Built by Herrmann Henselmann in the early 1950s, the towers at Strausberger Platz distinguish themselves from the surroundings with their simple, striking form. The tall buildings flank opposite sides of Karl-Marx-Allee, a road once known as Stalinallee and one of East Germany’s most splendid boulevards. The haubrok foundation has returned to the building after it was no longer allowed to hold public exhibitions in the ›Fahrbereitschaft‹, the GDR motor pool where it operated between 2013 and 2018. Before that, the haubrok foundation had occupied an exhibition space on the second floor of the so-called ›Haus des Kindes‹, the larger complex of the two Henselmann towers.
The ›Haus des Kindes‹ has always had multiple uses. Home to the eponymous department shop for children, a kindergarten, and a children’s café, it also had flats on the upper floors. Now the building is particularly popular with the cultural sector: the magazine ›Texte zur Kunst‹ has its editorial offices there; art collectors, cultural journalists, and other culture workers live in its residential spaces. There is an exciting mix, just as there had been at the ›Fahrbereitschaft‹, notes Konstantin Haubrok, who took over directorship of the foundation this year. The building offers »a very good ecosystem«. This year, during Berlin Art Week, there will be a very special exhibition in a flat on the fourth floor, the foundation’s future headquarters: ›during the exhibition‹ focuses on conceptual approaches to exhibitions—an exhibition about exhibitions. »We want to show small, intimate ephemera,« the collector says, such as invitation cards, publications, posters, and other documents on exhibition concepts.
In general, the haubrok foundation wants to take a closer look at exhibition making itself in the future. This would also require more reaction »to the space«, as Konstantin Haubrok puts it. Unlike the second floor, where the foundation was based before moving to Lichtenberg in 2013, the fourth floor has not been converted into a white cube; the rooms will be left in their original state. The stucco, the aged herringbone parquet flooring, the eggshell-coloured walls, living room, kitchen, bathroom—everything is to remain as it is. Exhibits will be shown mainly in glass display cases. Haubrok is concerned with the »interplay of history and architecture on the one hand and conceptual approach and content on the other«. And last but not least, this means: preserving the intimacy of the rooms and deliberately enabling an experience of them.