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The Old Building

The Collegienhaus: Historical Building with Sole Access to the New Building

Photo of the Old Building

Old Building of the Jewish Museum
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe, Berlin

The entrance to the Jewish Museum Berlin is through the former Collegienhaus (Old Building). Alongside the ticket counter, cloakroom, and visitor information desk, the Old Building houses the museum's temporary exhibition rooms, event rooms, the museum shop, and museum café.

Built in 1735, it first served as Collegienhaus to the regal Court of Justice. The Superior Court of Justice for the Kurmark Brandenburg initially occupied several rooms and in 1879 took over the whole building. It was the first large administrative building erected during the reign of Friedrich Wilhelm I (1713-1740). Today it represents the last example of baroque buildings commissioned by nobility in historic Friedrichstadt. It was designed by Philip Gerlach, who is also well-known for the "Garnisonskirche" in Potsdam.

The interior of the Collegienhaus was redesigned for the first time in the 19th century. However, the building was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War. From 1963 to 1969, the architect Günter Hönow rebuilt the Collegienhaus to house the Berlin Museum devoted to the history of Berlin. The third remodeling of the house began thirty years later (1993), this time by Daniel Libeskind.

The two-story, three-winged house is built around a square courtyard to which a glass roof designed by Daniel Libeskind was added in 2007. The façade of the Old Building has a central projection; the triangular gable over the portal is decorated with the Prussian national coat of arms flanked by the allegorical figures for wisdom and justice – a lasting trace of the function the building originally served. Visitors to the Jewish Museum Berlin pass through this main portal.

A black slate staircase leads visitors down into the adjoining Libeskind Building.

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