The site of the future academy is situated on the border between Köpenicker Vorstadt and southern Friedrichstadt. These two city districts differ from each other in structure and historical development. While the city plan along Lindenstraße developed in a gradual urbanization process, the southern area of Friedrichsstadt was developed as part of a planned grid structure. Johann Philipp Gerlach, royal building director under Friedrich Wilhelm I, began designing it as a continuation of the orthogonal organization of Dorotheenstadt. He emphasized the transitions and changes of direction between the two parts of the city with architectural focal points. The Kollegienhaus, now housing the Jewish Museum, is one of these points.

These large scale uses were always contrasted by interventions that aimed at dividing the area in smaller sections and thus integrating it better in its surroundings. The 1835 construction of Enckeplatz and the garden adjoining the observatory and, in 1913, the opening of Enckestraße onto Lindenstraße belonged to these interventions. In the 1980s, the E.T.A. Hoffmann Promenade and Besselpark were created as parts of the Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA).

We have tried to take the complex planning history of the site into consideration. In particular the connections of the site to the surrounding city structure and the architectural framing of the public spaces seemed important. The urban development concept envisions a sequence of city squares between Friedrichstraße and the Kollegienhaus. In front of the building of the Jewish Museum Academy a new entrance plaza is created, opening up to the Kollegienhaus and the Liebeskind building. The transition to Besselpark is accentuated by a second smaller square. In its prolongation a crossing of the park to Friedrichstraße is planned. The south side of Besselpark will be redefined.

The building of the Jewish Museum Academy forms the centre of the new quarter. The former flower market hall with its sawtooth roof, built in the 1960s and designed by the architect Bruno Grimmek, is staged as a plastic building volume facing the Kollegienhaus and Besselpark. The hall’s remaining sides will be surrounded by new developments. These buildings will add everyday uses like housing, offices and shopping to the current exclusively cultural character of the site. In order to leave space for ideas of future users, the building parcels are at first kept typologically open. The design freedom of future developers and their architects is only limited along the sequence of city squares, where urban rules restrict building lines and building heights.