National Socialism Documentation Centre of History, Munich

Munich, Germany

“Outwardly, black is the least resonant color, so that all other colors appear stronger and more precise against its background.” Vasily Kandinsky

A clearly outlined base of black natural stone integrates the base of the former so-called “Temple of Honor” and the new building on the site of the former “Brown House” (the Nazi Party headquarters), and defines the location.
The new building for the permanent exhibition of the Munich Documentation Centre floats like a black, steel monolith above this base. Its markings, its disconcerting notching, its heavy volume and its color are representative of how the history of this place is to be dealt with. The pointed incisions into the black steel have the appearance of a corrosive process.
The fully glazed ground-floor, with its flowing sequence of rooms, is inserted between the load end and the bearing end, and interrupts the heaviness of the location, makes it accessible, and opens a space of tension for the visitors.
The massive shell of the building rises above the site and begins to dissolve; it is no longer impenetrable. From both the outside and from the inside, the ever increasing amount of light shining upon the matter can be experienced, so that gradually, an ever broader public audience obtains insight into what has long been kept hidden in dark archives, and has not been seen – what, often, people didn’t want to see.