Brief

Preservationists have succeeded in seeking a postponement in the demolition of the concrete Mausebunker in Berlin. The Brutalist structure, designed by Gerd and Magdalena Hanska and completed in 1981, will not be demolished before options for repurposing the space are considered.

 

Insight

Finally, some good preservation news to end the year on: After it was announced in April that Berlin’s monumental Mäusebunker (literally Mouse Bunker), a Brutalist former animal research laboratory, was slated for demolition, the wrecking ball has been stayed after a successful petition.

Mäusebunker was completed in 1981 during the city’s concrete boom and linked to the curvaceous Institute for Hygiene and Microbiology building nearby (the Hygieneinstitut, completed in 1974) via underground tunnel; the second building was also at risk of demolition. Both were built in southwest Berlin for the Charité’s Institute’s campus, but the Mouse Bunker has sat unused since 2010.

The Charité, a network of public research hospitals, had applied for demolition permits for both buildings with Berlin’s Senate with the intention of replacing them with a modern research campus.The squat building, designed by the husband-and-wife duo of Gerd and Magdalena Hänska, resembles a fortified battleship thanks to its minimal windows and cannon-like exhausts that jut perpendicular from the facade.

Repurposing the bunker, especially as it receives very little natural light and is riddled with asbestos (one of the reasons it was originally shuttered), likely proved too challenging for the Charité to consider.

 

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