Tchoban&Kuznetsov: Museum for architectural drawing in Berlin


Roland Halbe,

Berlin, Germany,



Glass, Cement,

Award, Interior Design,

Russian architects Sergei Tchoban and Sergey Kuznetsov of Speech have created a museum for architectural drawings in Berlin’s arts district. The form and design of the construction makes it a landmark overlooking one of the city’s liveliest districts. The building’s architecture demonstrates its functions, so that it is both the medium and the message.

Tchoban&Kuznetsov: Museum for architectural drawing in Berlin

Sergei Tchoban and Sergey Kuznetsov of Speech have designed the headquarters of the Sergey Choban Foundation in Berlin, established in 2009 to build a museum for architectural drawings, a specific form of art in which architecture meets the graphic arts. Russian architects Tchoban and Kuznetsov came up with a plan for a building that is both the container and its content, a building designed to express the functions that take place inside it and the type of art on display.

The monolithic form of the building on Christinenstrasse, in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district, is revealed to be multiple and rich in detail upon closer inspection. The volume, which starts out from a rectangular floor plan, is enriched as it rises as the 5 levels are offset in relation to one another. The architects wrote that they were inspired by the chests of drawers that contain drawings for projects and works in artists’ studios and architectural practices, whether tidy and orderly or messy and confused. The bare concrete surfaces of the building recall projects of the past, the plans for which are used as repeated decorative motifs, put together like a sort of outdoor wallpaper. The formworks for the cement slabs act as moulds for the decorations on the façade.

The building has only a few windows, though some are floor to ceiling; others are specifically designed for the ground floor, diversifying its function and demonstrating that it contains not only the entrance and cloakroom but also the museum shop. The shape of these street level windows attracts the attention of passers-by, inviting them to come in and visit the museum complex. The first and second floors contain the exhibition galleries, while the third level houses the archives. The vocabulary of the architecture changes again on the overhanging glassed-in top floor, where the conference halls and the curators’ offices overlook a patio with views of the neighbourhood around them.

The display concept used in the interiors is based on the poetics of the “white box”: the older works stand out against white or monochrome walls, so that they can be admired as distinct elements separate from the contemporary architecture that contains them.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Prenzlauer Berg became a cultural and entertainment district very popular with the young. Built in the former Pfefferberg industrial district, on the site of the brewery of the same name, the district is now home to art galleries, artists’ studios, restaurants and nightclubs. Tchoban and Kuznetsov’s museum is a new landmark in the area, Germany’s only museum celebrating the tradition of private art collection.

Mara Corradi

Design: Sergei Tchoban, Sergey Kuznetsov (Speech)
Project leaders: Philipp Bauer, Ulrike Graefenhain, Ekaterina Fuks
Project team: Dirk Kollendt, Nadezhda Fedorova, Frederik S. Scholz
Client: S.Tchoban Foundation. Museum for Architectural Drawing
Location: Christinenstraße 18, Pfefferberg, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin (Germany)
Structural design: SPEECH Tchoban & Kuznetsov (authors: Sergei Tchoban, Sergey Kuznetsov)
Total usable floor space: 279 m2
Total area: 498 m2
Display area: 189 m2
Project start date: 2009
Completion of work: 2013
Bare concrete structure
Concrete walls with decorations
Photos: ©Patricia Parinejad, © Roland Halbe

WAF "Highly commended" 2013
Iconic Awards 2013 "Best of the Best" in the nomination 'Architecture. Special'
First prize of ar+d Awards for Emerging Architecture 2013


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