aac workshop archive

Evolutioneum Hamburg, Part II

Evolutioneum Hamburg, Part II

Designs for a Natural History Museum: Exhibitions, Collections, Research

aac workshop, Hamburg, Germany
6th November to 25th November 2015 on the Rainvilleterrasse Campus in Hamburg

Part 2: Re-use


The second part of the Academy for Architectural Culture’s 2015 autumn workshop, under the title “Evolutioneum”, will also explore designs for a museum of the future in Hamburg. While the first part addressed concepts for a high-profile new museum building on the Baakenhöft, and thus with a direct reference to water and the port, the second part of the aac workshop will focus on the transformation of the historic Fernmeldeamt (Telecommunications Office) in the district of Rotherbaum.

The title “Evolutioneum” refers to far more than just the renaissance of the old Hamburg Museum of Natural History, which up until its destruction in 1943 was one of the largest and most popular museums in Germany. Although the collections rescued from destruction will still make up the majority of the Evolutioneum’s exhibits, the primary aim will be to create a new, unique symbiosis of research, collection and exhibition activities united in one building. The museum will offer attractive exhibitions, while simultaneously functioning as a highly professional research laboratory. Not least, this symbiosis will generate an awareness amongst visitors for the extent to which a look back at evolutionary history can simultaneously generate a vision of the future.
The workshop assignment, as well as the choice of site, originate from an initiative of the University of Hamburg and are based on a space allocation plan which was developed in consultation with the Centre of Natural History (CeNak).

With its imposing, grandiose character and its proximity to the University of Hamburg campus, this former telecommunications office appears predestined to fulfil an important, public cultural function. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, the building housed, in addition to post and parcel offices, representative rooms for the telecommunications office and large barrel-vaulted halls, inserted under the steep roofs, in which countless female switchboard operators made the telephone connections by hand. To this day a number of areas such as the richly decorated entrance hall on Schlüterstraße bear authentic witness to the original character of the complex. Other areas have been subjected to sweeping changes and irreverent treatment over the decades. Thus the assignment calls for both a respectful analysis of the historical layers of the building stock as well as a courageous reinterpretation.
The goal of the workshop is to produce designs which decisively engage with the character of the site and the historic building substance in order to formulate a suitable spatial expression for the Evolutioneum as examples of a convincing dialogue between tradition and modernity.

The workshop participants will work in teams of four. The results will be shown in an exhibition in conclusion to the workshop.

Motivated students and graduates please state your interest in participation here:
apply@aac-hamburg.de