Jewish Museum--page 1 (of four pages with interiors and exteriors)

Daniel Libeskind

Wiki commons aerial photograph of the sculptural building

The aerial photograph shows the unusual shape of this museum described sometimes as a bolt of lightning or as a folded or broken and stretched star of David. It has also been suggested that the bends and angles in the labyrinthine structure can also symbolize the Jewish history. The angular window slits in the exterior can similarly symbolize the splits in the Jewish past. Daniel Libeskind, who won this commission among 165 competitors, has a similar complex past, having been born in Poland, studying in Tel Aviv, New York and England. In 1989 he moved to Berlin.

The Jewish Museum is next to the History Museum and from the exterior is free-standing. But to reach the new museum, one enters in the Baroque old building and walks through an underground passage in order to reach the permanent collection in the new museum.

The history museum on Lindenstrasse faces west while the new Jewish museum is along the south exterior. Thus, the top of this aerial view is essentially west.

The western end


Titanium-zinc facade

The window slashes bear little relationship to the floors within. (See views of the interior.) Intersecting narrow lines aggressively cut into the sheet metal exterior.

The western end along Lindenstrasse


The southern side at the western end


Garden of Exile

Forty-nine concrete piers,arranged in a 7 x 7 square, are topped with Russian olive bushes as a symbol of hope. The soil in 58 of the piers is from Berlin but the forty-ninth (at the center) has soil from Jerusalem. (See page 3 for views within the garden.)


Moving along the southern facade


Continue to page 2.

Works Consulted or Quoted:
Rainer Haubrich et al. Berlin: The Architecture Guide. Braun Publishing, 2016. (German first edition, 2001)
Michael Imhof and Leon Krempel. Berlin. New Architecture: A Guide to the new Buildings from 1989 to today. Michael Imhof Verlag, 2012.

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© 2017 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site) and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.