object, which can accommodate a variety of relationships with its surroundings. Thus, the Hohenzollern palace never developed a baroque absolutist urban system with clear axial order. Never did the palace dominate the horizon.



Today’s axes are networks: the immaterial networks that levitate over the city, transforming its topologies as well as the networks of voids piercing its undergrounds.

The metro line U5 connects the Museum Island and the Humboldt Volcano with the transportation networks of the U- and S-Bahn and nodes of the Berlin Central Station and the airports.

The second half of Humboldt Volcano stands at the Berlin Central Station and the third half at Tegel Airport.



Humboldt Volcano brings together culture and nature. With its vertical forest Humboldt Volcano merges architecture with vegetation.

The glass element facade consists of transparent solar panels, which can flexibly open and close, providing optimal climatic conditions.

Integrating renewable energy production systems,  water recycling, intelligent ventilation and cooling and a number of innovative technical building solutions, the Humboldt Volcano pavilion has an excellent energy balance.

Humboldt Volcano
World Heritage
Museum Island

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