Representation of Hesse

Bernard & Sattler: The site at the corner of Ebertstrasse and ’In den Ministergärten’ has had a changeful history. It was essential part of the representative “Ministergärten” located between Leipziger Platz and Pariser Platz from the 18th century on. In the 1930s it was part of the extensive building complex of Hitler’s Reichskanzlei (Reich Chancellery). Until today below the garden-site, just barely covered, remain relicts of the “Fahrerbunker” (chauffeurs’ bunker) – a gigantic construction of reinforced concrete, which served to protect the chauffeurs of the high-ranks of the Nazi-regime. After the war, the site was directly next to the East-German wall and its security areas. Only after the fall of the wall it became possible to turn attention to reintegrating the site into the urban texture. Today the area again hosts a number of representations of different German States.

The property neighbouring the Representation of the State of Hesse will be built on again in the near future. The prestigious location between Potsdamer Platz and Brandenburg Gate incited the owner, the State of Hesse, to realize a temporary, yet adequate open space design on the currently empty site. The redesigned site now serves mainly as an open-air venue for a wide number of representative events, such as receptions, festivities, art-events, etc. The design is intentionally open to manifold uses. Still, it is the central issue of the project to generate a well-suited open space fitting to the exceptional and urban context.

The necessity to refrain from costly interventions into the ground propelled the concept of using raised lawn plateaus. Formally based on a free interpretation of the polygonal demarcations of the site, the lawn plateaus structurally echo the architectural design concept of the Hessian State Representation by Christl+Bruchhäuser, Frankfurt with LRS, Kassel.

The irregular placement of the plateaus generates a diversity of spaces for use during diverse events and they serve as a framing gesture for the generous central event area. The lawn plateaus are set in fine gravel, providing for low maintenance. Leaning on the plateaus slopes, simple seating made of formwork plywood gives an interesting accent to the overall ensemble. Along the edges loosely arranged poplars (Populus simonii) underline the spatial generosity of the open centre.

Landscape Architecture: Bernard & Sattler
Project Name: Garden at the Representation of Hesse in Berlin
Year of Construction: 2007
Client: State Hesse, represented by Hess. Baumanagement
Area: 4.200 m²
Budget: 140.000 €
Location: Ebertstraße/ In den Ministergärten, 10117 Berlin, Germany