Christian Boros and wife Karen Lohmann 5-story Berlin home, converted from World War 2 bunker to this unbelievably, surreal house | The Hardt
Christian Boros and wife Karen Lohmann 5-story Berlin home, converted from World War 2 bunker to this unbelievably, surreal house. This historically significant Second World War building was originally constructed for the German railway company by reinforced concrete and was used as a shelter to protect travelers who arrived at the Friedrichstrasse Railway station from air raid attacks. Architect Karl Bonatz was commissioned by Nazi Germany the architectural design of The Bunker; the building had a capacity which could shelter up to 3,000 passengers in five floors.
Completed under Hitler’s command in 1943, the bunker was built as an air-raid shelter for the passengers of the nearby train station. In case of attack, the bunker, with 180 cm (six feet) walls and a three meter (nine feet) deep ceiling, could house and protect 3,000 seated people distributed over five floors. The design by Karl Bonatz strictly followed the guidelines of Albert Speer, the Third Reich’s head architect and a member of Hitler’s inner circle. In the years following the fall of the Nazi regime, the bunker embraced varying functions – from a tropical fruit warehouse (known to locals as the “Banana Bunker”) to the locale for hard-core fetish and techno parties in the 1990’s – until it was forced to shut down by the police in 1995.
In 2003, Christian Boros, art collector, and owner of a successful advertising agency decided to purchase the bunker and convert it into his own gallery and home. Renovation commenced in 2004 by the Berlin-based firm Realarchitektur – Jens Casper, Petra Petersson, and Andrew Strickland – who were commissioned to design both the exhibition and living spaces. Using a method of subtraction from the original form, over 750 cubic meters of concrete were diamond-sawed from within and carefully removed by hand. Additions which had been made over the years were removed, the facades cleaned, but the inner exposed walls were kept as they were, with the traces of sweat, blood and neon dye left behind by the building’s diverse users over the decades.
The façades of the building were cleaned and were structurally refurbished while paying homage and being in accordance with heritage. Bullet holes from World War II bear witness to the historical significance of the building and were dealt with respect, thus leaving war traces physically present. In the heart of this hermetic concrete, cube remains the exhibition of contemporary works since the early 1990’s to recent. However, in order to create this space suitable for the Boros collection, architect Jens Casper drastically deconstructed the 33,000 ft² (3,000 m²) bunker, which was once devoid of natural light, transforming it into a complex 80-room arrangement.
The artwork which is currently on display has been installed in the rooms by the artists themselves and works with space. If you made it this far, my apologies for posting such a long story, but this home is absolutely deserving of one.
Aesthetically and Geographically Related Projects:
- Maria and José House (2016) by Sergio Sampaio Arquitetura | The Hardt
- Forest in the Space (2013) by Hiroyuki Arima + Urban Fourth
- Entrepinos Housing (2017) by Taller Hector Barroso
- Black House (2017) by AR Design Studio
- Cumberland Street Townhouse (2014) by Elizabeth Roberts