The facade is in place, the windows have been installed – and the highly complex technical interior has also been largely installed. The humboldt forum foundation in berlin’s palace gave assurances at a site inspection on monday that the new grob kulturhaus in the heart of the city will open as planned at the end of 2019. The project is fully on schedule and within budget, said hans-dieter hegner, head of construction.
The foundation of prussian cultural heritage, the main future user, has meanwhile surprisingly confirmed that its board of trustees has elected stuttgart museum director ines de castro as the future head of the collection. The board had instructed the president to conduct further talks, a foundation spokeswoman said in response to a dpa inquiry.
On sunday, the foundation did not want to confirm or deny a report of the "spiegel" about the personnel. The appointment to the position will be announced in the coming weeks, it was said at first.
The new director is to head the ethnological museum and the museum of asian art, which were previously located in the dahlem district of the city. At the same time, according to the job description, it is also connected to the humboldt forum, where part of the collections will be on display in the future.
All in all, the new culture house has a structure that is difficult to understand, due to numerous committees and responsible persons, some of which overlap with each other. "We really see ourselves as a team," assured cultural director lavinia frey.
In addition to the preubenstiftung, future users include the humboldt university and the state of berlin. In order to create an institution that is "all of a piece," the current state minister for culture, monika grutters (CDU), also wants to appoint an intendant to assume overall responsibility.
With construction costs of around 600 million euros, the humboldt forum is by far the largest federal cultural project in germany. The humboldt forum foundation, builder and operator of the mammoth project, expects around three million visitors a year in the future, as spokesman for the board of directors johannes wien announced during the visit.
On a floor area the size of about three soccer fields, there will be several permanent exhibitions and about 1000 individual events per year. Operating costs are estimated at around 60 million euros – more than one million per week.
Wien said the number of foundation employees would increase from the current 90 to between 320 and 350 – not counting supervisory staff, stores and catering. "The humboldt forum becomes also a rough job machine."According to his words, there is still a need to catch up with donations. Of the 105 million euros pledged, 71.3 million euros have been made available so far as money. After offsetting donations in kind, there is still a shortfall of around 30 million euros.
The sudsee boats and houses from the world-famous ethnological collection are to move to the new exhibition venue as early as the end of may. Because they cannot be completely dismantled, wall openings will remain open until then, in order to bring them intact to their new home. Then the room will be closed and air-conditioned separately. "We will already take care of the exhibits, but all around we will finish building," said board member hegner.
The finished building is to be handed over to its users in full baroque splendor in the spring of 2019. Whether it will be opened in full at the end of the year or in stages, as recently planned, remains to be seen. "We will come up with a certain revelation dramaturgy, perhaps to surprise her again and again with new things," says hegner.