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Archive: The Capital City of Berlin - Documentation

Spreebogen International Competition for Urban Design Ideas

That the central location for Parliament and Government should lie in the Spreebogen was a policy decision reached by Federation and the State of Berlin which was not ever seriously questioned. It was based on a long political and planning tradition: there had been numerous plans to concentrate the most important parliamentary and government buildings there in the time of the Kaiser, during the Weimar Republic, as well after the end of the second world war.

The International Competition for Urban Design Ideas was held in 1992/93 in order to find a concept for the Parliamentary and Government Quarter in the Spreebogen, with around 800 entries being submitted. The goal of the competition was to create a Parliamentary and Government Quarter, which is integrated in the city and open for its citizens. The winners of the first Prize were the Berlin Architects Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank and the central concept in their plan is the "Band des Bundes" (a board of goverment buildings) running through the river landscape.

The "Band des Bundes" creates a symbolic connection between the East and West of the formerly divided city. It extends from the north part of Friedrich-Wilhelm-Stadt to Moabit and on its way crosses the Spree twice. The design makes an important symbolic decision in the Spreebogen: the legislative buildings (Parliament) and their executive counterpart (Chancellery) stand opposite one another and are connected by the central "citizen's forum".
Last but not least, according to Axel Schultes, the board should cut through the axial planning of Speer, with a "built-up" stroke. The "Band des Bundes" is bordered by 48 meter-wide representative four-rowed oak avenues.

The remaining open spaces in the inner Spreebogen should retain their landscaped characteristics. In contrast, the opposing spaces to the north of the Spree should be built upon. The parliament buildings lying immediately to the north are, with a height of 22 metres, subordinate to the Reichstags building - one of the two dominant urban features - as well as the chancellery with its 18 metres. In the light of experience from Bonn, a "Parliament with short distances" should be created. This leads to a highly concentrated, closely spaced new ensemble with the Reichstags building as its centre.

Spreebogen International Competition for Urban Design Ideas

Call for Submissions: 25 March 1992
1st meeting of the jury: 20.–23 January 1993
2nd meeting of the jury: 15.–18 February 1993
Number of submissions: 835

  • 1st Prize: Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank, Berlin
  • 2nd Prize: Miroslav Volf, Saarbrücken
  • 3rd Prize: Nick Gartenmann, Mark Werren, Andreas Jöhri, Bern (Switzerland)
  • 4th Prize: Klein, Breucha, Stuttgart
  • 5th Prize: Philip Mellor-Ribet & Konstanze Neuerburg, Paris
  • 6th Prize: Mauro Glantino, Marco Zanibelli & Roberto Bertossi, Mailand
  • 7th Prize: Eller Maier Walter KG, Alastair Gourlay (Arup Associates), Berlin
  • 8th Prize: ARQUITEXTURE (Portugal)
  • 14 further purchases
1993 - The 'Band des Bundes' (a board of government buildings), designed by  A. Schultes and Ch. Frank
1993 - The "Band des Bundes" (a board of government buildings)
designed by A. Schultes and Ch. Frank

A model of the 'Band des Bundes'
A model of the "Band des Bundes"
Source: Antonia Weiße

2005 - The 'Band des Bundes' (Federal Chancellery, Paul-Löbe-Haus, Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus); Photo: Partner für Berlin/FTB-Werbefotografie
2005 - The "Band des Bundes" (Federal Chancellery, Paul-Löbe-Haus, Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus)
Photo: Partner für Berlin/FTB-Werbefotografie