PROJECT: House of the Weimar Republic
A National Memorial Site Takes Shape
Planning as of January 2018
The current focus is on the foundation of the extension building. A team of planning specialists including building site experts, structural engineers, and inspection engineers is at work, examining the extent to which various foundation options are feasible.
Ten trees must be removed to prepare for the construction of the extension building. Most of them grew naturally next to the remains of the former armory and could cause the rest of this structure to fall. Taking into account environmental protection requirements, the trees are to be removed by 28 February 2018.
A light-weight joint between the current and new buildings will connect all floors of the House via a staircase equipped with a handicap-accessible elevator.
The playground is an important part of the town center and is to retain its function. However, it must be used for the building site facilities during the construction of the House. Due to the very limited space available in the neighborhood, this is the only way to set up the construction site, logistically. The playground is to be restored after the new building is finished. Plans for this are in very early stages. The playground next to the new House of the Weimar Republic in the illustration above serves only to present the winning design. It does not indicate the current state of planning regarding the playground. In fact, further planning also envisions the participation of children and young people. The old trees in the construction area are also to be preserved as much as possible, with their substantial influence on the neighborhood’s micro-climate and appearance and, beyond this, their importance for the town center.
(Developments and conditions at the construction site may require adjustments.):
February 2018: Project planning
April 2018: Request for building permit
June 2018: Detailed design
July 2018: Preparation of documentation for the tender / call for tenders
November 2018: Start of construction
June 2019: Completion of current building
August 2020: Completion of extension building
Architecture Firm Muffler Wins the Design Competition
The German federal government supports the House of the Weimar Republic project with three million euros
The House of the Weimar Republic project can now become reality. Over the next few years, the German federal government will be contributing 3 million euros from its national urban construction projects program to turn the former carriage house (depot for the court theater) at Theaterplatz, rebuilt by Clemens Wenzeslaus Coudray, into a site commemorating the first German democracy. “Our association was founded in the spring of 2013 to create a space for commemorating and grappling with the highs and lows, with the rise and fall of the Weimar Republic, on the occasion of the centenary of its founding. We have now taken a major step towards achieving this goal,” explains Michael Dreyer, chair of Weimarer Republik e.V., thanking the association’s founding chair Carsten Schneider, Weimar’s municipal administration and city council, as well as all stakeholders in Weimar and at the state and national levels for their support during the application procedure. He highlights the fact that the expert forums and town hall meetings organized by the association were worth the effort, as they provided the foundations for the successful application. According to Dreyer, the focus now is to realize the House of the Weimar Republic project by 2019 by harnessing the joint synergies of all stakeholders interested in partnering with the association, in close coordination with the city of Weimar.
It is absolutely necessary to continue the transparent process of informing and involving citizens that was already conducted while preparing the application. Weimarer Republik e.V., together with the city of Weimar, is currently establishing the groundwork necessary to do so. Detailed updates will be provided here as soon as they are available. In the meantime, you are very welcome to take a closer look at the steps leading up to the current status of the House of the Weimar Republic project and share your thoughts and suggestions with us.
Town Hall Meeting Prefers the Theaterplatz Location
The public deliberations on the contents and location of a “House of the Weimar Republic” in Weimar have been successfully concluded. The lively discussion at the well-attended town hall meeting of 16 March led to the majority of attendees expressing their support for turning the building currently housing the Bauhaus Museum into a site commemorating the first German democracy. A total of six potential locations had been carefully scrutinized beforehand. Several concerns and suggestions were expressed during this process. “We greatly appreciate this feedback and will take it on board going forward,” says Dr. Michael Dreyer, professor at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena and chair of Weimarer Republik e.V. The deliberations have crystallized into an unequivocal recommendation of Theaterplatz as the location for the “House of the Weimar Republic”. The decision now lies with Weimar’s city council, as the democratically legitimate body responsible for this matter.
Expert Colloquium Recommends Theaterplatz
On 17 February 2016, the overwhelming majority of a colloquium of high-profile experts issued a recommendation regarding the location for the House of the Weimar Republic in Weimar. They find that the depot for the court theater (a carriage house rebuilt by Clemens Wenzeslaus Coudray) at Theaterplatz 4, which is currently housing the Bauhaus Museum, is the best choice because of its availability, authenticity, and location. Over 30 local politicians, researchers, exhibition experts, and civic education representatives had discussed a total of five suggested locations in-depth.
Weimarer Republik e.V. is promoting public and transparent procedures throughout these deliberations. Accordingly, it ensures that key documents are shared with the public; all relevant material is available in this forum’s downloads section.
Weimarer Republik e.V. Suggests New Project Name
In recent weeks, Weimarer Republik e.V. has been hard at work, looking for a possible name for the memorial site. As part of this process, it has been sifting through the numerous suggestions that arose during the discussions of autumn 2015.
This work has led to the following suggestion: House of the Weimar Republic. Forum for Democracy.
“We find that this title - linked with the subtitle - is a very apt way to describe the House’s role and how we intend to commemorate Germany’s first democracy,” says Dr. Michael Dreyer, chair of the association and professor at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena. He explains that this puts the Weimar Republic, which enjoys name recognition around the world, in the foreground, while also highlighting the close connection to today’s democracy.
What Is the Purpose of These Public Deliberations?
Together with Weimar’s municipal administration, Weimarer Republik e.V. has launched a process of public discussions on how and where in Weimar an appropriate memorial site commemorating the Weimar Republic as the first German democracy should be built. These deliberations are to be conducted now in order to leave enough time to make sure that historical events can be appropriately commemorated at their original location during the centenary year of 2019. The aim is to work out a broadly coordinated suggestion regarding the contents, name, and location of a house of democracy in Weimar by the spring of 2016. This should then make it possible to organize the project’s funding and implementation.
Two Deliberation Phases
To ensure the success of the discussions, they should be conducted in a sensible line-up, per topic. The principle here is that form should follow content. This means that the first debates must concern the material to be presented at the memorial site. Once clarity has been established in that regard, discussions on the best location for the project can start. Both phases of deliberation will feature on the one hand discussions among experts and on the other public discourse that brings in citizens’ ideas and suggestions. The two communication threads will be interwoven, particularly via the procedure of experts’ deliberations taking place first, with their results used as a basis for the public debate that follows.
Forms of Discussion
As many citizens and stakeholders as possible should be involved in the process of public deliberations. This makes it necessary to conduct them at several levels, as all citizens interested are then sure to have the opportunity to contribute to the process. The following instruments will be used:
1. Colloquia of experts
2. Public town hall meetings
3. Information included in the official gazette of the City of Weimar
4. Information shared in Weimar’s local media
5. Information and discussion stands in Weimar’s town center
6. An online information platform with a contact form
Hartmut Kaczmarek will be facilitating the discussion process. An experienced journalist, Kaczmarek worked for many years as chief reporter and deputy editor-in-chief of the Thüringische Landeszeitung, a daily published in Weimar. He is currently the spokesman of the Thuringian chapter of the Paritätische Wohlfahrtsverband, a non-profit association of social organizations.
We are currently planning the next events for the project. Updates and event dates will be posted for you here as soon as they are available.
All important documents concerning the deliberations process are available here.
- Draft - House of Democracy (Weimarer Republik e.V., June 2015, German)
- Introductory presentation of content to colloquium of experts (29 October 2015, German)
- Minutes of the colloquium of experts, 29 October 2015 (German)
- Evaluation of project progress, 17 February 2016 (German)
- Minutes of colloquium of experts, 17 February 2016 (German)
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