Rendering of the external perspective on the tower which will extend the existing building of the Bauhaus-Archiv
© Staab Architekten

A new Bauhaus-Archiv is born

The Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung has been undergoing renovation in accordance with monument preservation guidelines since 2018 and is now being expanded with a new museum annex. In the future, the annex will offer extensive space for new exhibitions and rooms for staging cultural educational activities. This will free up space in the original building, constructed in the 1970s and designed by Walter Gropius, for its extensive archive and library.


The Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung owns the world’s largest collection on the Bauhaus (1919–1933), the most influential school of architecture, art and design of the 20th century. Soon after the museum was built in 1979, it became clear that it was too small to accommodate the growing number of visitors and its rapidly expanding collection, and could no longer meet the evolving requirements of a museum with archival responsibilities.


The German federal government and the state of Berlin are jointly financing the total cost of the museum’s renovation and expansion.

Competition design Bauhaus-Archiv: interior perspective, 2015
© Staab Architekten

facts & figures

Date of completion: 1979


Architects: Walter Gropius, Alex Cvijanović, with Hans Bandel


Architect of the museum annex: Volker Staab


Usable area: 1,900 square metre (until 2018), 4,200 square metre (after reopening in 2025)


Exhibition space: 700 m² (until 2018), 2,000 m² (after reopening in 2025)


Room for approx. 600 visitors to comfortably view the collection presentation.


There are almost 60 contractors involved in building the new museum annex and renovating the existing archive – from the site fence to the steel-wood-structure for the transparent tower to the finish of the parquet floors.


Up to 130 construction workers are involved at the site simultaneously during the busiest phases.


Between 25 and 35 planners, including architects, civil engineers and specialist engineers, are involved in the construction process depending on the project phase.

View on the construction site in May 2022
© Catrin Schmitt

The proximity to the Landwehrkanal, the inner-city location and the public water lines beneath the property were among the most daunting technical challenges. This required workers to take various “detours” to complete the excavation pit.


The excavation pit had to be dug almost seven metres deep.


(Reinforced) concrete is the most frequently used material at the site and provides the necessary stability for the museum’s basement level and the café/shop. The tower consists of a lightweight steel-wood-construction.


The most complex technical process was used for creating the foundation. Using a diaphragm wall grab, reinforced concrete diaphragm walls were installed to prevent groundwater from seeping into the future exhibition room.

View of the construction site in May 2022
© Catrin Schmitt

The design competition

In June 2015, the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development, Building and Housing issued an invitation-only call for proposals for the architectural design competition “Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung, Berlin”. After a two-day session on 21–22 October 2015, the jury selected the proposal by the Berlin-based architect Volker Staab as the first-place winner and recommended its realisation.


Competition procedure: In accordance with the announcement in the Official Journal of the European Union of 16 May 2015, 35 candidates were selected from a total 174 submissions for consideration in a previously announced competition procedure (competitive bidding in accordance with the Guidelines for Design Competitions (RPW) and the Procurement Law for Supplies and Services of Freelancers (VOF)). The competition organiser selected 15 architectural firms in advance for inclusion as participants. A total of 50 architectural firms were invited to participate, and 41 of these submitted proposals. The jury awarded the top five proposals first, second, third, fourth and fifth prizes, along with four honourable mentions.

Architectural drafts for the closed competition for the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung, Berlin in 2015
© Hans Glave

The expert members of the jury were: Jo Coenen, Hilde Léon, Wolfgang Lorch, Elke Delugan-Meissl, Pat Tanner, Johannes Löbbert, Petra Vondenhof-Anderhalten, substitute: Brigitte Häntsch.


The judges of the jury were: Regula Lüscher, Tim Renner, Dr Sigrid Bias-Engels, Günther Hoffmann, Dr Annemarie Jaeggi, Dr. Niklas Maak, substitute: Hermann-Josef Pohlmann, Dr Konrad Schmidt-Werthern, Rosa Schmitt-Neubauer, Horst Grothues, Dr Markus Klimmer, Chris Dercon, Dr Kerstin Wittmann-Englert.

news from the construction site 


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