Client: Competition awarded by the Federal Government of Germany
Location: Berlin, Germany
Site Area: N/A
Built Area: 1066m²
Status: Competition Entry
Credits: Lars Nixdorff, Volker Rohde with Johan Bettum
The Freedom and Unity Memorial in Berlin stands as a symbol for the past, the present and the future.
Through its spatial configuration, it aims to evoke the visitor`s interest on the identification and memory of the events and their effects in 1989 in East Germany. It is directed to the freedom and unity of the German people, which cannot be regarded as self-evident values. The monument defines the notion of freedom as an open, changeable field. Freedom must be constantly re-created and allowing diverse interpretations and display options. Thus the monument acts as a screen for an individual idea of freedom. It should evoke meanings and images in conjunction with a variety of historical and experiential impressions. In that way it exists neither inside nor outside, but as a form without specific Gestalt.
An open form to be perceived consciously, since there is no sculptural, solid or dense object within the structure. It transports the idea of unity and oneness as diversity, differentially and change. The monument consists of three main elements: the inverted arch, the historic platform and a flowing field of suspended, distorted and illuminated aluminum bodies. -Abstract structures that symbolize the momentum of a crowd.
The foundation of the former Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial is re-recorded and serves as a reference for the monument. -Both pictorially and in the literal sense.
The existing vault is accessible from the area of the former national monument by a representative staircase. In here an information center for the peaceful revolution of 1989 and the reunification of Germany will be established. Basic information about employment with the concepts of freedom and unity should be made available.
The field forms an accessible space that can be passed through on top of the glass roof of the Information Center. The suspended steles, hanging from their longitudinal axis can rotate and constantly configure new spatial situations, indicating constant change. From distance, the monument appears to be a swinging, spatial object that changes its appearance due to light and weather. It marks out a luminous urban area on the area of Schloßfreiheit. Alike a mass-demonstration the main body of the monument is constitute as a unified body. Close to and within the new structure, the monument opens and invites visitors to get to know the specific history of German unity. Walking through the exhibition the visitors should be set into a position to perceive and understand the circumstances that led to the events of the peaceful revolution of 1989.