Landtag Brandenburg - Potsdam - Germany
The Potsdam Stadtschloss, which was once a fortress and then expanded from 1744 to 1751 by Georg von Knobelsdorff into a stately Baroque building, burned to the ground during the Second World War.
Despite good prospects for reconstruction—some eighty percent of the walls had survived—the ruins, like those of the Stadtschloss in Berlin, were demolished and removed in 1959–60. Left in its place was an open space and a major street intersection.
In the 1980s the construction of a theater was begun, but halted in the wake of German reunification, and then canceled altogether.
A first step in the recreation of the Potsdam Stadtschloss was the reconstruction of its former entrance gate, the Fortunaportal, in 2001, which was made possible by private donations.
A decisive turn came in 2005 with the decision to create a new seat for the Brandenburgischer Landtag in the city center in the palace’s footprint. With this sensible use of the Potsdam Stadtschloss by the sovereign of the people, the parliament, policy debates surrounding the reconstruction— such as those that continue to flare up with regard to the Stadtschloss in Berlin—were rendered obsolete.
Generous donations and the broad civic commitment to the castle, which had already contributed to the rescue of various architectural elements before their demolition, facilitated the quick implementation of the plans.
The project should be largely completed by 2013.
In its outer appearance, the new building by Peter Kulka adheres strictly to its historical original. The competition stipulated that the reconstruction of the exterior façades follow the principles of historical preservation, integrating the original elements that remained or had been used elsewhere in the building.
Peter Kulka reproduced the historical model, both in form and in its materiality to the greatest extent. Due to additional space requirements, an additional floor was added behind the historical façades.
To increase the building’s depth, the inner façades were shifted further into the courtyard and additional axes were included at the narrow ends of the building, which reflect Knobelsdorff’s original rhythm. Inside, a modern parliament building will be created.
Now, seventy years after its destruction during the war and fifty years after its ideologically motivated demolition, the reconstruction exemplifies the importance of the congruence of function, meaning, and expression in the reconstruction of buildings.