Liebermann-Villa am Wannsee – Museum,  Artist´s House and Garden Colomierstraße 3, 14109 Berlin

A Total Work of Art - The House, The Garden and The Paintings 

After almost ten years of research and planning, and just about four years of restoration and reconstruction in line with conservationist principles, the summer residence and gardens of the painter Max Liebermann (1847–1935) was opened as a museum and a memorial to the artist in 2006.

Listed garden and buildings, 1909-1910, Architect: Paul Otto Baumgarten, Garden: Max Liebermann with Alfred Lichtwark

Client: Max-Liebermann Society

Award: Europa Nostra Medal 2008, European Union Heritage Prize, Category „Conservation“

The Villa with the gardner´s house and the Gardensare the only „authentic“ place that documents the life and work of Max Liebermann (1848-1935). He conceived the place as a „total work of art“ and spent here the summer months for 25 years. He creaated over 235 oil paintings, aquarells, pastells and prints and unnumbered drawings about the gardens. Thanks to the effort of the Max Liebermann Society and of volunteers, donators and sponsors it was possible to recuperate the complex and make it accessible to the general public.

Services: Support to the client for the project development since 1995, architectural historical research, general survey, prospection and documentation, general concepts for preservation and new use. Sponsoring applications, planning applications, detail planning, description... and site supervision (main site works 2002-2006), final documentation, project upgrading such as climatization of museum´s rooms (2008).

Due to the enormous interest of the general public, the site works were run as an „open site“ with more than 30.000 visitors, among them many whitnesses of the different phases of the place´s history whose repports contributed to the reconstruction of the place´s memory. Nowadays the museum anualy welcomes around 80.000.visitors.

Concept: a central theme of the project was the conciliation between reestablishing the character and atmosphere of the grand bourgeois summer house of Max Liebermann and adapting the premises according to contemporary museum´s standards, carefuly integrating security and fire regulations, climatization and media requirements. For the sake of optimizing the energy efficiency performance of the main buildiing glass pears were  bloen into the void of it´s double layered outer walls, single glazed windows received a second frame Iso-glazing. A climatization of the museum-space had to be added later.

The heritage strategy - based and developed on deep historical research and prospection - was prooved and reviewed throughout the building process. Following major works are to be mentioned: the removal of late coatings over the plastered fassade surfaces with final grain, the carefull remanufacturing of the flat coated roof tiles for the main building and reuse of remaining historical tiles for the roof of the gardner´s house, the reestablishment of the rooms sequences and the regain of material surfaces and colours. Punctual reconstructions were carried just at selected spots where sufficient information was available: the studio´s walls, the fireplace´s mantelpiece and the double doors connection salon and dining room. New interventions are recognizable as such, also selected traces of changes during later uses were conserved and integrated in the general concept. The planned installation of an elevator had to be cancelled for conservation reasons.

Initiative and participants: Max Liebermann-Society, Reinald Eckert Landscape Architect, Site management and costs controll: Plümpe & Fricke Architekten, Heritage Supervision: Dr. Angelika Kaltenbach (local Heritage Authority Steglitz-Zehlendorf), Klaus von Krosigk, Rolf-Borwin Wendlandt, (Landesdenkmalamt Berlin), Restauration Prospections: Restaurator collective Mühlenbein & Schelkle, Restauration of Liebermanns mural painting: Atelier Rolf-Gerhard Ernst, Engineers Sanitary/Heating: Happold Ingenieurbüro GmbH Berlin, Engineers Electrical/Security: IFE Ingenieurbüro für Elektroplanung H.-W. Schallehn, Engineers Climatization: Ingenieurbüro Pfaffenbach, Engineers Fire Protection: HHP Berlin.

Team NM: Armin Schenker, Bertold Henzler