Library of the Documentation Centre for Displacement, Expulsion, Reconciliation in Berlin

23 Jun 2021

The new Documentation Centre for Displacement, Expulsion, Reconciliation – situated in the middle of Berlin – is a visible symbol for the memory and commemoration of displacement, expulsion, and forced migration in both the past and present. On June 23, 2021, the foundation of the same name will open this place of historical education and lively debates to the public. For its first floor, aatvos designed a library with a testimony archive that encourages people, in the spirit of Third Places*, to stay and converse.

The history of Europe in the 20th century has been shaped by national conflicts, wars, and dictatorships. Furthermore, many people were forced to leave their villages and towns. Therefore, in 2005 the federal government at that time decided to create a visible symbol for the remembrance and commemoration of flight, displacement, and forced migration. The new Documentation Centre for Displacement, Expulsion, Reconciliation was meant not only to provide space for remembrance and commemoration of the past but also to stimulate discourse about current events. After renovation and redesign by the Austrian architect studio Marte.Marte, the former Deutschlandhaus at Anhalter Bahnhof in Berlin was handed over to the foundation in 2020. In addition to exhibition and event rooms, there is also a special scientific library with a testimony archive as an important pillar, designed by aatvos. On June 21, 2021, the centre was officially inaugurated in the presence of German chancellor Angela Merkel and will welcome the public starting June 23, 2021. 

Seating cocoons as intimate media stations

What does it mean – on a personal level and for society at large – to lose one’s home? The guests can delve deeper into this question in the newly designed rooms of the library and testimony archive of the Documentation Centre. “When designing the interior, we paid great attention to creating opportunities for the audience to process and think through what they saw, heard, and experienced in the museum,” summarizes Creative Director Aat Vos, “The new library offers various opportunities to sit down, relax, and reflect on the meaning of memories.”

Before entering the main exhibition rooms, visitors pass a colonnade. This area positively affects the exhibition because it hosts individual seating cocoons, inviting visitors further into the library – manifesting the concept of a Third Place already from afar. In an intimate and cozy atmosphere, visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the personal memories of those affected and to envision what it means to flee into the unknown. In addition to comfortable seating, each cocoon has a media station: a map at eye level accompanied by auditory impressions. This combination brings visitors closer to life stories that have been shaped by flight and displacement. Along cocoons‘ steel frames, geographical coordinates of places that were the scene of forced migration at different times can be found, cut out from the steel structure using a laser – the result of a collaboration between Studio Neon and aatvos.

Visible traces

In the center of the library, there is a meeting and information point with a large communal table. This central area is flanked by individual and group workstations with a small coffee bar. Attractive workplaces will also be set up along the window facade. A total of 40 people can find a place to read, research, and reflect. Leather was incorporated into the design of the cocoons and much of the seating furniture, as the natural material reminds us that there are moments that leave visible traces.

More information on the Documentation Centre for Displacement, Expulsion, Reconciliation: www.flucht-vertreibung-versoehnung.de

* Third Place = A Third Place is a public place where you like staying, next to your home and work. It is a welcoming place that is accessible, familiar, safe, and often close by. It also invites you to visit alone.

PROJECT CREDITS

The design of the library with testimony archive at the Documentation Centre Flight, Expulsion, Reconciliation is a vision that aatvos developed together with the client within a workshop.

Client: Stiftung Flucht, Vertreibung, Versöhnung
Concept, workshop, design: aatvos
Project management: tp management GmbH
Interior builder: Team Stonepark
Commission, tender, construction management: Raumkonzepte + Interior Design I Zauleck
Graphic design of coordinates and map: Studio Neon
Photography: Marco Heyda/aatvos


PRESSKIT: Library of the Documentation Centre for Displacement, Expulsion, Reconciliation in Berlin

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    PRESSKIT: Library of the Documentation Centre for Displacement, Expulsion, Reconciliation in Berlin

    - Press information (available in EN, DE, NL)
    - Photography
    - Terms and conditions



      Please read our privacy and cookie policy to understand how we collect and use the data you provide by submitting this form.