29 September 2023

Akademie der Künste concerned about Hans Scharoun building: Fire at Haus Baensch

The Akademie der Künste asks the Director of the Berlin Monument Authority Dr. Christoph Rauhut for clarification about the fate of the house of Dr. Felix Baensch (Haus Baensch). Built by Hans Scharoun, the building was badly damaged by a fire on the night of 25 to 26 September 2023. In an open letter addressed to the Head of Berlin’s Office of Monument Protection, the Akademie expresses its concern:

“The Akademie der Künste, which manages the architecturally outstanding bequest of Hans Scharoun, President of the Akademie from 1956 to 1968, is concerned about one of his significant architectural works, Haus Baensch in Berlin-Spandau. The residential house, built in 1934/35, has been listed as a Berlin monument since 1971. Whereas the garden, which is highly significant from a landscape design standpoint, had already been destroyed through modifications undertaken by the current owner, and additions to the building had marred the outward appearance of the building from Havelhöhe, we now read – to our horror – that the house has been partially destroyed by a fire. Already in 2020, the Akademie der Künste appealed to all those involved to preserve and comprehensively restore this listed building under all circumstances. Press release of the Akademie der Künste from 24 November 2020). As a result, a construction stop on the alterations to the house was enforced. Today we must ask ourselves how this building, an important architectural testimony of its time, can be saved for posterity. Are all necessary measures to protect the remaining building structure in fact being taken by the owner and the state of Berlin?”