M20 is like an adaptive topography that connects the disparate individual bodies of the great cultural institutions. Scharoun's unfinished idea of the cityscape is a way of thinking ahead without disavowing its relics. The spatial edges and urban spaces conceived by Scharoun are articulated both on Potsdamer Straße and Matthäikirchplatz. M20 avoids any pathos. It functions as an open link between the various buildings and urban spaces and links all paths via the Kulturforum. Encountering is more important than representation.

External and internal forum
In 1964, the Cultural Forum was first and foremost a wishful thought – a simulacrum for a functioning democratic society, a city crown reserved for culture. After fifty years of democratic practice, our expectations are less abstract. We are endeavouring to bring diversity back to this quarter and to give space to urban life at Matthäikirchplatz – beyond commerce. We continue this Outer Forum inside the building, which can be entered from three directions without thresholds. The access routes intersect in a room exposed to daylight, which unfolds three-dimensionally into an Inner Forum. This Inner Forum can offer a broad programme all year round and also outside the museum's opening hours, while the quieter rooms on the upper floors are for museum use alone. Together, the Outer and Inner Forums form a continuum that reduces the thresholds between outdoor and indoor public spaces. Culture and the city become synonymous, and the museum becomes a social place.

Museum Landscape
The Kulturforum is already a small encyclopaedia of modern and post-modern museum architecture. The M20 continues this typological history with a reinterpretation of the upper floor of the New National Gallery: where Mies van der Rohe offers a glass cube as an exhibition space on a public square pedestal, the M20 inverts this pattern: in the centre there is a glass forum stretching between opaque exhibition boxes. This space in-between is a continuous three-dimensional structure that opens views in all directions of the coordinate system, which are again and again directed at the other buildings of the Kulturforum. The opening to the sky allows this Inner Forum to shine in daylight.

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Matthias Sauerbruch


  • new building to show twentieth-century art at the Kulturforum Berlin


  • Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz


  • gross floor area: 26.120 m²
  • competition: 2016

project team