The spectacular architecture of the Documentation Centre by Marte.Marte Architekten brings together the listed Deutschlandhaus with a striking new building. A narrow gap, through which daylight streams in from above, connects the two parts of the building. Via the main entrance on Stresemannstraße, visitors pass the reception area and enter the two-storey foyer in the new building. A wide staircase leads from there to the first floor. From here, a free-floating spiral staircase leads to the second floor.
From the foyer you reach the Room of Stillness, designed by Königs Architekten from Cologne. The 100-square-metre room is lined with wooden slats that create a sculptural effect. They filter the daylight and thus create an introverted atmosphere. Between the slats, a variety of views into and through the foyer and the urban space are created. At the same time, this organic construction offers visitors a protected space for quiet and contemplation.
The art on the building is a joint work by ANNABAU Architektur und Landschaft and the artist Via Lewandowsky from Berlin. The nails hammered into the asphalt in front of the Documentation Centre form an irregular grid of shiny silver dots and mark the location of countless stations of displacement and suffering. The nail is both a form and an expression of remembrance and commemoration: each individual nail is like the marker of a stage, an escape between the starting point and the end point. This creates a dense fabric of overlapping or juxtaposing paths. The nails symbolise dimensions of displacement, expulsion and forced migration in history and the present
The Documentation Centre for Displacement, Expulsion, Reconciliation is located in the Deutschlandhaus on the corner of Stresemannstraße and Anhalter Straße, diagonally opposite the ruins of the Anhalter Bahnhof. The building was erected between 1925 and 1931 together with the neighbouring Europahaus as an ensemble. In the pre-war period, the then modern steel skeleton building housed numerous restaurants such as the Mokka-Express-Stube and a cinema and variety theatre, in addition to shops. The Deutschlandhaus was thus a centre of urban life. It was badly damaged during the Second World War and rebuilt in a modified form from 1959 to 1961. As the House of the Eastern German Homeland, it was from then on a meeting place for expellees and served to cultivate East German culture. In 1974, the Deutschlandhaus Foundation was founded and the building was renamed Deutschlandhaus. The neighbouring high-rise building retained the name Europahaus. In 2008, the Federal Government designated the house as the site of the Documentation Centre for Displacement, Expulsion, Reconciliation. For this purpose, extensive renovation and conversion measures took place from 2013 to 2020.