Martin Gropius Building

The Martin Gropius Building in the Mitte district is arguably Berlin's most magnificent and prestigious exhibition hall.
Martin Gropius Building
External view of Martin Gropius Building. © Jansch

The Martin Gropius Bau (Martin Gropius Building) is considered one of Berlin's most magnificent buildings with its combined classical and Renaissance features. A short walk from Potsdamer Platz, it ranks among one of Europe's top international exhibition and event venues. With a constant flow of half a million visitors per year and over 20 large art photography and cultural exhibitions, the MGB is an established Berlin cultural institution.

Martin Gropius Building setting

The exhibition programme at the Gropius Bau merges contemporary arts and culture with a stunning setting. It is located directly adjacent to a stretch of the Berlin Wall which stood here until 1990 and next to the Topography of Terror – an open-air exhibition documenting the site around today's Niederkirchner Straße and Wilhelmstraße where the headquarters of the main institutions of the Nazi terror apparatus were located.

History of Martin Gropius Building

First inaugurated in 1881 as a Museum for the Applied Arts, the building was designed by Martin Gropius, great uncle of Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus movement, and Heino Schmieden.

After World War I, the building housed the Museum of Pre and Early History and the East Asian Art Collection. Damaged, like most Berlin buildings during World War II and not deemed worthy of preservation, the building was almost demolished to make way for an urban motorway were it not for the intervention of Martin Gropius’ great-nephew and founder of the Bauhaus movement, Walter Gropius. A protected heritage site in 1966, its reconstruction and restoration only began in 1978 and renamed Martin Gropius Bau. It reopened in 1981 following the reconstruction of the exterior by Winnetou Kampmann as an exhibition venue, remaining directly adjacent to the Berlin Wall until 1990 and accessible only via a rear entrance as the main doorway remained unusuable because of its proximity to the Wall. A further spate of restoration and alteration was necessary and the Federal Government subsidised the project by architects Hilmer, Sattler and Albrecht which was completed in 2000. This included air conditioning and the redesigning of the north entrance as the main entrance to the building.

Martin Gropius Building is a central exhibition venue

Today the Martin Gropius Bau building is the central venue for the Berliner Festspiele and its partners – the 50 year old umbrella cultural institution which runs many of Berlin’s international festivals and cultural events including the Musikfest Berlin, the International Literature Festival and JazzFest Berlin. The Gropius Bau hosts over 20 large art, photography and cultural exhibitions every year.

Martin Gropius Building special features

Among the building's special features are its vast exhibition and reception spaces. These include the 300 meters north vestibule with a glass dome, the 600 meters atrium on the ground floor with a surrounding gallery where vast functions for up to 700 guests can be held. Other facilities are conference rooms and a 200-seat cinema. Just off the central Foyer area on the ground floor are the Café and Bookshop. In the high-ceilinged café meals and refreshments are available and in the warmer months food is served in the garden at the back of the building.

Martin Gropius Building Information

Address: Martin Gropius Building
Niederkirchenerstr. 7
10963 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 254 86-0
Opening Hours: Wed-Mon 10-19, Tue closed
Admission Fee: depends on exhibition
Architect: Martin Gropius, Heino Schmieden
Style: neoclassicism

Public transportation

Train (S-Bahn)

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Last edited: 19. November 2015

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(Bilder: dpa; Accorhotels 2012; VisitBerlin; BerlinOnline/argus/flashpics/; RN/BerlinOnline; Antje Kraschinski)