Gerd Hänska / Magdalena Hänska / Kurt Schmersow: Central Animal Labs "Mouse Bunker", Freie Universität Berlin (Zentrale Tierlaboratorien "Mäusebunker") , 1971D–1980

  • Berlin, Germany, Show on map
  • #EDU #Precast #Public #ConcreteMonster #MachineAesthetics #RescueCampaign #Western Europe
  • Part of a series of standalones for the Free University Berlin. The martial exterior is reminiscent of a naval ship or the Star Destroyer in Star Wars and stands in an oppressive relationship to the use of the lab for animal tests. Nicknamed the “Mouse Bunker” as a consequence. However, every special feature has its use, for example the blue tubes which resemble cannon tubes serve for air supply and the triangular windows for indirect daylight. 

  • In May 2023, Berlin’s Mäusebunker received the status of being listed as historical monument. After the last lab mice moved out of the building in 2020, the Charité as owner wanted to use the site for other purposes and applied for demolition, despite the architectural value of the Brutalism icon.

    Christoph Rauhut, head of the Dept. of Heritage Protection, when asked in the Tagesspiegel why the heritage-protection order is being made only now: 

    – “It was due to the already existing demolition permit. The State Monuments Office had not examined the case until then: Brutalism had, after all, only gradually moved into the public consciousness after the SOS Brutalism exhibition in 2017 at the Frankfurt Architecture Museum. The initial situation was then difficult: the Charité wanted to use the site for an expansion of the Benjamin Franklin Campus, while the monumental value of the Mäusebunker became increasingly clear. In fact, we owe it to the commitment of many people in Germany and abroad that the clock was turned back from five past twelve to five to twelve.” –

    These dedicated people include numerous architects, art historians and architecture enthusiasts such as Ludwig Heimbach, Kay Fingerle, Francesca Ferguson, Friederike Meyer or Gunnar Klack and SOSBrutalism team member Felix Torkar, who took the case all the way to the German Tagesschau (National TV News) with their own rescue campaign.

    Currently, a model procedure is researching possibilities for the reuse of the building (last updated on May 25, 2023).