The Partial Restoration of the Building on Potsdamer Strasse at the Kulturforum

The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin building at the Kulturforum will undergo a number of restoration projects. First, asbestos will be removed and the ventilation system refurbished. Currently, the exterior facades are being restored.

View into the reading landscape of the Potsdamer Strasse building of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

This building by Hans Scharoun with crucial support from Edgar Wisniewski, with its broad reading landscapes, is on the list of Berlin’s historical landmarks. © Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin / C. Kösser

Asbestos Removal and Refurbishing the Ventilation System

The Staatsbibliothek’s building on Potsdamer Strase was constructed between 1967 and 1978 based on plans by Hans Scharoun with crucial support from Edgar Wisniewski. In accordance with the technology of the time, various materials containing asbestos were used in a number of areas in the building, primarily for reasons of fire safety. The air that users and employees were breathing was not polluted by asbestos. Nevertheless, the building materials containing asbestos had to be removed and replaced with asbestos-free materials.

At the same time, the central air-conditioning system was upgraded. The ventilation ducts, shafts, and equipment were cleared of remnants of materials that contained asbestos. The window facades of the reading rooms and the roofs of the Staatsbibliothek were refurbished. The refurbishing projects began in 2004 and have been underway with the library operating. They are expected to continue until 2014.

Construction Projects for Building Services and Exterior Facades

The storage facility and the open-plan offices of the Staatsbibliothek are getting new energy-saving lighting. The sealing of the outside of the building to prevent moisture from entering has been restored and repaired since 2009. These projects are expected to continue until 2016.

The natural stone facade of the library, which is a registered historic building, has been undergoing restoration since 2010. Some of the panels had gotten loose and were at risk of falling down. Currently, aluminum panels are temporarily holding the building’s facade in place. The choice of the color of the aluminum panels was coordinated with the Landesdenkmalamt Berlin (Berlin Monument Authority). This temporary measure is expected to be in place for ten years. A thorough restoration of the natural stone facade will be completed within that time. This refurbishment will conform to current standards for the energy efficiency of the entire facade. The parts of the building housing the Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut (Ibero-American Institute) will also be affected by the refurbishing of the facade.