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Design for Documentation Centre

Design for Documentation Centre, 1995

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In 1994, for their architecture master’s at the Technical University of Munich, Julian Rosefeldt and his then classmate Piero Steinle designed a documentation centre for Munich’s National Socialist past in the underground bunkers and tunnels of the former NSDAP building at Munich’s Königsplatz.

On the one hand, the design made the underground facilities accessible and usable from the inside, and on the other hand, it uncovered them from the outside. Part of the tunnel system between the former “Führerbauten” [“Führer Building”] and the former “Braunen Haus” [“Brown House”], as well as one of the two foundational plinths of the former “Ehrentempel” [“Temples of Honour”], were exposed; as a result, the historical stratifications beneath the surface were brought back into the consciousness of the city’s inhabitants and visitors as metaphors for the suppressive treatment of the site’s history. Exposure to daylight in the “excavation area”, literally brought light into the darkness of the past and thus counteracted the danger of mystification of the underground buildings.

In the design, access to the documentation centre was made possible via a new ramp from Königsplatz, following its closure to cars. This entrance was conceived as a deliberate injury, as a “surgical” cut of Königsplatz, which was re-grown in 1988 according to the classicist model (after the National Socialist design of the square had been removed). The access via the long ramp integrated the documentation centre into the context of the surrounding museum buildings: Glyptothek, Antikensammlungen and Lenbachhaus.

In 1995, one year after Rosefeldt and Steinle conceived their design, the two artists deceptively erected an information board at Köngisplatz on the site’s National Socialist past. This board significantly contributed to the discussion that ultimately led to the opening of a documentation centre at the same location twenty years later (2015).

The project established Julian Rosefeldt and Piero Steinle’s partnership as an artist duo. In the following years, the former architecture students produced several works together. See: Stadt im Verborgenen (Hidden City), München – Die Unbekannten Kathedralen (The Unknown Cathedrals), Detonation Deutschland, Paris – Les Cathédrales Inconnues (The Unknown Cathedrals), News, Meine Kunst kriegt hier zu fressen – Hommage à Max Beckmann.


E. Lapper, a.o.

Other Works / Stadt im Verborgenen (Hidden City), 1994 / Design for Documentation Centre