Demolish or modernize — Dresden's Culture Palace was a bone of contention for a long time. Finally renovated, the building has won a coveted German architecture award, the DAM Prize 2019.
People in Dresden fondly call their Culture Palace "Kulti." Opened in 1969 under Communist East German rule, it was a venue for entertainment.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and German reunification, the building could have succumbed to the fate of the Palace of the Republic in East Berlin, which was torn down in 2006-2008.
But Dresden opted for the modernization of its East German legacy instead, and handed the task to gmp – Architects Gerkan, Marg and Partners, who are the winners of the German Architecture Museum's DAM Award 2019.
The building's facade was carefully restored, as were several interior spaces. The old auditorium made way for a modern concert hall and a theater stage. The building also houses the public library, which makes it a lively place during the day. Members of the jury praised the architects for their "respectful, pleasantly unpretentious handling of a monument" — some even called it "magic."
Since 2007, the German Architecture Museum Frankfurt (DAM) has honored particularly successful architecture in Germany and by German architects abroad, a lengthy process involving a long list, a short list and a handful of finalists.
Last year, the award went to the Munich-based "bogevischs bureau architects & city planners" for a housing complex they designed.
DAM Visitors can take a look at the winner and the contender's entries in an exhibition entitled "The 25 best buildings in/from Germany," which runs until April 22. A few of the best designs are also highlighted in our picture gallery above.