Founded in 2016, the Biesdorf Palace and its idyllic park is turned into a unique landmark in Berlin’s cultural landscape.
The new art institution is dedicated to the complex interplay of urban and natural landscapes and art in both urban and rural settings. Temporary exhibitions will showcase international contemporary artists in dialogue with pieces from the former GDR. Regular artist talks, lectures, and concerts will accompany the exhibitions and reflect current discussions. The Biesdorf Palace is putting the focus on partnerships from its very beginning. Its first exhibition “Project Landscape” has been realised in cooperation with external curators and Kunstarchiv Beeskow. It was an important venue for the art exhibition accompanying IGA Berlin 2017, the international horticultural exhibition. In his new role as a centre for art and public space, Biesdorf Palace offers its visitors a freely accessible exhibition on the history and architecture of the building, a café bistro, and a spacious lobby with a shop.
Biesdorf Palace is a late-classical villa that is recognisable from afar thanks to its distinctive octagonal tower. The elegant country house was built in 1868 and is the oldest work by architect Heino Schmieden to survive in Berlin. Schmieden and his partner Martin Gropius later designed the Martin-Gropius-Bau, the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, and numerous hospitals. Biesdorf Palace was built in an Italianate villa style for the Baron von Rüxleben on the site of a former knightly manor. It was subsequently sold several times until it came into industrialist Werner von Siemens’ possession in 1887. Siemens is considered the founder of electrical engineering. His son, Wilhelm von Siemens, had the gardens expanded.
Beautiful park and unique architecture
The public park was designed by renowned landscape architect Alfred Brodersen in the English style with a pond, a historic ice house, winding paths, rolling lawns, and a valuable inventory of old deciduous trees and conifers. The gardens are home to various protected species of song birds and bats. The gardens also contain a tea pavilion and a reading garden. The villa’s screed cement façade dyed in a reddish tone is unique among historical buildings in Berlin.
Neglect, war, and reconstruction
In 1927, the 20-room villa came into the city’s possession. Later, the villa fell into a period of neglect, culminating in a 1945 fire which destroyed the entire top floor. In 2015-2016, the palace’s top floor was finally restored and its entire interior was completely renovated and equipped with modern technology. The historic façade and the outer area of the park are also being restored. Photographs from the late 19th century served the architects as a template. The interior contains offices, meeting rooms, workshops, storage rooms, exhibition and event spaces, as well as a barrier-free access and wheelchair-accessible toilets.
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