Exhibition of the ‘Raumschiff Enterprise’

For its 50th birthday, the Czech Embassy’s building is being showcased by the Czech Centre in Berlin.

September 19th, 2022
Maria Asklund, News from Berlin
20220919_Exhibition of the Raumschiff Enterprise.jpg

Image credits: Schnepp Renou

The exhibition celebrating the Czech Republic’s Embassy’s 50th birthday is coming to its end. Until the 3rd of October, one can visit the exhibition centred on architecture and interior design at the Gallery of the Czech Centre in Berlin (Galerie des Tschechischens Zentrums Berlin).

In 1972 the design for the Czech Embassy building was presented by the architects Věra Machoninová and Vladimír Machonin. 6 years later, the construction was finished, and the Embassy soon became an iconic building known for its resemblance to a spaceship. Therefore, it was soon nicknamed ‘Raumschiff Enterprise’ by Berliners. Using a metaphor, the Czech Centre describes the Embassy as “a spaceship that landed in the nowhere-land not far from the Berlin Wall”.

In fact, the Embassy is known for its futuristic and closed, anonymous appearance. Its façade is of granite, and it has big, tinted windows. Moreover, one example of the extraordinary design is the first floor which consists of three soaring glass capsules. Interestingly, the outside does not match the inside, where one is greeted by a blend of colours, materials and a wide variety of artistic features. This was all created by the architect couple and has been carefully maintained during its 50 years of existence.

Subsequently, this cultural and artistic exhibition explores half a decade of history related to this unique embassy. In addition, there is a photo series by photographers Simon Schnepp and Morgane Renou, living in Berlin and Paris. In this sense, Czech, German and French identity are invited to meet and mingle in one place.

In addition, the Embassy’s archive opens to show copies of historical plans for the building retrieved from the National Gallery in Prague. From the Berlinische Galerie, photographs and models are showcased, and finally, original furniture models designed by Machoninová and Machonin are put on display.

Reminding us of a time when Berlin was still parted in two, the Czech Centre offers an insight into an interesting piece of Berlin’s architectural history. Linking the arts with history, Czech cultural diplomacy reaches Germany through a building symbolic for a past time. The ‘Raumschiff Enterprise’ may have been constructed in an age completely different from ours, but it still has an important meaning for Czech-German relations.

The celebration of this interesting Czech institution is curated by Helena Huber-Doudová, along with the cooperation between the Czech Centre in Berlin, the National Gallery of Prague, the Czech Embassy, the Czech Office for External Relations and with the support of the Berlinische Galerie.


News from Berlin