As for the Boros Collection, a former bunker from World War II was rebuilt for the new museum.The former BASA bunker served facilities of the German Reichsbahn's telecommunications network. The ground floor and basement offered large open spaces for large technical equipment. At the beginning of the 1960s, parts of the Senate reserve, goods that the West Berliners would have supplied for six months in the event of another blockade, are stored here.
The British architect John Pawson, who carried out the reconstruction in a minimalist architectural language, was responsible for the reappropriation of 6480 square metres of industrial heritage.Pawson wanted to change the substance as little as possible. Carefully, protruding nails were pulled out, stalactites and water damage were preserved and the walls were cleaned of graffiti. With only a few breakthroughs, as discreet as possible installations and a dust-absorbing floor covering, the former aura could be preserved. A guest apartment for museum founder Désiré Feuerle was built on the roof of the elongated building block.
On two storey levels, which are divided by massive, rectangular columns, the collection presents itself on a large scale. The tour begins in the basement: in the sound room soft sounds of the composer John Cage are heard.Behind high glass panes is the Lake Room, the next showroom. A water surface forms the only exhibit in this area of the bunker, which was previously under water. The Lake Room is also associated with a concept of sustainable energy supply. A geothermal heat pump supplies the entire museum with heat energy.Adjacent to the Lake Room is an Incense Room, which measures about ten by twelve metres and is as high as a ceiling. Made of black, reflecting glass, it was inserted as the third exhibition space. A few steps lead the visitor into the darkened room. The box is available for the Incense ceremony, one of China's oldest traditions. The ceremony includes incense smells, with which one gets into a intoxicating, spiritual state.
The collection includes Khmer sculptures from the 7th to 13th centuries made of stone, bronze and wood. Imperial Chinese lacquer and stone furniture is on display. So-called scholarly furniture, ranging from the Han Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty, from 200 BC to the 18th century.
Works by contemporary artists such as Cristina Iglesias, Adam Fuss, Nobuyoshi Araki, Anish Kapoor, Zeng Fanzhi and James Lee Byars form an exciting contrast to this.